Graduation Communion: An Exceptional Tradition Established at the Western Diocese
Published - 13 April 2018

Among the numerous events and activities which take place at the Diocesan Headquarters, the Inaugural Graduation Communion on Thursday, April 12 became one of the most spiritually uplifting traditions at the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America.

Students from the graduating classes of the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School and the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian School together with parents and friends, gathered at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral on Thursday to nourish their faith life and become the living Church.

The evening truly inspired the graduates, parents and all in attendance. The spiritual transformation of the participants and guests was evident within one hour after the commencement of the event. The collaboration between the schools, board of trustees, principals and teachers truly moved the students whose vision of unity was brought to life. The Cathedral’s sanctuary was filled to capacity for the prayer service.

The evening’s keynote speaker the Honorable Judge Armenui Amy Ashvanian was introduced by Stepan Khzrtian, Founding Partner at LegalLab Law Boutique.

In her inspirational message to the students, Judge Ashvanian stressed the inseparability of faith and education. The keynote speaker masterfully captivated her audience with personal testimonies of the vital role her ancestral Christian Faith has played in her life.

In his remarks, Archbishop Derderian encouraged the students to remain steadfast in their Christian Faith and to meet life’s challenges together with Christ, our Lord.

Below we present the Primate’s message in its entirety.

Dear Board Members,


Teachers, Parents, Guests and beloved students of the graduating class

of AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian and AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Schools,

We are tremendously delighted to greet you all this evening as we establish yet another revered tradition at the Western Diocese. Our mission is to instill in the hearts of the graduates the vitality of a prayerful life. We aim to pass on the living Christian faith of our ancestors to the torchbearers in order that you may strive for and adopt perfection as a lifestyle. And the perfect way to embrace the wholesomeness of this ceremony is through a confessional prayer and the acceptance of Holy Communion.

You are high school graduates. Remember however that life in itself is a greater institution where learning does not cease and its offerings are boundless. By opening the door to life you will be met with challenges, trials, surprises, and successes. And as long as you are guided by the Almighty, heed to a life of prayer, and promote the sacred moral values which we commonly hold in reverence, you will not be frail.    

The mission of the Armenian School shall be realized through our collective efforts. For the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles the Armenian School has been the backbone of education. This noble institution shall continue to enlighten the hearts of generations to come.

Beloved graduates, it is our heartfelt wish that you become law-abiding and furthermore, exemplary citizens of this blessed country. Remain loyal sons and daughters of our Motherland Armenia and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Cherish the endearing values of our ancestors. Reach for the skies and never lose faith in God in the heavens. Bon Voyage!

Archbishop Derderian expressed his gratitude to the principals of both schools Mrs. Arpi Avanesian-Idolor (AGBU MDS) and Mr. Michael Pratt (AGBU VTM) for their close collaboration with the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church.

His Eminence also expressed his appreciation to the Parent-Teacher Organization of the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School for hosting the subsequent reception.

Following the distribution of Holy Communion, as a parting gift, every student received a copy of the Holy Bible from the Primate.