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The Armenian Community Council of the United Kingdom held its regular meeting for August on the 20th of August 2015 when matters appertaining to the activities of the Council and its sub-committees were reported on and discussed.

The meeting discussed various avenues by which the Council could be of service and support to the best of our ability, to the new Primate, Bishop Hovakim Manukian in his mission as Primate of the churches in the United Kingdom.
Further steps in this regard to be discussed with Bishop Hovakim. The Executive Officers (Divan) of the Council shall hold meetings with the Primate with a view to establishing a close and sincere working relationship between the Ecclesiastic and the Secular/Political sections of the British Armenian Community.

The Chair of the Executive Committee (Kordzatir Varchoutioun) of the Council, Mrs Matilda Megerdichian, reported that her Committee together with the ACC’s Heritage and Cultural Committee were extremely busy organising the Celebration Evening of the 24th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Armenia, which will be held at the St Yeghiche Church on Saturday 26th of September at 7.30 p.m.

This National Celebration Evening will be under the auspices of the Primacy of the Armenian Church in the U.K. and of the Armenian Community Council.

This year the programme will comprise mainly of an Operatic Concert by the renowned singer from Armenia, Barseg Toumanian, who has established himself as one of the most respected baritone singers of the world. He has had appearances at numerous operatic halls of eminence in the world, including London’s Covent Garden.

Mrs Megerdichian explained that the Community Council has regularly, every year since Armenia’s independence, celebrated this event on behalf of the community, and on numerous occasions celebration had comprised a free concert by famous celebrities and groups from Armenia such as Alla Levonian, the Hover Choir and Shushan Petrossian. On all occasions, entrance fee had not been charged, and since it was a National Celebration the Council agreed to sponsor the event in accordance with tradition, and therefore entrance will be free of charge to the community.

Mrs Megerdichian also reported that interest about the Celebration Concert was intense and she expected the function would be well attended. The Council was informed that a very large party from Birmingham had expressed the wish to attend, and that a 50-seater Coach had been booked for transport.

It was also reported that the Gala Dinner organised by the Community Council together with the Armenian Embassy in honour of the visiting President of the Karabagh Republic and of Baroness Cox had been an enormous success, and a letter of thanks and appreciation had been received by the Chairman of the Council from Baroness Cox.

The Community Council noted with gratitude the fact that Mr & Mrs Vatche Manoukian had sponsored the function in full and consequently all funds received from members of the community by way of entrance donation will be channeled for charitable purposes for Karabagh about which the Council is currently in discussion with the Embassy.

Vice Chairman of the Council, Mr Zorik Gasparian reported that in July he, together with Council Member Raffi Sarkissian as representatives of the Community Council had accompanied the newly appointed Primate of the United Kingdom, Bishop Hovakim Manukian, on a visit to the community of Birmingham. The visit had been extremely successful and Bishop Hovakim performed Holy Mass there.

Mr Gasparian and Mr Sarkissian had had an opportunity to meet with the leaders of the Birmingham community and discussed various ways by which the ACC of the UK could be of assistance to the relatively newly formed community in Birmingham, and a close relationship could be cultured.

Mr Gasparian, in his capacity as Chair of the “ARI TUN” Sub-Committee of the ACC reported that this year was the first year that the Community Council had actively campaigned for young persons from the community to take part in the “ARI TUN” programme of the Diaspora Ministry of Armenia, when young Armenians from throughout the world go to Armenia and take part in charitable work during the Summer. This of course is a most important programme by which Armenian youth from the Diaspora create a bond with their ethnic homeland. Mr Gasparian reported that this year five young members of the U.K. community took part in the programme which was excellent for a first effort, and he expected a very much larger group to take part next year.

Ara H. Palamoudian
Chairman, ACC UK.

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