Celebration of Prelacy Anniversaries, Episcopal Divine Liturgy, Ordination of Acolytes, and Tribute to the Holy Translators in San Francisco

On Friday, October 12, 2018, the eve of the Feast of the Holy Translators, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, traveled to San Francisco to preside over the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Northern American Prelacy and 45th anniversary of the Western Prelacy, and to celebrate Divine Liturgy and ordain acolytes at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church.

The visit began at “Saroyan” Hall of the “Khachaturian Armenian Community Center” where Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan School students presented a program of recitations and songs dedicated to the Holy Translators. The Principal, Mrs. Grace Andonian, welcomed and thanked the Prelate for his presence. Following their performances, the students presented a handmade gift to His Eminence. Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian, Pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, greeted the Prelate and invited him to deliver his message. The Prelate spoke on the enduring legacy of the Holy Translators and urged the students to remain true to that legacy by speaking Armenian and keeping our language and heritage alive. He presented mementos to Armenian subject teachers and blessed the School family.

In the evening, the two anniversaries were celebrated with a special program organized by the Parish Pastor, Board of Trustees, and Ladies Guild. Executive Council member Mr. Garbis Bezdjian was among the guests in attendance. The keynote speaker was Deacon Mark Shirin from Holy Trinity Church in Fresno.

The program began with a service dedicated to the Holy Translators. The MC, Deacon Sevag Badoyan, delivered welcoming remarks. Board of Trustees Chair, Mr. Rostom Aintablian, recalled all those who contributed to the establishment and expansion of the Western Prelacy, and expressed gratitude to the Prelate for his decades of service to the Prelacy. Deacon Mark’s lecture focused on the history and growth of the Prelacies. On behalf of the Executive Council, Mr. Bezdjian attested to the massive work carried out by the Western Prelacy. Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan School students presented a cultural program of recitations and songs, accompanied by Mrs. Seta Kizirian on the piano. Fr. Barouyr spoke of the celebration as an opportunity and inspiration to recommit to serving with greater zeal. He thanked the Prelate for his decades of devoted service, and presented a memento on behalf of the Church family.

The Prelate delivered his closing message. “Today is a special and unique evening, an evening of pilgrimage, remembrance, renewal, and rededication; to remember devoted servants of God and our nation who served with faith, devotion, and love in order for us to inherit their legacy. Reflecting on the 60th and 45th anniversaries, the Prelate stressed the importance of tireless service with indomitable will, unwavering faith, infinite patience, and visionary hope. As faithful heirs of the legacy of the Holy Translators and faithful members of the Holy See of Cilicia, today let us be inspired by the faith, vision, and service of our forefathers and become good stewards renewed in our service. His Eminence commended and blessed Deacon Mark, the organizers, and the Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan School family. The celebration closed with the benediction and Cilicia, after which guests enjoyed a reception hosted by the Ladies Guild.

On Saturday evening, a reception was hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Hagop and Suzy Kouyoumjian at their residence in celebration of the two anniversaries and in honor of the Prelate. Dr. Kouyoumjian welcomed the Prelate and guests and wished success to all in their mission. The Chairman of the Board of Trustees delivered welcoming remarks and on behalf of the parish family lauded the Prelate’s diligent service. Fr. Barouyr also highlighted the Prelate’s decades-long service to the Western Prelacy, expressed gratitude that he too was given the opportunity to serve the Western Prelacy thanks to the Prelate’s initiative, and urged all to contribute their part to the life ofour Church.

The Prelate thanked the hosts and organizers for the wonderful evening and expressed gratification for having dedicated the majority of his service to the Western Prelacy. Today is an opportunity and invitation for renewal, inspiration, and promise he said; to be renewed in faith, inspired by the past, by the legacy of our forefathers, and promise and pledge to serve for a brighter future, he stressed.

On Sunday morning, the Prelate celebrated Divine Liturgy, conducted the ordination of eighteen acolytes, and delivered the sermon at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church. During the service, the eighteen youth ascended the altar where they received the four ranks of acolyte. The Prelate was assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian.

His Eminence then delivered his sermon. He began by commending the Parish Pastor, Board of Trustees, and all volunteers for their commitment to engaging the youth in the life of the Church. He congratulated the new acolytes and prayed for the Lord to strengthen them in their faith and lead them in their service. The Prelate gave an overview of the Feast of the Holy Translators and the tremendous amount of dedication and sacrifice to forge our national identity. He tied in the day’s Gospel reading from Mark 12:35-44, which tells the story of the poor widow’’ offering in the temple, stating that our Holy Translators, like the poor widow, gave their all to the treasury of our nation, and toiled with heart and soul, with utmost faith and love, with the conviction that generation upon generation of Armenians would reap the harvest of their dedicated labor.

Stressing that the survival and advancement of our heritage rests on our shoulders and on those of future generations, the Prelate urged all to do their part to keep our faith, language, and culture alive and thriving and to be a good example to the younger generations to ensure the survival of our religious and national identity for centuries more. “Sixty years ago, with the establishment of the Northern American Prelacy, and 45 years ago with the establishment of the Western Prelacy, clergy and laity together embarked on a mission to shine the light of our faith and the light of the Holy See of Cilicia across these lands. Subsequent generations followed in their footsteps and advanced our Prelacies to where they are today. It is our time to contribute. We have great examples before us, the legacy of our saints and forefathers, to inspire and lead us in our service,” stated the Prelate.

A luncheon followed at “Vasbouragan” Hall, organized by the parents of the new acolytes. The Parish Pastor and Board of Trustees Chairman conveyed their gratitude to the Prelate for the ordinations and thanked the parents for the luncheon in honor of His Eminence.

Recalling his own ordination as acolyte at the Seminary fifty years prior, the Prelate wished the new acolytes many years of service, and commended the parish family for a memorable and fruitful weekend of celebrations.

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