A luncheon program organized by the Women’s Committee of the AGBU Alex Manoogian Center in Pasadena in observance of Mid-Lent was held in the center’s gymnasium on Sunday, March 15, 2009. On the occasion, Hagop Piandarian was presented with AGBU Honorary Membership in recognition of his longtime service to the organization and devotion to the Armenian community.
Ladies from the Women’s Committee cheerfully greeted local members and friends of AGBU, who, along with their children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law and grandchildren, had arrived to celebrate the daytime event.
Berj Shahbazian, the newly appointed chairman of the AGBU Southern California District Committee (SCDC), and his wife, as well as the other SCDC committee members, had come to this now-traditional Mid-Lent luncheon of the Women’s Committee, to honor Hagop Piandarian for his many years of devoted service. Also present were Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Yardemian; Bedros Piandarian of New York, the honoree’s brother and longtime director of the accounting department of the AGBU Central Board of Directors, as well as other, honored invited guests and friends of the honoree, including Ara Najarian, Glendale Mayor, and his wife, as well as Rafi Manoukian, former mayor and member of Glendale City Council.
Angele Karayan, the diligent chairlady of the Women’s Committee, opened the luncheon program with her brief and meaningful welcoming remarks and then invited Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Yardemian, Vicar General of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, to explain the meaning of Mid-Lent in religious terms. In his brief yet informative message, the Very Rev. Father shed light on the importance of Mid-Lent in the days coinciding with the Easter fast, and then blessed the dinner tables.
The artistic portion of the program ensued, with the playing of Tchaikovsky’s "Scheherazade," Spendiarian’s "Hijaz" and Komitas’s "Gakavig" by the well-known flutist Salpi Kerkonian, accompanied by her mother, Sossi, on the harp and piano. With their sensitive and faithful renditions, mother and daughter warmed the hearts and souls of the attendees, engendering lengthy applause.
The suitable honoring of Hagop Piandarian, one of the dedicated and longtime members of AGBU, was the main occasion for the gathering. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, he was educated at the Boghosian National School and then attended Lycée Française, graduating with high honors as an agricultural engineer. Haig Messerlian, Vice Chairman of the Southern California District Committee, gave a detailed presentation of the services and devotion of the honoree to AGBU and the Armenian Apostolic Church over these many years, starting from his birthplace and continuing to the present in California. Messerlian noted, "AGBU is well known for being a first-class, trustworthy organization with great assets, but its real wealth is derived from its members and leaders, among whose ranks is today’s honoree." He went on to cite the pure, noble and inculpable qualities of the honoree’s character and then, in an atmosphere of overall excitement, invited Hagop Piandarian to the stage to be presented with the "Honorary Member" plaque of the Central Board of Directors of AGBU by Karnig Karayan, one of the senior honorary members of AGBU, and Berj Shahbazian. Also invited to the stage were former District Committee chairmen Yenovk Balikian, Hovig Melidonian and Vahe Imasdounian, during whose terms of office the honoree served as member, then secretary, treasurer of the building committee of the Alex Manoogian Center, and longtime chairman of the executive committee of the Pasadena-Glendale Chapter.
Hagop Piandarian, visibly moved, thanked the AGBU Central Board of Directors for bestowing this honor on him. Likewise, he expressed his appreciation to SCDC chairman Berj Shahbazian, Chairman of the Pasadena-Glendale Chapter Shahe Seuylemezian, and the Women’s Committee for organizing such a wonderful program. "On the occasion of this ceremony, I share the honor bestowed upon me with all my co-workers in the organization, who, along with me, assisted in the initial efforts to form the Pasadena Chapter of Southern California AGBU, with uncompromising dedication," he said. Then he briefly touched on his lifetime of dedicated service to AGBU.
This article is based mainly on the report filed by Samuel Ilanjian.
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world’s largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually serving some 400,000 Armenians on five continents.
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