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By NAS Dr. Gary Zamanigian

Avak Sbarabed Hunan Arshakian honored Nareg-Shavarshan Lodge with an official visitation Wednesday, April 12, 2023.  Prior to the lodge meeting, a formal banquet, hosted by the Knights, began with skilled Master of Ceremonies, NAS Vahram Fantazian, calling upon NAS Dr. Gary Zamanigian to offer a toast on this special occasion; a delicious Shish Kebab dinner followed.

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Gomidas Lodge Donates Vartan Painting to St. Sarkis Church San Diego

(SAN DIEGO) – The Knights of Vartan, Gomidas Tahlij #43 of San Diego has donated a commissioned painting of St. Vartan and Ghevont Yeretz for the side altar of St. Sarkis Armenian Church, San Diego.

The painting by Armenian artist Tigran Hovumyan was dedicated and blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, and parish priest Very Rev. Father Pakrad Dz. V Berjekian, on Sunday, February 5, 2023, as part of St. Sarkis’ First Anniversary Celebration.

The painting accompanies the additional larger side altar painting of the Holy Martyrs, also painted by Mr. Hovumyan, which Gomidas Tahlij donated when sponsoring the side altar for the consecration of St. Sarkis Armenian Church, blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian when the church was consecrated on January 29, 2022.

His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, blessing the painting, with St. Sarkis parish priest Very Rev. Fr. Pakrad Dz. V. Berjekian assisting to the left.

Gomidas Knights represented at the Feb. 5 ceremony included Avak Sbarabed Hunan Arshakian, Avak Yeretz Sergey Simavoryan, Avak Araroghabed Gregory Babikian, Asbed Armen Derderian and Asbed Dcn. Alex Zadikian, as well as Sevan Tahlij NS Derik Ghookasian, who attended the event in his capacity as Western Diocesan Council Chairman. The effort to raise the funds for the painting was spearheaded by NAS Steve Kradjian, current Sbarabed of Gomidas Tahlij. Not pictured in the photo display are Avak Tbrabed Armen Gostanian and NAS Steve Kradjian.

Leadership at the painting blessing and dedication:
(L-R): NS Derik Ghookasian (Diocesan Council Chair); Very Rev. Fr. Pakrad Dz. V. Berjekian, Parish Priest; Avak Sbarabed Hunan Arshakian; Avak Araroghabed Gregory Babikian; Asbed Armen Derderian; Avak Yeretz Sergey Simavoryan
Not Pictured: NAS Steve Kradjian, Sbarabed of Gomidas Tahlij; Avak Tbrabed Armen Gostanian.

A National Artist of Armenia and a 2017 recipient of the prestigious Movses Khorenatsi Medal, artist Tigran Hovumyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1969. His renowned works in oil painting and sculpture are displayed in prominent galleries and museums globally. His works were exhibited at the 50th anniversary exhibition of the United Nations, and in 1998 he was inducted into the UNCESCO International Federation of Artists. In 2013 he was named Professor and Chair of the drawing, painting and sculpture faculty at the National University of Architecture in Yerevan. Since 2018 he has resided in Los Angeles with his wife Ruzanna, and children Areg and Gayane.

In 2021 Tigran was commissioned to paint three major oil painting icons for St. Sarkis San Diego. In preparing for these significant works, Tigran made a pilgrimage to Holy Etchmiadzin in 2021. During his pilgrimage he undertook artistic and spiritual exploration, further immersing himself in Armenian Church art and iconography at the source, meeting and collaborating with the foremost scholars at the Holy See, while simultaneously preparing himself spiritually for the Holy work that was ahead. At St. Sarkis San Diego, his enlightened works include the central altar icon of the Holy Mother and Child Jesus, the Baptism of Christ, and the Holy Martyrs memorial. And in 2022 he was commissioned twice more, to create the two side altar paintings of St. Sarkis and St. Martiros, and of St. Vartan and Ghevont Yeretz.

St. Vartan Painting by Armenian artist Tigran Hovumyan, dedicated at St. Sarkis Armenian Church San Diego, Feb. 5, 2023.

Gomidas Tahlij continues to prioritize the mission of the Knights of Vartan, to uphold the Armenian church and Armenian people — locally, in the homeland, and around the world. Its efforts to support the current Artsakh campaign, host its second Avak Tivan within the last ten years, and implement innovative programs to sustain the brotherhood, continues to energize its members and Armenian community.