Episcopal Divine Liturgy in Celebration of the 45th Anniversary of the Western Prelacy

On Sunday, December 9, 2018, the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian Prelacy of North America and the 45th anniversary of the Western Prelacy were celebrated with Episcopal Divine Liturgy at St. Mary’s Church in Glendale. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered his message reflecting on the anniversaries and called for united efforts and collaboration with faith and hope to ensure a bright future for our church, nation, and people.

H.E. Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian, former Prelate, H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Vicar General, and clergy participated in the service, while Rev. Fr. Ardak Demirjian, Rev. Fr. Movses Shannakian and deacons assisted at the altar. Among the faithful in attendance were Executive Council Chairman Mr. Garo Eshgian and members.

The Prelate began his message by thanking the Lord for the opportunity to collectively celebrate these milestone anniversaries and together to renew our pledge to serve in His example. He praised the Lord for His blessings and guidance throughout the history of the Prelacies, paid tribute to the leadership of His Holiness Catholicos Zareh I, His Holiness Catholicos Khoren I, and His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II (later Catholicos Karekin I of all Armenians), during whose pontificates the Prelacies were established and expanded, and to the current Pontiff, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I for his leadership in continuing the work and mission that was begun decades ago. With gratitude he recalled the service of former Prelates, H.E. Archbishop Hrant Khatchadourian, H.E. Archbishop Sumbat Lapajian, H.E. Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian and H.E. Archbishop Datev Sarkissian, adding that he has been continuing their work over the past twenty-three years, first as Locum Tenens and later as Prelate, by the grace of God and with the collaboration of clergy and lay servants.

The Prelate offered a prayer for the souls of all departed servants, and noted that during requiem service memorial prayers would be offered also for the victims of the Armenia earthquake thirty years ago. By the ordinance of the Prelate requiem prayers for earthquake victims were offered in all Prelacy Churches on this day. Given that the day coincided with Parliamentary elections in Armenia, His Eminence prayed for God to guide the steps of the leadership who serve for the welfare of our nation and people and for the strengthening of ties with the Diaspora.

Next, the Prelate shared a number of thoughts arising from the message of Christ’s earthly mission. He recalled the words of St. John the Baptist proclaiming Christ’s mission in referring to Him as the “Lamb of God,” which the disciples followed, and Jesus’ miracles, including the wedding at Cana and feeding of the five thousand, all of which signify serving the people and meeting the needs of the people. “As followers of Christ, the servants of our Church and Prelacy, and our nation, followed Christ’s path from the time when the light of Christianity was brought to Armenia by His apostles, and remained faithful to the path paved by St. Gregory the Illuminator and our Church fathers throughout the centuries,” stated the Prelate, and with gratefulness recalled the mission that has been carried out here on these lands over the decades, regarding it as the fulfillment of Christ’s message, which is serving and meeting the needs of the people and nation, which are one entity. His Eminence concluded by regarding these anniversaries as an opportunity to take inspiration from the past and look to a brighter future with faith, hope, and love, and with renewed will and dedication to carry on the work that was passed down to us with the Lord as our guide.

Following the requiem, the service came to a close with the singing of Cilicia.

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