Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian Bestowed Privilege of Bearing an Ornamental Cope

On Sunday, June 21, 2020, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello, during which, by the ordinance of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, he bestowed upon parish pastor Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian the privilege of bearing an ornamental cope.

The Prelate first delivered his sermon, starting by congratulating all fathers on the occasion of Father’s Day. He stated that fatherhood is one of the greatest privileges granted by God but also an incredible responsibility, for exemplary fathers are teachers, role models, and an inspiration to their children and have a tremendous role and influence not only on their individual families but on society as a whole. He prayed for God to bless them with many healthy and joyful years to come and grant peace to the souls of our departed fathers.

His Eminence added that it was a particularly special day for him, a day of renewal of oath and of service, as the weekend marked the 44th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood and 23rd anniversary of ordination as bishop. He asked for the faithful to pray for all of our clergy, our spiritual fathers.

Next, the Prelate spoke on the life and legacy of Catholicos Nerses the Great, whose feast day was observed the day prior. He noted that St. Nerses remains an exemplary model of faith and service whose devotion to the spiritual and social wellbeing of the people earned him the honorific “great” and the “Illuminator of Hearts.” He is also regarded as the first great reformer of the Church, which flourished during his tenure. He regulated and brought order to our spiritual-ecclesiastical life, established monasteries and schools, built hospices, residences, and hospitals for the ailing and needy. “Our Pontiff, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I often speaks of taking the Church to the people, and that is precisely what St. Nerses did. He was always by the side of his flock as a true shepherd and spiritual father who inspired, motivated, and led by example,” stated the Prelate.

In light of the growing disregard for religion, Church, and moral values in modern times, and various influences which threaten our faith and national identity in the Diaspora especially, h urged all and, our youth in particular, to be alert and stand firm in our roots as faithful children of our Lord and of our Church and nation. Speaking on the challenges faced by our compatriots in Armenia and Lebanon, His Eminence stated that as children of God and of one nation we are members of one body and must support one another in the example of St. Nerses the Great who
devoted his life to the people, sharing in their sorrow and committing himself to meeting their needs. “Today the Holy See of Cilicia too, headed by our Pontiff and with its brotherhood, Prelacies, and Churches strives to meet the vast needs of its people, to alleviate their pain and spread the salve of Christ’s light. I urge you all to join in this effort and lend a helping hand to our brothers and sisters in need,” said the Prelate, and concluded his sermon by once again urging the faithful to commit to adhering to our faith and heritage which our ancestors fought so hard to preserve for all of these centuries.

Subsequently, His Eminence announced that His Holiness had responded favorable to his request to bestow the privilege of bearing an ornamental cope upon Fr. Ashod. He congratulated Fr. Ashod and prayed that he remain steadfast in his service for the glory of God and the advancement of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Accompanied by the singing of the hymn “Oorakh Ler,” the Pontifical encyclical was carried up to the altar and read by parish dean Very Rev. Fr. Muron. In the encyclical, His Holiness had expressed confidence that Fr. Ashod will, by the blessing of the Lord, continue his devoted service within the Western Prelacy, and prayed for God to bless him with good health and vigor to serve the Armenian Church with renewed enthusiasm.

Fr. Ashod knelt to receive the cope and the Prelate’s blessings, and at the conclusion of the ceremony was presented with the Pontifical encyclical. His Eminence once again congratulated Fr. Ashod and commended his 20 years to service to the Armenian Apostolic Church and 16 years of service to Holy Cross Cathedral, reminding him that with each honor and privilege comes added responsibility. He concluded by wishing that Fr. Ashod continue to service with this awareness and sense of responsibility, and by congratulating his family and the parish family.

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