Feast of Sts. Ghevontiants Celebrated with Clergy Conference and Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, the Feast of Sts. Ghevontiants was celebrated within the Western Prelacy at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello with the annual clergy conference followed by Divine Liturgy. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over the conference, in which H.E. Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian and clergy members participated.

The day began with morning service, after which the Prelate delivered his message and the spiritual meditation. His Eminence spoke of the day’s commemoration as an opportunity for renewal guided by the Holy Spirit, stressing the importance of renewal in daily life, in pastoral service, and religious duties. He gave the example of Hezekiah from the Old Testament, who upon becoming King set out to cleanse and restore the Temple and invited the priests to renewal, stating, “My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense” (2 Chronicles 29:11). The Prelate also reiterated His Holiness Catholicos Aram I’s call for reorganization and revitalization, stating that renewal begins from within and entails committing fully to the Lord, heeding His commandments, having His word guide our lives and mission, and seeking to be in His presence through prayer, as did the Ghevontiants and Vartanants saints. In conclusion, the Prelate congratulated the clergy as the Feast is also a celebration of clergy members, and wished them a fruitful ministry.

The clergy were hosted to lunch by the parish Ladies Guild, after which the conference convened with welcoming remarks by parish pastor Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

The Prelate delivered his message, once again urging the clergy to have accountability in their mission and to revitalize our parishes by renewing themselves and becoming more meticulous in their service. Finally, His Eminence congratulated clergy members celebrating milestones and birthdays, in particular Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian on the 55th anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood and Rev. Fr. Khoren Babochian, Archpriest Fr. Vazken Atmajian, Archpriest Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian, and Archpriest Fr. Vahan Gosdanian on the 25th anniversary of their ordination.

Next on the agenda was the election of the tivan, with Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian elected Chairman and Rev. Fathers Karekin Bedourian and Ghevont Kirazian Secretaries.

The session of the Religious Council followed, during which clergy members reported on the activities and challenges of their respective parishes. The Pontiff’s Year of Independence encyclical was read and discussed. It was advised for each parish to celebrate the centennial of the first Republic of Armenia through special events and with their respective schools, in addition to a community-wide celebration.

The second session featured a lecture by Very Rev. Fr. Torkom Donoyan, Vicar General, titled “The Armenian Clergy in the Present Day,” through which he presented the multifaceted role and mission of clergymen. Afterward, a number of vital matters were discussed, with the Prelate offering necessary explanations and suggestions. In conclusion, His Eminence commended the day’s proceedings and wished the clergy great successes in their mission. The conference closed with the hymn “Disciples of Christ” and the benediction.

In the evening, the Prelate presided over Divine Liturgy, which was celebrated by Very Rev. Fr. Torkom Donoyan. Prior to the sermon, the Prelate and clergy members conducted a special service dedicated to the feast.

In his sermon, Father Torkom spoke on the duty of each individual believer to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world” as is written in the Gospels, as the Ghevontiants and Vartanants saints were salt and light for our people and through their dogged faith kept the torch of our faith burning bright. Fr. Torkom invited the faithful to pray for our clergymen to remain strong and unshaken in their mission and continue on the path that was paved by St. Gregory the Illuminator, and conveyed congratulations and well wishes to his fellow brothers in Christ. At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, hymns and songs dedicated to Ghevontiants and Vartanants were sung, followed by Cilicia and the Armenian national anthem.

Afterward, clergy and faithful were hosted to a reception by the Board of Trustees and Ladies Guild.

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