Catholicos Aram I awards the “Knight of Cilicia” medal to Vahe Hovaguimian –

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, awarded the “Knight of Cilicia” medal to the President of the Executive Council of the Western Prelature, Vahe Hovaguimian, and his wife, Hasmig, for their decades of service to the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The medal was given to Vahe and Hasmig Hovaguimian following the ordination of three celibate priests in Antelias, Lebanon. Vahe Hovaguimian served as the so-called ordination sponsor.

After the May 22 ceremony, Aram I presided over a luncheon honoring the newly ordained at Antelias Seminary, where the Hovaguimians were joined by clergy, members of the seminary administration, students and parents newly ordained priests. At the end of the event, the Catholicos presented the medals.

Western Prelate Bishop Torkom Donoyan read Aram I’s encyclical, in which the Catholicos highlighted the Hovaguimians’ dedication and service to the Armenian Church.

“As a tangible expression of your enthusiasm for the Armenian Church, you have made and continue to make an important contribution to the activities of the Western Prelature of the United States of America, both through the National Assembly and Executive Council. You and your wife Hasmig supported the efforts of the Western prelature in various ways,” the encyclical states.

Prelate Donoyan was in Antelias to ordain the three new celibate priests. After celebrating the Divine Liturgy at St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral presided over by Catholicos Aram I, the three graduates were ordained and elevated to celibate priesthood.

The three deacons – Hrag Kalayjian, Shant Kadehjian and Nareg Filikian – then took on their priesthood names and will be known as Reverends Armen, Arakel and Azad respectively. As tradition dictates, the newly ordained priests will spend the next 40 days in prayer, fasting and reflection at St. Mary’s Seminary in Bikfaya, to begin their sacred mission.

The Dean of the Seminary, Very Rev. Barouyr Shernezian attended the ordination ceremony as
the Godfather Priest.

After the ceremony, Vahe Hovaguimian, who served as godfather, washed the foreheads and hands of the newly ordained priests.

Later, Prelate Archbishop Donoyan delivered his sermon and expressed his gratitude to Catholicos Aram I for giving him the opportunity to celebrate this special occasion. He also congratulated the priests, their parents and the Hovaguimians.

At the end of the sermon, Bishop Donoyan addressed Catholicos Aram I: “Your Holiness,
on behalf of the Religious and Executive Councils of the Western Prelature of the United States of America
America, and thousands of our faithful parishioners, we formally invite you to the Western Prelature of
United States of America, that our faithful may be comforted in your paternal presence.

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