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On Friday, May 13, at the end of the second day of deliberations of the National Representative Assembly, the Eastern Prelacy hosted a reception at the Founders Half of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Philadelphia, PA. After the opening prayer by Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, and the dinner, the master of ceremonies, Mr. Hagop Khatchadourian, Chairman of the Executive Council, offered opening remarks, where he announced the guest of honor of the evening, the Honorable Robert Menendez, Senator from New Jersey and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate, who was accompanied by his wife Nadine and her daughter Sabine.

Mr. Khatchadourian also thanked the host church, its pastor, Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, the Parish Council, delegates, Ladies Guild, organizing committee, and the NRA Planning Committee for their efforts to seamlessly organize the Assembly. He reminded the presents of “the need to fortify the foundation of our Prelacy through revival, outreach, youth-oriented programs, using the media and technology to reach out to our people,” as stated by the Prelate, and stated that “the panel discussions during the NRA about strategic planning, post-pandemic re-emergence, and expanding our youth foundation shall strengthen our commitment to serve in Faith, Hope, and Love.” 

Mr. Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America, made a vibrant introduction of Senator Menendez, highlighting his decades-long tireless and unwavering advocacy for Armenian issues, including his pivotal role in the historical recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Senate in 2020, which had earned him the “Spirit of Armenia” Award of the Prelacy. After Archbishop Anoushavan delivered the award to the honoree, Sen. Menendez thanked the Prelate and the Prelacy for this award and reaffirmed that his ongoing support of Armenia and Armenians will continue unabated (see here). 

Archbishop Anoushavan invited Mr. Menendez’s wife, Lebanon-born Mrs. Nadine Tabourian, to address the audience in Armenian, which she did, enlivening the evening with her charm and wit.  

In the following section of the program, several other Prelacy awards were given to various meritorious personalities of the Philadelphia community for their lifelong service to St. Gregory the Illuminator Church and the Prelacy. Archpriest Fr. Manoogian presented the “Good Samaritan” award to Mrs. Asdghig Kazanjian; Ms. Karen Jehanian, former Executive Council member, presented the Eagle of the Prelacy award to Mr. Noubar Megerian, also a former Executive Council member, and Ms. Lucinda Istanboulian presented the Queen Zabel award to Mrs. Sandra Selverian.  

After the closing prayer of Archbishop Anoushavan and the singing of Giligia, a surprise cake was offered to Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian and Yeretsgeen Nectar Manoogian on the forthcoming retirement of Archpriest Manoogian. The closing moment of the event was the drawing of the Prelacy raffle.