His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon (see below) at St. Stephen’s Church, in Watertown, MA, on Sunday, Oct. 17. Following liturgy, there was a celebration of the Armenian Cultural Month at the parish hall, honoring Mrs. Mayda Melkonian, a long-time servant of Armenian culture.
The pastor, Board of Trustees, and Ladies Guild had organized a luncheon in honor of Mrs. Melkonian. Archpriest Rev. Antranig Baljian, Pastor, hailed the presents, encouraging their participation.
During the event, the Prelate read a decree by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I bestowing the Mesrob Mashdots medal on Mrs. Melkonian, currently the principal of the St. Stephen’s Saturday School, for her 55 years of service in the field of Armenian education. Visibly touched, the honoree expressed her gratitude for the distinction and shared with the public the memory of how she started to work as a teacher, soon after graduating from Aleppo’s Karen Jeppe Jemaran. She had been approached to teach Armenian language but she turned down the offer, saying she did not have any experience. Yet upon her grandfather’s encouragement, she finally accepts the challenge, which extended over more than half a century of service, and earned her the gratitude of her students and colleagues.
In praise of her virtues, His Eminence highlighted Mrs. Melkonian’s selfless dedication to spark love for Armenian language and culture in the generations of students that passed through her classrooms, as well as her permanent search to update teaching methodologies to make her precious subject appealing to children born and raised outside the Armenian homeland.
The celebration included an artistic program with Nartouhi Abrimian as master of ceremonies and the participation of Ani Zargarian and Mary Galstian (songs) and Marine Margaryan (piano). Archpriest Baljian noted that the event—the first one after the pandemic began—marked the gradual return to community life. The event was closed with a prayer and the Giligia song.