WASHINGTON — Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, visited St. Mary Church of Washington, D.C., on Sunday, August 14, as the community observed the church’s name day.
During the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, Barsamian blessed the veil of youngsters Mariam Karapetyan and ordained Ruben Karapetyan, Hovsep Seferian, Ashot Hovhannisyan, and Andre Alexandrian to the rank of acolyte. During the Liturgy he performed the Blessing of Grapes service and blessed the madagh.
Later that afternoon, the community honored three parishioners at a special luncheon hosted by the parish council. Sarine Zenian and Dr. Ara Avetisian served as masters of ceremonies.
Parishioners Onnik and Hripsime Sivaslian, longtime members of St. Mary Church, were honored with the Diocese’s St. Vartan Award.
Their daughters, Tamar and Maral, spoke about their parents’ journey to the United States from Turkey more than 30 years ago, describing how they settled in the Washington area, attended school, launched their careers, and raised a family while also dedicating time to St. Mary Church. Hripsime Sivaslian serves on the Women’s Guild while Onnik Sivaslian has served several terms on the parish council.
The parish also honored Annie Simonian Totah, another longtime parishioner who is a recent recipient of a pontifical encyclical issued by Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Grigor Hovhannissian, Armenia’s ambassador to the United States, spoke about Totah’s support of Armenian causes nationally and internationally. The honoree’s daughter gave a loving tribute to her mother, speaking about her role as a caring wife, parent, and grandmother.
Natalia Kazaryan performed piano selections from Chopin, Babajanian, Ravel and Khachaturian. Kazaryan, who recently arrived in Washington to pursue a doctoral degree in musical arts, has played and studied around the world.
Karapetyan congratulated the honorees and noted that their dedication is an inspiration to the entire community.