Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, visited St. Mary Church of Washington, D.C., on Sunday, August 14, as the community observed the church’s name day.
During the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Barsamian blessed the veil of Mariam Karapetyan and ordained Ruben Karapetyan, Hovsep Seferian, Ashot Hovhannisyan, and Andre Alexandrian to the rank of acolyte. Archbishop Barsamian and the Rev. Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan, parish pastor, performed the “Blessing of Grapes” service and blessed madagh.
Later that afternoon, the community honored three parishioners at a special luncheon hosted by the parish council. Sarine Zanian and Dr. Ara Avetisian served as masters of ceremonies.
Parishioners Mr. and Mrs. Onnik and Hripsime Sivaslian, longtime members of St. Mary Church, were honored with the Diocese’s “St. Vartan Award.”
Their daughters, Tamar and Maral, spoke about their parents’ journey to the United States from Turkey over 30 years ago, describing how they settled in the Washington area, attended school, launched their careers, and raised a family while also dedicating time to St. Mary Church. Mrs. Sivaslian serves on the Women’s Guild while Mr. Sivaslian has served several terms on the parish council.
The parish also honored Annie Simonian Totah, another longtime parishioner who is a recent recipient of a pontifical encyclical issued by His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Ambassador Grigor Hovhannissian, Armenia’s ambassador to the United States, spoke about Mrs. Simonian Totah’s support of Armenian causes nationally and internationally. The honoree’s daughter gave a loving tribute to her mother, speaking about her role as a caring wife, parent, and grandmother.
Natalia Kazaryan performed piano selections from Chopin, Babajanian, Ravel, and Khachaturian. Ms. Kazaryan, who recently arrived in Washington to pursue a doctoral degree in musical arts, has played and studied around the world.
Fr. Karapetyan congratulated the honorees and noted that their dedication is an inspiration to the entire community.
“It is always a joy for me to visit St. Mary Church and to enjoy the warm hospitality and the vibrant Armenian spirit alive in this community,” Archbishop Barsamian said. “I pray that God may continue blessing this parish and its dedicated servants, including the parishioners we honored today, all of whom work tirelessly to preserve our Christian faith and heritage.”