Name Day Celebration of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in San Francisco

On Friday, April 5, 2019, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, traveled to San Francisco to preside over the name day celebration of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church. On April 7, the sixth Sunday of Great Lent, Sunday of the Second Coming, which this year coincided with the feast of the Annunciation of the Holy Mother of God, His Eminence celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and conducted the blessing of madagh. Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian assisted at the altar.

On behalf of the parish family, Fr. Barouyr welcomed and thanked the Prelate for presiding over the name day festivities, and invited His Eminence to deliver his sermon.

The Prelate’s sermon centered on the shared virtues of the Virgin Mary and St. Gregory the Illuminator; exemplary faith, hope, and absolute trust in the Lord’s will. His Eminence stated that St. Gregory persevered in the pit for over a decade and maintained his faith and hope with confidence in God’s plan, that he was called to share God’s Word and Truth and turn the Armenian people to Christianity. The Virgin Mary, too, found herself in a difficult situation when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her with the news that she would conceive and give birth to a son Who would be the Son of God. Despite the confusion and doubt in her mind, with faith, hope, and trust, she submitted to the will of the Lord, stating, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

The Prelate noted that what can we learn from the day’s message is that we are never alone when we choose to serve God and that we are all part of God’s greater plan. The Lord was with Mary, and though St. Gregory was physically alone in the pit in reality he was never alone, for God was by his side throughout his imprisonment. The Virgin Mary and St. Gregory the Illuminator were also able to comprehend God’s plan and vision for their lives and consented to serving Him unconditionally because of their faithfulness and trust in Him. However, often we get caught up in the minutiae of everyday life and fail to see how we fit into God’s greater plan. As the day marked the sixth Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of the Second Coming, His Eminence concluded by stating that the Lord will one day return as the Righteous Judge to judge the living and the dead. Let us seek the intercession of the Holy Mother of God, of St. Gregory the Illuminator and a multitude of saints, so that we too may remain unshaken in faith, unwavering in hope, and unending in trust, and fully submit to the will of our Lord as instruments to His purpose and His glory,” concluded the Prelate.

The blessing of madagh and requiem service was conducted at the conclusion of Divine Liturgy. Prayers were offered for the souls of all the Church servants, founders, and sponsors, and for the soldiers who lost their lives during the four-day Artsakh war. The service concluded with Cilicia.

On Friday evening, the Prelate presided over Great Lent vigil service, which was dedicated to youth. A group of young adults participated in the service. In his message to them, His Eminence stressed the importance of undergoing spiritual renewal during Great Lent and the necessity of prayer in all aspects of our lives, and encouraged the young adults to keep participating in services.

MEETINGS WITH GREEK ORTHODOX AND CATHOLIC CHURCH LEADERS OF SAN FRANCISCO

The Prelate’s visit afforded the opportunity for a meeting with the Parish Pastor, Delegates, and Board of Trustees, as well as with local heads of Churches.

On Friday afternoon, the Prelate had an official meeting with H.E. Metropolitan Gerasimos, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco. His Eminence was accompanied by Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian, Executive Council member Garbis Bezdjian, Board of Trustees Chair Rostom Aintablian, and ANCA Bay Area representative Mato Senekeremian. His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas, Dean of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and local clergy members participated in the meeting. The discussion centered on strengthening and expanding relations and collaboration between the two Churches. The Metropolitan thereafter hosted a lunch for the Prelate and delegates. The visit concluded with the presentation of mementos.

On Saturday afternoon, the Prelate and delegation met with Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. The discussion served to familiarize the two Archbishops with the endeavors of their respective Churches. The Prelate presented a memento on this occasion.

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