Special Service and Clergy Conference on the Feast of St. Ghevontiants

On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, a day-long commemoration of the feast of St. Ghevontiants took place at the Armenian Apostolic Church of North Hollywood, presided by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and with the participation of clergy members.

The day began with night and morning service, which included the intercessory prayer “Christ our Lord” through which the names of martyred clergymen was remembered.

At the conclusion of the service, His Eminence delivered the spiritual meditation stressing that the feast is, in essence, an opportunity for renewal of service and of vocation. Thus, he invited the people to pray for clergy members to serve with unwavering faith, filled with Christ’s love, and faithful to their calling for the glory of God and the advancement of our Church and nation. The Prelate reflected on the Divine Liturgy that was celebrated prior to the Battle of Avarayr and the baptism of soldiers as recorded by historians Yeghishe and Ghazar Parbetsi, and on the historic sermon delivered by Ghevont Yerets in which he not only stirred the soldiers to victory in the upcoming battle, but emphasized the importance of placing themselves in the hands of Christ and growing in His love. He stated that their martyrdom immortalized them and earned them eternal rewards, and we too can be on the path to eternal life if we follow in their example of service and sacrifice. Ghevont Yerets was enlightened in spirit and, through his sage instruction, enlightened his companions who willingly accepted martyrdom for love of Christ, love that was enriched by faith and hope; as faithful Christians we, too, must make Christ the center of our lives, have communication with Him and serve Him daily, said the Prelate and concluded by congratulating the clergy on their feast day.

The annual clergy conference dedicated to the feast followed. The conference convened with prayer and opening remarks by the Prelate, who wished for productive deliberations and shared thoughts stressing the importance of daily reading and reflection for clergymen. The election of the tivan followed, with Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian elected Chairman and Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian Secretary.

The next item on the agenda was a discussion on His Holiness Catholicos Aram I’s “Year of Armenians with Special Needs” proclamation. Fr. Muron presented the main points of the proclamation and his thoughts, after which each participant shared his ideas and previous experience on this matter. Guided by the proclamation, emphasis was placed on the imperative of clergy members being able to provide for the needs of their faithful, especially those with special needs. The Prelate offered suggestions and presented a number of plans to be implemented throughout the year, and on a local level urged the clergy to pay special attention to those with special needs.

The conference featured two presentations. Commissioner Jack Darakjian of the Los Angeles County Commission on Disabilities presented a talk on services available for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as challenges faced by families of persons with special needs and solutions to those challenges.

ANCA-WR Board member Lina Davidian, Esq. and Government Affairs Director Arsen Shirvanyan spoke on the importance of having an accurate count of Armenians in the upcoming U.S. Census by informing our community to write “Armenian” in the race box, and the efforts of the ANCA-WR in this regard. Both talks were followed by a question and answer session.

The final presentation was a deliberation by Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian titled “Aspiring to perfection,” which was inspired by Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Fr. Ghevont spoke on the varying interpretations of the word “perfection,” adding that true perfection is that in the Christian sense because here God is epitome of perfect rather than an individual. He stated, also, that in the Biblical sense, perfection begins with helping others, helping the needy, being forgiving, doing good deeds with a pure heart and pure mind, and though we are imperfect beings, we can strive for perfection and become more like God.

A Religious Council meeting followed, during which participants discussed ongoing matters and upcoming feasts and celebrations. The Prelate shared his thoughts and concluded by once again urging the clergy to live and serve with renewed faith and sense of duty.

The conference closed with the benediction and singing of the hymn “Disciples of Christ” and Cilicia.

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