Holy Cross-Harboian High School of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate

The year 2013 was a very special and successful year for the theater company of the Holy Cross-Harboian High School of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate. After three performances for the Lebanese-Armenian community in April 2013, on 2 August, the theater company left for Armenia to participate in the 2013 “Ari Tun” Program of the RA Ministry of Diaspora along with young Armenians from different corners of the globe. The members of the theater company were more than happy to see each other, and they all felt the spirit of patriotism.

The expenses for the 17-day stay and the receptions were covered by the Grigor Narekatsi Armenian Catholic Prelacy of Kanaker and were under the patronage of Prelate of the Armenian Catholic Diocese of Armenia, Georgia and Russia, Father, Archbishop Rafael Minassian.

The opening of the 2013 “Ari Tun” Program was held at Erebuni Plaza on August 5. During the event, Armenian language teacher of the Holy Cross-Harboian High School Margarit Azadian expressed words of gratitude, and one of the members of the theater company, Kohar Hagopian performed the song “Yeraz Im Yerkir Hayreni”.

During the 10-day program, the students visited different sites in Armenia, including the Museum of History of Yerevan, Oshakan village and the St. Mesrop Mashtots Church, the St. Gevorg Church of Mughni, Sardarapat, Etchmiadzin, the Museum of History, the Matenadaran, Garni, Geghard, Khor Virap Monastery, Noravank Monastery, Amberd Fortress, Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial, Yerablur Pantheon, the Home-Museum of Hovhannes Tumanyan, the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia and Sevanavank Monastery near Lake Sevan. The students also participated in other visits, the most noteworthy of which was the visit to Mount Aragats where the students experienced unforgettable moments and where they waved the school flag near the side of the lake.

Let’s not forget the useful courses, particularly the daily Armenian language courses that conveyed the air and spirit of Armenians.

All the tours had an impact on everyone. They saw all the sites that they had read about in their Armenian history books. They saw the land and all the stones, and they enjoyed being empowered by them and felt inspired. After the tours, they spent four days at the camp in Aghavnadzor where a bonfire marking the end of the program was held. During the bonfire, our students recited poems, performed songs and dances, and Kohar Hagopian gave a performance. Armenia’s representative at the 2011 Junior Eurovision Dalita Avanesyan and Georgia’s representative Anna Khachatryan, as well as Haykazunk Ensemble performed during the event. In the end, RA Deputy Minister of Diaspora Vahe Jilavyan expressed his heartfelt words and attached great importance to the “Ari Tun” Program, which brings Diaspora Armenians to the homeland and unites them with the spirit of Armenians. Jilavyan’s speech was followed by a speech by Dr. Rita Boyajian, who praised the “Ari Tun” Program of the RA Ministry of Diaspora and expressed gratitude to the organizers for organizing such a beautiful program. Boyajian mentioned with satisfaction that “during the past two weeks, we turned our dreams into a reality and touched, breathed, saw and felt the power of the homeland and became filled with “Armenianness”-something that will make us survive in the Diaspora and help us focus on moving back to the homeland”.

One of our goals and dreams was to have the “Hye Enk Menk” Theater present its musical in the homeland. The RA Ministry of Diaspora provided us with the opportunity to present the play at the Mher Mkrtchyan Theater in Yerevan on Friday, August 9. Among those attending the performance were Chief of Staff of the RA Ministry of Diaspora Firdus Zakaryan and Head of the Division for Scientific and Educational Programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora Sirvard Hambaryan, as well as representatives of H1 Armenian Public Television and other Armenian media outlets. Prior to the performance, Head of the Department of All-Armenian Programs Atom Mkhitaryan gave a speech in which he encouraged artistic and cultural events for children and youth, particularly in the Diaspora where Armenians will show their determination to live as Armenians and preserve the Armenian identity through such events.

In her speech, Dr. Rita Boyajian briefly presented the topic of the play “We Are Armenian”, which has been presented in Lebanon three times, and expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Diaspora for providing the opportunity to present the play at Mher Mkrtchyan Theater.

On the morning of August 14, Dr. Rita Boyajian had a meeting with Head of the Department of All-Armenian Programs at the RA Ministry of Diaspora Atom Mkhitaryan and Head of the Division for Scientific and Educational Programs of the same Department Sirvard Hambaryan. During the meeting, the sides discussed the ministry’s programs for Diaspora Armenians and made pledges for cooperation. This meeting served as an opportunity for the sides to become familiar with the activities for preservation of the Armenian identity in the Homeland and within the Lebanese-Armenian community. The sides also exchanged gifts. The ministry’s representatives donated the Armenian flag, a large map, a picture of the Armenian alphabet, as well as the coat-of-arms of the Republic of Armenia and other mementos. The representative of the school gave Mr. Firdus Zakaryan a letter of gratitude and appreciation addressed to RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan.

The trip to the Homeland ended with a liturgy served on the occasion of the Transfiguration of the Holy Virgin on the morning of August 18. In the evening, the school administration organized an event as a token of appreciation of Father, Archbishop Rafael Minasyan and the clergy of the Prelacy of Kanaker. The event was attended by Lebanese Ambassador to Armenia Jean Macaron, Archbishop Le Mulan Eric from Paris and other guests.

The evening was held in a warm atmosphere. The event included words of gratitude, performances of songs in different languages and the cutting of a cake in honor of girls named Mary. On this occasion, Dr. Boyajian transmitted a gift to Minasyan, who had generously received the members of the school’s theater company at the Prelacy and had covered their expenses throughout their stay.

August 19th was not a happy day for our students since it was difficult for them to leave the homeland. They were clung to the homeland and had a great feeling of patriotism. They got emotional as they left Armenia for Lebanon, taking with them beautiful memories and impressions of the powerful homeland, the snow-capped Mount Ararat, the churches and monasteries with the smell of incense, the blue Lake Sevan, as well as all the statues and monuments instilling pride in them.

We wish everlasting prosperity to our homeland, “the book of love, our always old and new Armenia”.



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