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The clergy of the Eastern Prelacy marked the feast of the Holy Translators with a retreat on Oct. 3-5 at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Long Island. 

Following the opening prayer and welcome address by His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, Rev Fr. Mesrob Lakissian was elected chair of the meeting and Rev. Fr. Samuel Ajemian, its secretary. A reading of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I’s message ensued, in which he urged the clergy to continue their mission with selflessness and loyalty, advising them that any issues pertaining modern life should be examined and explained from the perspective of the centuries-old experience of the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

The twin main topics of discussion at the three-day retreat were “The 65-year service of the Eastern Prelacy,” which has been blessed with the auspices of the Holy See, and “Gender Change and the Challenges of the Armenian Church.” 

Jack Mardoian, former chairman of the Executive Board, offered a presentation about the Prelacy’s 65th anniversary. Mr. Mardoian, from Chicago, gave a comprehensive talk about the birth of the Armenian American community and the spiritual, educational, and other services offered by the Prelacy to the faithful.  

The other topic was discussed by a panel including psychiatrist Danielle Zazaian, from Detroit, who spoke about “An Introduction to Gender Change and Its Terminology;” Rev. Fr. Vahan Kouyoumdjian, who presented a psychological and sociological perspective; Harout Boyajian, MD, from Chicago, “Approach to Transgender Therapy,” and Judge David Erickson, also from Chicago, who spoke from a legal perspective. 

Participants also exchanged experiences about their pastoral life and post-pandemic return to normal in their parishes. Rev. Fr. Taniel Manjikian, Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, and Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian offered reflections. 

Despite the inclement weather, the clergy from ten states enjoyed an enriching gathering in a fraternal and prayerful setting. The retreat was closed with a blessing, followed by the “Disciples of Christ” hymn and the “Giligia” song.