Episcopal Divine Liturgy in San Francisco On the Name Day of St. Gregory the Illuminator

Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21, 2021 were memorable days for the St. Gregory the Illuminator Parish of San Francisco. H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Prelate, gave his first Episcopal visit to the Armenian community of San Francisco on the feast of St. Gregory the Illuminators Descent into the Pit. On Saturday afternoon, the pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Very Rev. Smbad Saboundjian welcomed the Prelate, who arrived in San Francisco, accompanied by Rev. Fr. Movses Shannakian.

On the same evening, a reception was held in the Saroyan Hall in honor of the Prelate’s first Episcopal visit to the region. During the reception, welcoming remarks were made by Very Rev. Fr. Smpad Saboundjian, Mr. Rosdom Aintablian, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and members from the Ladies Guild and various Armenian organizations from the region. The Prelate, in turn, praised the support and dedication of volunteers and benefactors of the Armenian Church and urged those present to work in the spirit of unity for the further development, strengthening and prosperity of community life.

On Sunday, March 21, 2021, on the occasion of the name day of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, the Prelate celebrated his first Episcopal Divine Liturgy in San Francisco, after being elected as the Prelate of the Western Prelacy. Very Rev. Fr. Smpad Saboundjian and Rev. Fr. Movses Shannakian served on the Altar. The Divine Liturgy was attended by Mr. Garbis Bezdjian, a member of the Executive Council, representatives of various Armenian organizations from the community, church devotees, benefactors and faithful.

In his message, the Prelate stressed that during the time of Great Lent, we are all invited to self evaluate ourselves through prayer, and as creatures who are created in the image and likeness of God, we are to join ourselves with Him and acknowledge the graces which He has granted us. We must become better individuals and stray away from sin and evil, and remain on the path of Jesus Christ.

Reflecting upon the day’s feast, the Prelate mentioned that in itself the feast is a somber occasion, remembering the suffering and descent into the pit. He expounded further stating; “A man named Gregory was so strong in his faith that he managed to say ‘no’ to the pagan king. Due to his firm stance, he was subjected to torture and was thrown into the ‘Khor Virab’, where he remained for 13 years, but remained steadfast in his faith and hope that God has a great plan for him. History shows that Gregory’s faith was not in vain. God really had a plan to convert the Armenian people to Christianity, including the new title of a ‘man glorified by God,’ St. Gregory the Illuminator.”

The Prelate congratulated all the faithful bearing the name of Gregory, then received the warm congratulations and heartfelt wishes of those present.

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