Over the past 14 years, the Izmirlian Medical Center in Yerevan has undergone numerous transformations. First known as the L. Nazarov Proctology Scientific and Research Institute, operating under the auspices of the Armenian Health Ministry, it was privatized by AGBU in 2000. The following year, AGBU donated the hospital to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and in 2012 was renamed the Izmirlian Medical Center and St. Nerses the Great Medical Center.
On October 15, 2013, the center celebrated yet another chapter in its history: it’s reopening, which revealed a $12 million renovation and newly constructed building. The project—completely unprecedented in its scope—was made possible by the generous support of former AGBU president Louise Manoogian Simone and the Izmirlian Foundation, headed by Swiss-Armenian benefactors Tigran and Helena Izmirlian.
The Izmirlian family and representatives of their foundation were on the ground to officially inaugurate the new facilities. Special guests President Serzh Sargsyan and Rita Sargsyan were also present, joined by dozens of officials, including members of the Armenia government and healthcare sector; the hospital's staff and faculty; and the Brotherhood of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. They were all greeted with bread and salt, a sacred Armenian tradition, which was presented by youth from the Holy See Etchmiadzin-AGBU Arapkir Children's Center.
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, presided over the blessing ceremony before welcoming the crowd to tour the center. Moving from floor to floor, unit to unit, they took in the building's many new additions—its state-of-the-art equipment, exam rooms and surgical facilities.
Prior to the renovation, the Izmirlian Medical Center saw an estimated 8,000 patients annually and performed close to 3,500 surgeries. With the latest expansion, it has broadened its reach and deepened its impact, while continuing to partner with some of the world's finest doctors.
Specialists from across the Armenian diaspora have, for years, lent their expertise to the hospital. Dr. Garo Tertzakian, of the Western California Medical Center in the United States, works with the center's Urology Department; Dr. Francois Antounian, of San Rafael Medical Center in the United States, collaborates with its Department of Orthopedics and Sports Traumatology; and Dr. Khachatur Badalyan of the N. N. Blokhin Cancer Research Center in the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences serves its General Surgery Department.
Following the tour, Dr. Armen Muradyan, the director of the Izmirlian Medical Center, invited guests to the auditorium, where he acknowledged the many healthcare workers who have allowed the hospital to expand its services. The attendees had the opportunity to see the full extent to which the center has grown with a screening of the documentary "Izmirlian Medical Center: The Past and Present," produced by Shoghakat TV.
Dr. Muradyan thanked the center's key supporters, welcoming Gregory Djerejian, senior vice president of the Izmirlian Foundation in New York, to reflect on the foundation's role in the project. Djerejian, in turn, pointed to the Izmirlian family's commitment to pursuing humanitarian initiatives and promoting development across Armenia.
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, echoed praise for the Izmirlians while offering pontifical blessings. Addressing the guests, he stated, "Dear ones, nearly a decade ago, the Armenian General Benevolent Union donated to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin the former Proctology Institute, which had dutifully served the nation for many years in critical situations, with the hope it would operate in the future under more favorable conditions. The devoted children of our Holy Church, benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Tigran and Helena Izmirlian, have made their sincere contributions for the renovation process of the medical center. The praiseworthy Mrs. Louise Manoogian Simone has also made a significant investment in fulfilling this God-pleasing endeavor."
His Holiness expressed his appreciation to Tigran Izmirlian by presenting him with the rank of "Knight of Holy Etchmiadzin" and awarding him a pontifical medal. Upon receiving the honor, Izmirlian paid tribute to his parents, Sarkis and Mary Izmirlian. He also recognized Louise Manoogian Simone and her family, whose generosity, he noted, inspired him to support the center.
The inaugural event came to a close with a tree planting ceremony led by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, President Sargsyan, and Mr. Izmirlian. As they gathered together in the center's courtyard, bringing the day to an end, they knew it was not only a new hospital, but a new future that was taking root.