AMAA Visit to AEUNA South America Community
Updated: Feb 28
During the month of February, AMAA Executive Director /CEO Zaven Khanjian accompanied by Rev. Harut Khachatryan (Senior Pastor of United Armenian Congregational Church of Los Angeles, CA), and other AEUNA lay leaders, traveled to South America on a mission trip of fellowship with our three AEUNA churches and the larger Armenian community.
On Saturday, February 11, 2023, they visited the Holy Trinity Armenian Evangelical Congregational Church of Buenos Aires, Argentina. After a tour of the Church premises, they met with the Pastor of the Church, Rev. Jorge Socini and the Council of the Church, Daniel Agopian (Church Council Chair), Armando Bethaian, Dr. Guillermo Hayetian and Pascual Kuchkabian. They discussed at length the state of the Church, the community, post pandemic efforts to reinvigorate the ministry and relations with AMAA and the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America.
Later in the evening the AMAA delegation was graciously hosted by Church Council member Mr. & Mrs. Armando and Mari Betahian at their residence.
On Sunday, February 12, 2023, AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, along with his wife Sona Khanjian, Rev. Harut Khachatryan (Senior Pastor of United Armenian Congregational Church of Los Angeles), Dr. Hasmig Baran and Dr. Vahram Shemmassian worshipped at the Holy Trinity Armenian Congregational Church of Buenos Aires. With about 50 worshippers they had a blessed and beautiful service. The local Worship Team sang in Spanish and the guests sang three hymns in Armenian accompanied by Rev. Khachatryan on the keyboard. It was an emotional moment when many in the congregation gleefully and silently joined with some shedding tears. Mr. Khanjian shared a message in Armenian on AMAA’s mission with the theme “Faith and Work” based on James 2:14, while Rev. Harut translated into Spanish. Following Mr. Khanjian’s message, Rev. Harut brought his message in Spanish. He spoke about his experience with a new friend, an elderly Argentinian woman who was returning to her homeland. “In our short conversation she had the impression that I also was Argentinian returning home,” he said. “Once we made it to the point of the entrance, to her surprise I took a different line, the line which read “extranjeros” meaning foreigners… she stared at me for a minute and said, ‘you didn’t sound a foreigner to me,’ and to be honest I didn’t feel like a foreigner, but I was. That made me think of us, the foreigners in this world, and our passport (the Bible) to our forever home.” After sharing this experience with the Church, Rev. Khachatryan asked them to have this perspective in their minds and hearts… “While now we all are foreigners, one day we all will be home!” he concluded.
At the conclusion of the Worship Service Mr. Khanjian presented a souvenir plaque from the AMAA to the Church in Buenos Aires as a memento of the visit.
Following the service the Church had planned a picnic at the Monte Grande Church Camp, where the guests toured the Camp and had lunch prepared by the members of the congregation.
A few days earlier, Thursday, February 9, 2023, Mr. Khanjian, accompanied by Armando Betahian and Dr. Guillermo Hayetian of the Armenian Evangelical Congregational Church of Buenos Aires, Argentina visited the Instituto Marie Manoogian in Centro Armenio (AGBU) en Palermo in Buenos Aires. Mr. Khanjian was also accompanied by his wife, Sona Khanjian, Rev. Harut Khachatryan, Dr. Hasmig Baran and Dr. Vahram Shemmassian.
The guests were welcomed by School Rector Jorge Samardji and Armenian Coordinator Elena Achdjian, one of the first graduates of the School.
A very cordial and jovial visit ended with a tour of the impressive facilities. The school was off due to the summer months in the region and is due to resume studies by early March. Over 400 students are educated at this institution of learning established since the early 1970s.
Later that day, Rev. Jorge Soncini joined the delegation on a visit to the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church located in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The guests were warmly received by Archimandrite Arén Shaheenian, Locum Tenens of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Argentina and Chile, and the president of the Armenian Center of Argentina, Carlos Varty Manoukian. Over an hour of cordial and friendly discussion they talked about spirituality, education and sense of belonging. They also discussed the current situation in our Homeland Armenia and Artsakh, as well as the recent deadly earthquake of Turkey and Syria. Before their departure, Rev. Harut Khachatryan had an opportunity to visit his classroom in St. Gregory School next to the Prelacy and reminisce sweet memories of his childhood school years in Buenos Aires.
On Monday, February 13, 2023, AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, along with his wife Sona Khanjian, Rev. Harut Khachatryan (Senior Pastor of United Armenian Congregational Church of Los Angeles), Dr. Hasmig Baran and Dr. Vahram Shemmassian, travelled to Montevideo, Uruguay to visit the local Armenian Evangelical Church and meet with the leadership of the Church.
The Church had planned a special gathering of welcome, worship and get to know the community. Representatives of various organizations and denominations were present. After a tour of the Church premises, all gathered in the Church sanctuary where Church Council member Robert Moumdjian, and the pastor of the Church Rev. Dr. Obed Boyadjian welcomed the guests. The guests sang some hymns in Armenian accompanied on the piano by Rev. Khachatryan. Mr. Khanjian gave a message based on Romans 5:3-5 and emphasized that, “Hope, is the core of AMAA’s mission.” Following his message, Mr. Khanjian presented a comprehensive Power Point presentation of AMAA’s mission with special emphasis on Artsakh and Syria. The program ended with the singing of the Lord’s Prayer “Hayr Mer.”
The evening extended to a group dinner with members of the congregation and a visit to Plaza Armenia.
On, Sunday, February 19, 2023, AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian along with his wife Sona Khanjian, Dr. Hasmig Baran and Dr. Vahram Shemmassian worshipped at the Armenian Evangelical Church of São Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Khanjian brought a message and reported about AMAA’s mission in 24 countries around the world. At the conclusion of the Worship Service, Mr. Khanjian presented a souvenir plaque from the AMAA to the Church in São Paulo as a memento, and Rev. Dr. Roy Abrahamian, Pastor of the Church presented on behalf of the Church a plaque to the AMAA.
In addition to the visits with AEUNA churches, Mr. Khanjian, Rev. Khachatryan, and members of the delegation paid visits to other Armenian religious leaders, schools, organizations, and community leaders. Full reports and additional photos are on the AMAA Facebook pages -