PASADENA — Members and friends of St. Gregory Armenian Church in Pasadena gathered together on Saturday evening, April 28th to celebrate two sets of “Kind Hearts”: Hilda and Berge Gourdikian and Salpi and Viken Mankerian. The setting was Geragos Hall and the “Bright Lights” and Red Carpet were prepared for the entrance of the couples and their guests.

Father Sarkis Petoyan, Pastor of St. Gregory Church, welcomed everyone and before giving the Invocation, spoke of the many gifts and kindnesses given by these extraordinary young people. He also noted that the mission of the church cannot be effective without the help and kindnesses of all of her members.

Over 200 guests were in attendance under the auspices of Arch Bishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, who spoke of the exemplary and faithful service given by the two couples to their Parish and the Armenian Community at large. Also in attendance was California State Senator Anthony Portantino who presented each couple with a Certificate of Recognition. Attending with Portantino was his Field Director, Terri Mangiolu and husband, Hagop Mangiolu.

Dr. Kourken Matossian, former chairman of the Parish Council, was the Master of Ceremonies and introduced each couple by highlighting some of their accomplishments. Both Hilda and Salpi have worked tirelessly for many years on the Annual Ladies Society Fashion Show and Luncheon; Salpi as Chair of the Event and Hilda as Co-chair of the Boutique. Hilda has taught in the Sunday School for eighteen years an d supports the Bone Marrow Project and many other community projects while Salpi has served as a member of the Ladies Guild of the Western Diocese, the Bone Marrow Project and other organizations which help Armenian people.

Berge currently serves as Vice Chair of the Parish Council and Chair of the Men’s Forum. As chair of the Forum, he secures outstanding speakers for monthly programs from a variety of areas such as the arts, business and government. Viken steps forward whenever he is needed and does not have the word “no” in his vocabulary.

Dr. Matossian introduced Armand and Jackson Gourdikian, sons of the Gourdikians, who spoke glowingly of the many ways their parents had supported and encouraged them in their activities inside and outside of the church. Next, Dr. Matossian introduced Tanya and Carina Mankerian who also spoke of how their parents had helped them plan and make choices and encouraged them in their many activities. Tanya and Armand have been involved in Sunday School and VBS activities while Jackson was a member of the ACYO and Carina will begin helping in the Sunday School in September.

Cocktails, dinner by Roberts Catering and a Silent Auction began the thoroughly memorable evening which included a well- received, surprise performance by MR.X who entertained the crowd with wonderful Italian and Armenian songs. Dancing followed.

Thanks and appreciation were extended to Flora Dunaians and Margaret Mgrublian and their committee who worked tirelessly to prepare “An Affair to Remember” for two deserving couples.
Submitted by Marguerite Hougasian

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