On Saturday, April 15, 2017, Easter Eve was celebrated in Prelacy Churches with Divine Liturgy and Candle-Lighting service. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, conducted Easter Eve service and delivered the sermon at St. Garabed Church in Hollywood. Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian and deacons assisted at the altar.
The Prelate had chosen as the theme of his sermon the verse “Christ is risen from the dead. Come, O you peoples, sing praises to the Lord. Alleluia!” from the midday chant “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!” “Thanks and praise to Almighty God for guiding us in our seven-week spiritual journey of Great Lent and for leading us here today cleansed and renewed to proclaim with triumphant exultation that Christ is risen from the dead,” began the Prelate. His Eminence reflected on the various Holy Week services through which we commemorated the last days of Christ’s earthly life, his suffering for the redemption of our sin and for our salvation. Falsehood, hatred, and evil ruled in the hearts of Christ’s enemies who condemned Him to death with the belief that they could put an end to His ministry; but burial was not the end, for Christ defeated death, destroyed Hades, and granted us the gift of new and eternal life, exclaimed His Eminence.
The Prelate expounded on the day’s Gospel reading from Matthew 28:1-20, which recounts the discovery of the empty tomb by the oil-bearing women who had gone to anoint Christ’s body when the angel appeared to them and told them that the Lord had risen. The Prelate noted that while the women were filled with both fear and joy at the good news, the chief priests continued their campaign of falsehood and evil by trying to bribe the guards to say that the disciples had stolen Christ’s body. But again they failed, for Christ appeared to His disciples, met them with a new greeting, “Rejoice!”
Recalling the Good Friday service from the day before, the Prelate stated that if we succeeded in burying all negativity and sin, then today we can rejoice with those who sang praises to Him and we no longer search for the living among the dead for Christ dwells within us, He is with us every step of our lives, and if He is with us, then no one can be against us. Therefore, today is a celebration of triumphant renewal and an invitation to become a new man, concluded His Eminence, and on this occasion conveyed his Easter blessings and greetings to all
Holy Communion was offered at the conclusion of the service. Easter Eve Candle Lighting service followed. The Prelate lit a candle from the altar, signifying Christ’s inextinguishable Light, from which faithful lit their candles, thus illuminating the sanctuary as the jubilant hymn “Today He is risen” echoed throughout.
The celebration came to a close with the benediction and faithful took candles to their homes to spread Christ’s Light to their loved ones.