By Tamar Haratunian
NEW YORK, NY—In commemoration of the 40thanniversary of the ordination of His Grace Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, vicar general of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, into the holy priesthood, a celebratory mass took place on March 25 at St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, followed by a banquet at Terrace on the Park in Fresh Meadows, N.Y.
The day began with a memorable service at St. Sarkis Church where Bishop Anoushavan served as pastor for 14 years. With Archbishop Oshagan, prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, presiding, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Anoushavan. In the middle of the service, a special Pontifical Message from His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, was carried in a procession by Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church, as the choir sang “Ourakh Ler” (Rejoice, O Holy Church), and taken to the altar where the Pontifical Message was read by the prelate.
The banquet that followed was attended by 355 people from various parishes of the Eastern Prelacy, as well as special guests from France and Canada, who gathered to celebrate Bishop Anoushavan’s dedication and service to the Armenian Apostolic Church. Following the welcoming remarks of the master of ceremonies, Dr. Aram Cazazian, and the singing of the U.S. and Armenian national anthems by Siran Tchorbajian, three testimonials were presented of programs Bishop Anoushavan helped establish as part of the Eastern Prelacy’s youth ministry.
Zarig Baghdadlian presented an overview of the St. Gregory of Datev Institute, a youth Christian education program established and directed by Bishop Anoushavan for 25 years under the auspices of the Eastern Prelacy. She noted that, under Bishop Anoushavan’s fatherly guidance and direction, the Datev Institute has been a place for Armenian youth to learn and share their faith and Armenian culture.
For young adults between the ages of 18 and 35, Bishop Anoushavan organized the Eastern Prelacy’s LinkediN Workshop. LinkediN participant Nevair Oranjian shared heartfelt words on behalf of the workshop’s attendees, who see the workshop as a means to enhance their spiritual lives beyond the instruction from their school years.
Shant Simonian spoke on behalf the “Yeraz” Dance Group of St. Sarkis Church. He said that the “Yeraz” Dance Group was Bishop Anoushavan’s vision that blossomed into a successful example of the triumph of the Armenian identity and heritage, and that has led to many lasting friendships among the Armenian youth.
A musical interlude was presented by Martha Sieger, who performed the Nocturne from the Masquerade by Aram Khachaturian. Seta Balmanoukian then captivated the audience with a moving recitation written about and dedicated to Bishop Anoushavan. Garen Nazarian, the permanent representative of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, presented words of appreciation for Bishop Anoushavan’s service and dedication to the priesthood and to the Armenian community. Bedros Givelegian, the chairman of the anniversary committee, shared memories of Bishop Anoushavan’s dedication in strengthening St. Sarkis Church during the church’s trying times. Siran Tchorbajian entertained the audience with her beautiful voice, singing “Desnem Anin u nor Mernem” and “Der Getzo.”
Bishop Anoushavan’s classmates Rev. Archpriest Nerses Manoogian, pastor of St. Gregory Church, Philadelphia, Pa., and Dr. Hovhannes Hovhannesian, who came from France to celebrate the blessed occasion, provided the attendees with personal stories and insight regarding Bishop Anoushavan and his lifelong devotion to the Armenian Church and community. On behalf of the Religious Council of the Eastern Prelacy, Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church and secretary of the Prelacy’s Religious Council, spoke of Bishop Anoushavan’s role as mentor when Terterian succeeded him as pastor of St. Sarkis Church.
Following the dinner, a beautiful video was presented detailing Bishop Anoushavan’s life and work, illustrating not only his personal dedication to the Armenian Church but also the hard work of those who he has labored with, including sister organizations, in strengthening the church and Armenian community at large. Through the video, attendees saw how Bishop Anoushavan has humbly served the Armenian Church both by word and by deed, providing all with an example of a servant of God wholly devoted to serving His flock.
After a performance by Thomas Sieger of the Prelude in C# Minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff, the prelate, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, gave his message to the attendees. Archbishop Oshagan presented Bishop Anoushavan with an Episcopal Panagia on behalf of the Eastern Prelacy in acknowledgement and thanks for his exceptional service. Bishop Anoushavan then shared his own message with the attendees, thanking all for their support of his mission and work during his 40 years of service to the Armenian Church. He said that serving the Lord through His people is a privilege because through service we follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, which in turn strengthens the community and showers it with success and joy.