PHILADELPHIA, Penn. — The National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy was hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia from May 12 to 14, 2022. On Saturday, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan was re-elected as Prelate for another four-year term.
“I would like to thank you all for trusting me to serve as Prelate for a second term,” Archbishop Anoushavan said in a brief address to the Assembly after the election. “Together, we will carry out all the programs proposed at the NRA.”
He also stressed that the parishes, the Prelacy and the Catholicosate were united in their vision, which was a source of strength for all of them. “May God always protect the Armenian church and the Eastern Prelacy of the United States, along with all its structures and sister organizations.”
Earlier on Saturday, there were elections for the religious and lay councils. Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church (Watertown, MA) and incumbent and Very Rev. Fr. Boghos Tinkjian of All Saints Church (Glenview, Il.) were elected to the religious council. Dr. Raffi Manjikian, John Kulungian, Aram Hovagimian (incumbents), Aram Sarafian and Richard Kanarian were elected to the lay council.
The theme of this year’s assembly was “Fortifying Foundations for the Future.” Sarafian and Janet Haroian were elected to serve as chairpersons of this year’s assembly. Very Rev. Fr. Boghos Tinkjian was the Armenian secretary; Dr. Nyree Bedrosian was the English secretary. Words of welcome were offered by Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, pastor of the host parish, as well as by Michael Injaian, chairman of the Board of Trustees.
His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, who addressed the audience in a videotaped message, stressed that the church is not an organization, but a mission: outreach, through which it fulfills its nature. The Prelacy’s projects are community-based, and the challenge, His Holiness said in his address, is “how you can make this interaction more relevant, more dynamic and more impact-making.” The role of the clergy is to take the church outside its walls to the people, he said. It is indeed through community-oriented pastoral engagements and social service that the church becomes a living reality in the lives of the people, His Holiness added.
In his keynote address, Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, thanked the Philadelphia community for hosting this year’s assembly. His Eminence spoke of challenges facing the church, saying: “As we leave the pandemic behind, one of the priorities of our Prelacy as well as individual parishes should be to reach out and to welcome the faithful.” He expressed his hope that the panels convening during the assembly “will pave the road to a stronger and brighter Prelacy.”