GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region announced that it will bestow the Khrimian Hayrig Award to His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, at the 2011 ANCA-WR Annual Banquet for his decades of service as the spiritual leader of Armenian American communities in the Western United States.
The Khrimian Hayrig Award bears special significance that emphasizes the recipient’s leadership, while also underscoring their efforts as advocates of truth, justice and human rights. It is named after Catholicos of All Armenian Mkrtich Khrimian, who was called “Hayrig” because of his fatherly love and dedication to the betterment of the Armenian people, especially the peasantry in Western Armenia.
In 1878, Khrimian headed the delegation to represent the Armenian people at the Berlin Conference. Upon his return he stated in an eloquent speech titled, “The Iron Ladle,” that the hopes of the Armenian people for self-determination were ignored by the European community of nations – that where others had dipped their iron ladles and retrieved their portions, Armenia had been given a ladle made out of paper.
Prelate Mardirossian has been a stalwart leader who has never hesitated to act and motivate the faithful to pursue the Armenian Cause. He has traveled numerous times to the California State Capitol in Sacramento, and the nation’s capitol in Washington to ably represent our community with public officials on the local, state and federal levels.
Most recently, in July, the House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted an amendment to the State Department Authorization bill calling on Turkey to return stolen churches and end oppression of its Christian minorities. In the weeks leading up to this victory, His Eminence called on Armenian communities throughout the United States to contact their representatives in Congress and urge them to support this amendment. Along with efforts by the ANCA, these thousands of phone calls and emails led to the decisive vote.
In April 2011, Arch. Mardirossian was instrumental in the success of the Resurrection and Recognition: National Day of Prayer on April 24 effort. For the first time since the Armenian Genocide, the April 24 Day of Commemoration coincided with Easter Sunday. His Eminence called on fellow clergy and Christians around the world to join with the Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Pontians and Greeks who were victims of the Ottoman Empire’s genocide of its Christian minorities. It was a momentous occasion for Christians worldwide to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, pray for the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and commemorate the rebirth of the Armenian people from the ashes of persecution.
“With this award, we recognize His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian for his efforts to raise awareness about the just cause of the Armenian nation, his continued diligence in pursuing the rightful return of Christian cultural heritage which was lost through centuries of oppression and genocide, and his able leadership in ecumenical and interfaith communities on behalf of the Armenian Church,” said ANCA-WR Chairman Andrew Kzirian. “We are deeply grateful for the Archbishop’s dedication to our people and to the advancement of the Armenian Cause, and we are eager to provide our community the opportunity to publicly express their appreciation for his decades of service to Armenians living in the Western United States.”
Archbishop Mardirossian was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He was ordained a deacon upon graduating from the clerical college of the Seminary of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon in 1974. In May 1976, His Eminence graduated from Seminary and was ordained a monk. For his thesis on a translation and critical analysis of the Gospel of John as related by Yeghishe the historian, he was awarded the doctorate of the Armenian Church (“Vartabed”) in December of 1979.
In 1982, he served as Assistant to the Prelate and held various pastoral and administrative positions in the Western Prelacy of the United States of America. In 1987, he was elevated to the rank of “Father Superior,” and was assigned to the post of Dean of Forty Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church in Orange County. From 1991 to 1995, he served as Vicar General of the Prelacy.
In May 1996, the 24th Prelacy Representatives Assembly elected Right Rev. Mardirossian Prelate of the Western Prelacy. Five years later, His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia elevated Mardirossian to the rank of Archbishop. He has since been re-elected Prelate for four consecutive four-year terms, most recently in 2008 – a testament to his selfless dedication and commitment to the communities he has served throughout his tenure. His Eminence is also a member of the Council of Oriental Orthodox Bishops of the Western United States, an example of his continued leadership within the ecumenical and interfaith communities.
The Annual Banquet will take place at the Universal Sheraton Hotel on Saturday, November 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Annual Banquet are $200, and discounted tickets are available to students with valid ID.