Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, traveled to Los Angeles to participate in the final anointing (vercheen odzoom) of Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian, former Prelate of the Western Prelacy, who passed away on Saturday, January 21, at the age of 82.
On Wednesday, February 1, Bishop Torkom, Prelate of the Western Prelacy, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and presided the unction, along with clergy, in the presence of community representatives and a sizable number of faithful. The following ceremonies were presided by Archbishop Anoushavan and Archbishop Papken, Prelate of the Canadian Prelacy. The latter read the letter of condolences from His Holiness Catholicos Aram I.
The burial ceremony was held on Thursday, February 2, at Forest Lawn cemetery, in Hollywood.
Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian, born in 1941 in Beirut, studied at the Armenian Theological Seminary of Antelias from 1956-1963. He was ordained celibate priest in 1963 and received the rank of vartabed (archimandrite) in 1965, when he became locum tenens of the Prelacy of New Julfa (1965-1968). He was chair of the Religious Council of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia and secretary of the Central Executive Council.
In 1973 he was assigned as pastor of Holy Martyrs Church in Encino (California). He continued his teaching work, which he had started in Lebanon, at the Ferrahian School. Four years later, he was elected Prelate of the Western Prelacy, succeeding Archbishop Sempad Lapajian, and consecrated bishop in 1980. During his eight-year tenure (1977-1985), Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian presided over a period of growth of the Western Prelacy, which coincided with a wave of migration from Lebanon due to the civil war. The Prelacy acquired its own building, and many new churches and schools were established, as well as an endowment fund for the Prelacy.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Archbishop Tabakian held the position of Catholicosal Vicar for the Prelacy of Kuwait and the Arab Gulf.
The late Archbishop pursued higher studies at the Institut Catholique of Paris (1968-1971), where he defended his doctoral dissertation on the French translation of the homilies of fifth-century Catholicos Hovhan Mandakuni, published in 2000 as Les homélies du Catholicos Hovhan Mandakuni). He also published several books in Armenian, including a Modern Armenian version of the liturgical hymns (sharagan) of the Armenian Apostolic Church.