On Sunday, June 27, 2021, the parishioners of St. Peter Armenian Church of Van Nuys received the pastoral blessings of the Diocesan Primate His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, who was the day’s celebrant and homilist. Assisting Archbishop Derderian at the Holy Altar were the Parish Priest Archpriest Fr. Shnork Demirjian, the Rev. Fr. Yeremia Khachatryan, and the deacons of the parish. The Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Dz. V. Yardemian, Archpriest Fr. Nareg Matarian, and the Rev. Fr. Gevorg Abyan participated in the service.
During the service, Archbishop Derderian recognized the Ghookasian family, long-time parishioners of St. Peter Armenian Church. Mr. and Mrs. Derik and Adrineh Ghookasian were then called to the nave where Mr. Ghookasian was bestowed and decorated with the prestigious St. Nerses the Graceful Medal. The accompanying Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians was read from the altar by Archpriest Fr. Shnork Demirjian.
«We are indeed overwhelmed with spiritual joy on the auspicious occasion of honoring Mr. and Mrs. Derik Ghookasian with the St. Nerses Shnorhali Medal and the Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians in recognition of his dedication for our nation and the Church.
Mr. and Mrs. Derik and Adrineh Ghookasian are an exceptional couple and exemplary pillars in the life of the Western Diocese.» stated His Eminence, commending the service and contributions of Mr. Ghookasian.
Following the service, a banquet was held in the Karagozian Hall. Among the dignitaries in attendance were His Excellency Armen Baibourtian, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia, members of the Diocesan Council, and representatives of Armenian organizations.
In his remarks, Archbishop Derderian commended the outstanding service of Mr. Derik Ghookasian rendered to the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, the family of St. Peter Armenian Church of Van Nuys. «The Ghookasian family has been an endearing couple, dedicated to selfless service for the glory of God. The high honor of St. Nerses Shnorhali medal bestowed upon Mr. Derik Ghookasian by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians is truly a fitting honor.»
The honoree expressed his wholehearted gratitude to the Catholicos of All Armenians and to the Diocesan Primate H.E. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian for the recognition and honor.
«I am privileged to receive this Pontifical Encyclical and St. Nerses Shnorhali Medal of Honor from the spiritual center of the Armenian nation. The Throne of St. Gregory the Illuminator is indeed a spiritually uplifting symbol as well as a calling to rededicate ourselves to serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and upholding the sacred traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Serving together and seeing such wonderful results is extraordinarily amazing and gratifying. I offer my thanks to God for blessing me throughout my life with such great mentors and colleagues who allow me to bring my best and encourage me to serve. Many of you sit here today, and others have gone home to sit with our Lord. There are simply too many to name, but I wish you all to know that I am blessed to have you in my life. Each of you has made this day very special and memorable for me and my family.
I treasure serving the Diocese and our church because it brings me so much joy. From the moment I came to this parish in 1989, I felt at home with a strong sense of peace and love for this community. My wife, Adrineh, and I have made lifelong friends through the church and Diocese, as have our children. It started from just attending church services on Sundays, and evolved into serving on the Parish Council, to our children attending Sunday School and being part of ACYO, then serving on the Diocese Council, and serving at Hye camp. All these factors have led us to cherish the relationships we’ve established and the bonds of friendship that extend into a true feeling of warmth and family. By God’s grace, I hold this award on behalf of every member of my Family in full dedication and gratitude» stated Mr. Derik Ghookasian in part.
Proceeds from the banquet benefitted the Stewardship Program of the Western Diocese.