In commemoration of the Feast of St. Stephen the Protodeacon and Protomartyr, on Sunday, December 25, 2016, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy at the Crescenta Valley Church where he delivered the sermon and blessed the deacons, stole-bearers, and acolytes. Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian celebrated Divine Liturgy.
During the service, as the choir sang the hymn dedicated to St. Stephen, deacons and altar servers entered with candles in hand to receive the Prelate’s blessings, who invited them to serve with humility and devotion in the example of St. Stephen.
The Prelate then delivered his sermon on the day’s Gospel reading from Luke 18:9-14 on the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, which conveys the importance of humility, a virtue which characterized the life and service of St. Stephen. With his courageous preaching, unwavering devotion, humble service, and pure soul, he became the ideal role model for our deacons and altar servers, and by his stoning he became the first martyr for the faith, even seeking forgiveness for those who stoned him for they knew not what they did. Referencing the Gospel reading, the Prelate stated that one cannot be proud in prayer and condescending of others, and invited the faithful to kneel before God in humility, to reflect on their lives in the past year, and prepare to welcome a New Year and the Birth and Theophany of our Lord with renewed spirits, love, faith, and hope
On behalf of the parish family, Fr. Ghevont thanked the Prelate for presiding over the service and for his inspiring and renewing message and invited the faithful to pray during “Der Voghormya” for God to bless His Eminence with many more years of good health, service, and leadership.
At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy the Prelate presided over requiem service. The service came to a close with “Cilicia” and the benediction by the Prelate.