On Saturday, December 26, 2015, the Armenian Apostolic Church observed the Feast of St. Stephen the proto-deacon and proto-martyr. On Sunday, December 27, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy and delivered his sermon exalting the life and legacy of St. Stephen at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino. Divine Liturgy was celebrated by parish priest Archpriest Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian. H.E. Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian participated in the service, and Executive Council Vice-Chair Dr. Dikran Babikian was among the faithful in attendance.
The feast of St. Stephen is a celebration of deacons and altar servers. Thus, during the service, as the choir sang the hymn dedicated to this feast, deacons and altar servers ascended the altar, candles in hand, to receive the Prelate’s blessings and well wishes. The Prelate thereafter delivered his sermon.
His Eminence paid tribute to the virtuous life of St. Stephen characterized by deep faith a deep understanding of God’s Word, and dedicated service, an ideal example for all Christians, and especially for deacons and church servants, to emulate. As a faithful servant of God, St. Stephen was graced with great wisdom, which he utilized to further increase his knowledge of God’s Word. He was a courageous witness of the Christian faith and sacrificed his life for his faith, stated the prelate, adding that our church servants must take inspiration from St. Stephen by enhancing their knowledge of the Bible and implementing those ideals in their daily lives.
The Prelate then spoke of the day’s Gospel reading on the Parable of the Minas, the message of which is to serve faithfully and wisely, making the most of the individual talents we are blessed with to do good, for “to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
At the conclusion of the service the Prelate presided over requiem service, during which prayers were offered for the soul of benefactor Harut Barsamian on the 40th day of his passing. His Eminence reflected on the life of Dr. Barsamian and his valuable contributions to our Prelacy, to the Orange County parish community, and to educational institutions, and conveyed his condolences to his loved ones.