Donor Recognition Day at the Eastern Diocese

The Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) hosted its first annual “Donor Recognition Day” showing gratitude to all its supporters with a reception on the plaza of St. Vartan Cathedral on Thursday, September 15.

Archbishop Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), along with Diocesan Council members, clergy and staff were in attendance as they met and spent time with those who faithfully contribute and support Diocesan ministries and programming.

Donors of all generations, including those with a family legacy of giving, appreciated the opportunity to converse with leadership and those who carry out the Diocese’s mission in their everyday work.
“All too often donors are not shown appreciation for their sacrifices, so it’s very satisfying to be acknowledged for our contributions,” said Adrienne G. Alexanian, daughter of Edward and Grace Alexanian, longtime pillars of the Eastern Diocese in New York City. Expanding on her family’s history of giving, she created the Edward and Grace Alexanian Memorial Fund in memory of her parents to help support the advancement of the Diocese.

“We all support the Diocese because we believe in the Armenian Church, but we also understand that in order to keep our faith alive throughout future generations, it is essential that we contribute to its development right now,” said Tarra Kalian, a New York-based fashion executive whose family was instrumental in the building of the St. Stepanos Church in Elberon, NJ.

The Eastern Diocese, which connects parish communities all over North America, from New England to Florida – from the Eastern seaboard through the Midwest and Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains – creates religious and educational resources and programming, bolsters youth outreach, supports its parishes and mission communities, and offers digital resources, including video and live stream capabilities, for all of its members.

Taleen Babayan, who leads the Development Department and spearheaded the event, welcomed guests and highlighted the importance of donors’ contributions of time, treasure and talent to the Eastern Diocese to ensure its viable and effective presence in years to come. Archbishop Barsamian underscored the significance of the Eastern Diocese as well as its visionary founders, whose dedication and efforts are emulated today through the current generation of donors and one day by future Armenian Christian faithful.

The Donor Recognition Day also provided an opportunity for those involved on the parish level to learn more about the Diocese and its mission, programming and activities.

“The Donor Recognition Day event was a fantastic night,” said Armen Terjimanian, a New York-based writer. “Not only was it encouraging to meet and greet other donors and supporters of the Eastern Diocese, it was also great to interact with members of the Diocesan Council, who traveled from across the diocese for the event. Having grown up attending St. John’s Armenian Church outside of Detroit and later serving St. Mary Armenian Church in Washington, DC, not only as a alter server but in various leadership capacities, I’ve seen first hand how important donors are to our parishes and diocese.”

For Raffi Salbashian, seeing his home parish grow from a mission community in Purchase, NY to a full-fledged parish in White Plains, NY, allowed him to see first-hand the influential contributions of donors while growing up.

“Both my parents were on parish council for years and helped build St. Gregory Armenian Church,” said Salbashian, an ordained deacon and recent law school graduate. “I appreciate the invitation to our Diocesan complex here in New York City to be further exposed to the organization’s essential work and how I can get involved.”

A beautiful cultural performance by soloist Rita Kahvejian of the Shushi Dance Ensemble, who performed to Khatchur Avedissian’s rendition of “Hayouhi,” took place during the evening. Guests enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres, along with a special “Donor Appreciation” cake ceremoniously cut by Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Vicar of the Eastern Diocese.

“Without generous contributions from our parishioners, our Armenian Church wouldn’t be where it is today,” said Terjimanian.

For information about the Eastern Diocese, please visit

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