Prelacy News


On Friday, May 17, at the end of the second day of deliberations, the Eastern Prelacy hosted the annual banquet of the National Representative Assembly at The Henry Hotel in Dearborn, MI. The singing of the anthems of the United States and Armenia by Harout Achekian, Mano Achekian, and Alex Koceyan was followed by the invocation by Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar. After the dinner, the master of ceremonies, Col. Aram Sarafian, Chairman of the Executive Council, offered opening remarks. He announced the guests of honor of the evening, the Honorable Gary Peters, United States Senator, and Jack Mardoian, Esq., former Chairman of the Executive Council of the Prelacy.  

Col. Sarafian also thanked the host, St. Sarkis Church (Dearborn, Michigan), its pastor, Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian, the Parish Council, auxiliary bodies, organizing committee, and Executive Council members for their efforts to seamlessly organize the Assembly. He recognized the impending retirement of Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, Pastor of St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown, Massachusetts, “whose selfless service and great dedication to the Armenian church are exemplified through his 48 years of service as a pastor,” and asked the presents to join with him in lauding his service. Col. Sarafian also recognized the forty years of service to the Prelacy of three individuals: Susan Chitjian-Erickson, former delegate to the National Representative Assembly and Executive Council member; Richard Sarajian, Esq., current delegate and former chairman of the Executive Council, and Nora Daghlian-Sarajian, former delegate. 

Coincidentally, the three of them had started their service in 1984 and the speaker quipped: “Like wine, there are good years and bad, but it’s clear for the Prelacy that 1984 was a very good year.”   

The Arax Dance Ensemble of Hamazkayin presented a dance in the artistic section of the program.  


Welcome speeches were given by Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian and Mrs. Seta Tchobanian, Chairwoman of St. Sarkis Church Board of Trustees. Prelacy awards were given to four youth from the Dearborn community in recognition of their exemplary participation in the life of the Armenian Church and serving as role models for the youth of the community. Fr. Hrant introduced the youth awards to brothers Harout and Mano Achekian, the young adult awards to Knar Topouzian and Haigan Tcholakian.  


Fr. Hrant also introduced four exemplary members of the church who received Prelacy awards for their longtime commitment to church life: Karen Gulesserian, Movses Sherikian, Carolyn Sirian (posthumously), and her husband Michael Crane.  

Col. Sarafian introduced Jack Mardoian, Esq., another longtime servant of the Prelacy and the Armenian Church as deacon, former National Representative Assembly delegate, and former Executive Council chairman, as the Man of the Year of the Eastern Prelacy. In his remarks, Mr. Mardoian noted: “Although you are honoring me this evening, it is really me who should be honoring you for giving me the opportunity to serve our Church, our Prelacy, and our nation for what will soon be sixty years. You have given me the opportunity to grow in my Christian faith and to journey far beyond what anyone could have reasonably thought possible when this journey began for me back in Waukegan.”   

Dzovinar Hatsakordzian, Chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of Michigan, introduced the Hon. Gary Peters, highlighting his unwavering advocacy for Armenian issues first at state and then national levels, including the recognition and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide and his unstinting support for the plight of Armenians in Artsakh, which had earned him the “Spirit of Armenia” Award. After Fr. Sahag delivered the award to the honoree, Senator Peters thanked the Prelacy for this award and reaffirmed his support to Armenian causes.  

After the final address of Fr. Sahag and the singing of Giligia, the closing moment of the event was the drawing of the Eastern Prelacy and the National Association of Ladies Guild raffles.