102nd Anniversary of the Heroic Musa Ler Resistance Celebrated at St. Garabed Church in Hollywood

On Sunday, September 10, 2017, the 102nd anniversary of the heroic and triumphant resistance of Musa Ler was celebrated at St. Garabed Church in Hollywood with Divine Liturgy, the blessing of herissa, and a cultural-educational program organized by the California Musa Ler Association.

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy, which was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Movses Shannakian, and delivered the sermon. Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian, Parish Pastor, participated in the service. The festivities had begun the evening prior with the preparation of the traditional herissa at “Karapetian” Hall of St. Garabed Church. Attending the service and festivities on Sunday were Executive Council member Dr. Kaloust Agopian, members and representatives of the parish, Raffi Cultural Association, and of community organizations, a large number of Musa Ler compatriots, and Mrs. Anahid Ohannessian, widow of Western Prelacy benefactor Gaizag for whom requiem prayers were offered on the one-year anniversary of his passing.

The Prelate first gave thanks to God for the opportunity to collectively honor the legacy and heroism of our compatriots who participated in the defense of Musa Ler. His Eminence noted that requiem prayers would be offered for benefactor Gaizag Ohannessian, on this occasion expressed condolences to his widow and loved ones, and paid tribute to him as a humble, kind, and gracious man who for decades contributed to the advancement of Armenian churches and schools, from Romania to the U.S., and did so away from the limelight, leaving behind a wonderful example for his loved ones.

His Eminence then delivered his sermon on the day’s Gospel reading, the healing of the deaf-mute recorded in Mark 7:31-37, stating that it was at once a physical miracle, spiritual healing, and the fulfillment of prophecy, for the prophet Isaiah had foretold 700 years before that the Messiah would come, the deaf would hear and the mute would speak. “The message for us today is to keep our eyes and ears open to see and hear God, to heed His commandments, to use our tongues to praise Him, and to live our lives according to His guidance and direction,” stated the Prelate.

Speaking on the Musa Ler resistance, His Eminence lauded the heroism and resolve of the Armenian people, in Armenia, Cilicia, Artsakh, and elsewhere, before and after the Genocide, a will to survive that is characteristic of the Armenian people and which continues to this day. “The people of Musa Ler justifiably defended themselves, fought an uneven battle against a militarily superior foe, with the conviction, that ‘man will only die once, blessed is he who dies for the freedom of his nation.’ In the spirit of Commander Vartan Mamigonian and his soldiers more than fifteen centuries before, the brave people of Musa Ler fearlessly battled for the sake of our faith and our nation and emerged victorious. The resistance of Musa Ler was one of many heroic efforts by our people. Years later, that same heroism was witnessed at Sartarabad and Pash Abaran, and no doubt that the resistance of Musa Ler inspired the liberation of Artsakh. Today, these battles remain a source of great pride for the Armenian people, and the martyrs, having been canonized in 2015, have become for us intercessors and protectors. Today we have many battles and challenges before us; the defense of our borders in Armenia and Artsakh, the prosperity and strengthening of an independent Armenia, the advancement of our Cause, the preservation of our identity in the Diaspora. The legacy of our forefathers, their example and resolve, will be the guiding light that leads us to triumph, and we are certain that you, as their descendents, will keep their legacy alive forevermore and pass it along to future generations,” stated His Eminence.

At the conclusion of requiem service, clergy, deacons, and faithful headed in a procession to “Karapetian” Hall where the Prelate conducted the blessing of madagh. Attendees sang traditional Musa Ler songs, and Dr. Vahram Shemmassian spoke on the resistance and its legacy.

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