Celebrating the Legacy of our Holy Translators


October is traditionally designated Armenian Culture Month, a time when we celebrate the enduring legacy of our Holy Translators, Catholicos Sahag, St. Mesrob Mashdots, King Vramshabouh, Movses Khorenatsi, Yeghishe, St. Gregory of Nareg, St. Nerses the Gracious, and many others who brought about a cultural awakening and enlightenment and gave Armenia its national character.

Each year on the occasion of the Feast of the Holy Translators and Armenian Culture Month, Forty Martyrs Church and Ari Guiragos Minassian School of Orange County host a book fair to honor our translator forefathers.

This year’s book fair was held on Sunday, October 13.

The day began with Divine Liturgy celebrated by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, who also delivered the sermon.  Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian assisted at the altar.  A.G. Minassian School students attended Divine Liturgy.

In his message on the legacy of our holy translators, the Prelate noted that the fifth century is described as the Golden Age in our nation’s history essentially because of the invention of the Armenian alphabet and the translation of the Bible and other important works into Armenian.  The work of the translators began in the fifth century but was continued for centuries by their students and others they inspired, and their contributions went beyond the realm of Armenian literature and culture.  They contributed to the overall enrichment of our language with the creation of new words, and they translated important scholarly works of which the originals are lost and only the Armenian versions remain today.  Thus, stated the Prelate, the work of our translators was of great value not only for the Armenian people, but for civilization as a whole.
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Referring to the parable of the poor widow’s offering in the day’s Gospel reading from Mark, the Prelate noted that just as the poor widow put all that she had in the temple’s treasury, so too did our translators put all that they had in our nation’s treasury. Their extensive endeavors required a tremendous amount of dedication and sacrifices. They gave their all, heart and soul, to their work, for which we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude, said His Eminence.

In conclusion, the Prelate commended the Pastor, Board of Trustees, and AG Minassian School administration and PTO for keeping the tradition of the book fair alive, through which the priceless contributions of our holy translators are honored and celebrated centuries later.

Following the service, His Eminence headed to “Gugasian” Hall in a procession to conduct the opening of the book fair.

In her welcoming remarks, AG Minassian School Principal Mrs. Kohar Zaher highlighted the value of Armenian culture in the hearts and minds of Armenian youth, and reaffirmed the faithfulness of  AG Minassian School towards the Armenian book and literature.  She then invited the Prelate for the official opening of the fair.

His Eminence once again commended the organizers and stressed the great importance of preserving our religious and national heritage and passing them down to coming generations.

The cultural program featured songs and recitations performed by AG Minassian School students in homage to the legacy of our translators, as well as performances by Greg Hosharian and Kevork Rosdomian on traditional Armenian instruments.

EVE OF THE FEAST OF THE HOLY TRANSLATORS

On Friday, October 11, the Feast of the Holy Translators was also celebrated at St. Garabed Church in Hollywood with evening service (nakhadonag).  The Prelate presided over the service, in which Prelacy clergy members and deacons participated.  Executive Council members Dr.
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Navasart Kazazian and Dr. Misak Barsamian were among the faithful in attendance.

In his message, the Prelate exalted the priceless contributions of our holy translators and the responsibility each of us bears in preserving and promoting the Armenian language, literature, traditions, and culture they bequeathed to the Armenian people centuries ago.   Highlighting specifically the role of St. Mesrob Mashdots, the Prelate pointed out that in addition to inventing the Armenian alphabet and his translating endeavors, Mesrob Mashdots also continued the mission of St. Gregory the Illuminator by preaching to the people.  In fact, he was so revered and admired that he was welcomed by the Armenian people in the same manner that Moses by welcomed by the Jewish people when he descended from Mt. Sinai with the tablets bearing the Ten Commandments.

A reception organized by the parish Ladies Guild followed at “Karapetian” Hall.  Following the invocation by the Prelate, Parish Pastor Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian announced that this was the first time that the Feast of the Holy Translators was being celebrated at St. Garabed Church, and on this special occasion, ARS Los Angeles “Mayr” Chapter member Mrs. Hasmig Kelejian had made a memento for the Prelate, a reproduction of the Prelacy headquarters, which she and Chapter members presented to His Eminence.

The Prelate thanked Mrs. Kelejian for the beautiful gift and conveyed his blessings to the ARS “Mayr” Chapter members and the Ladies Guild for the warm reception.

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