St. Sarkis Church of Pasadena Name Day Celebration

On Sunday, February 17, 2019, hundreds of faithful packed St. Sarkis Church in Pasadena to participate in the name day celebration, which was observed with Episcopal Divine Liturgy, blessing of madagh, and a luncheon. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, conducted the services and delivered his message. Rev. Fr. Boghos Baltayan and deacons assisted at the altar. Among the faithful in attendance were Executive Council members Avo Kechichian and Elizabeth Boyajian, Church benefactors Sarkis and Suzan Kitsinian with their children and grandchildren, and representatives of community organizations.

The Prelate focused his sermon on the following two verses from the day’s Gospel reading from John 6:22-38; “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him…I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

His Eminence stressed the importance of seeking nourishment that will strengthen and quench our souls and illuminate our minds with the rays of God’s Word, food that never runs out and that will make us worthy of the eternal crown. The disciples of our Lord, at the cost of their lives, sought and secured the food that endures to everlasting life; they sought food that sustained and strengthened them spiritually in the face of persecution and torment, and which, in the end, earned then the heavenly crown when they were martyred with faith. St. Sarkis, too, followed this path. He was a loyal soldier of the Roman army but, more importantly, a faithful and courageous soldier of God who, despite persecution and threats to his life, refused to renounce his faith, said the Prelate. His staunch devotion to the Christian faith inspired others to follow his path, and ultimately he, his son Mardiros, and their fourteen soldiers were martyred for the faith.

The Prelate stated that the story of St. Sarkis not a fairytale that we read; rather, St. Sarkis was and remains a living witness for the faith, a champion of the faith, and a beloved saint who is known for his intercession in the fulfillment of wishes, especially among the youth. St. Sarkis, and all of our saints, placed their absolute trust in the will of our Lord; they disregarded all worldly things, even their daily needs, seeking instead spiritual bread. God doesn’t expect this of us today, but we are to give just as much attention to our spiritual nourishment as to our physical, concluded the Prelate. He blessed the faithful, the youth in particular, praying for the Lord to grant their wishes, and on this pilgrimage day encouraged all to become renewed and strengthened in their faith and remain faithful, just, and bold children of God in the example of our saints, so that we too may be worthy of everlasting life.

Requiem service and the blessing of madagh took place at the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, during which prayers were offered for the souls of the first parish pastor, Archpriest Fr. Sarkis Antreassian, parish Delegates, Board of Trustees, Ladies Auxiliary members, the parents of the benefactors, and all departed church servants and sponsors.

The service came to a close with “Cilicia” and the Pontifical anthem.

LUNCHEON

The name day celebratory luncheon hosted by the Board of Trustees and Ladies Auxiliary followed at Hovhannes and Hripsime Jivalagian Youth Center. Following the invocation by the Prelate, Board of Trustees Chairman Koko Panossian greeted the guests, congratulated those named Sarkis and Mardiros, commended the Ladies for preparing the madagh, and thanked the madagh sponsors.

During lunch, guests enjoyed songs and recitations by the Kitsinian grandchildren, Choirmaster Yervant Keshishian, and choir members.

Fr. Boghos thanked Prelate for presiding over the name day festivities year after year, and thanked all the guests and sponsors for their support and encouragement.

In his closing message, the Prelate once again called for all to follow in the example of St. Sarkis by seeking heavenly bread and serving beyond ourselves humbly and selflessly. He blessed and commended the Parish Pastor, Board of Trustees, Ladies Auxiliary, and all servants and sponsors, in particular the Kitsinian family. Lastly, His Eminence announced the presence of a special guest, mountaineer Ara Khatchaourian who was recently awarded the St. Mesrob Mashdots medal by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I for his extraordinary feats, which include climbing Mt. Everest, having with him a copy of the Bible, and planting the Armenian flag atop its peak, as well as running from Marseille to Yerevan on the occasion of the Armenian Genocide centennial ran. The Prelate shared Mr. Khatchadourian’s inspiring motto of “conquer challenges with faith,” a motto in line with the day’s message, blessed and commended him for his endeavors, and gifted him a memento of the Lord’s Prayer. Mr. Khatchadourian thanked the Prelate for his kind words and gifted His Eminence a poster of him atop Mt. Everest.

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