Episcopal Divine Liturgy and Ordinations at Holy Cross Cathedral on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross


In celebration of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the name day of Holy Cross Cathedral of Montebello, on Sunday, September 11, 2016, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, conducted the ordination of acolytes and the blessing of madagh and basil at the Cathedral. Parish dean, Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, and pastor, Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian, assisted at the altar. Executive Council member Mr. Antranig Kasbarian, ARF Tro Gomideh representatives, sponsors, and representatives of community organizations were among the faithful in attendance.

During the service, the Prelate conducted “Antasdan,” or Blessing of the Four Corners of the World, offering glory to God for His bounty and praying for prosperity for the Armenian nation. The blessing of basil followed. The Prelate then conducted the ordination of acolytes. The parish pastors presented the five candidates, Alex Manoukian, Hrag Harboian, Paren Der Bedrossian, Garo Kelleyan, and Berch Papikyan, who knelt before the Prelate to receive the four ranks of an acolyte. Berch Papikyan was also granted the privilege of wearing a stole.

The Prelate thereafter delivered the sermon, which he began by greeting and congratulating the parish family on their name-day celebration and on the ordination of their new acolytes. He congratulated also and commended the new acolytes and stole-bearer, prayed for God to bless and guide His servants, and urged them to continue their dedicated service to God and our church with faith, love, and purity of heart.

His Eminence reflected on the history of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the traditions associated with it in the Armenian Apostolic Church, noting that the feast is particularly dear to the Armenian people for our forefathers witnessed the sacred relic being carried through their lands on its return to Jerusalem and comprehended its significance and its might. “The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is the most sacred symbol of our faith, representing the promise of redemption and salvation,” stated the Prelate, and tied in the message of the feast to the day’s Gospel reading from John 3:13-21, in which we read, “… as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

The promise of the hope of eternal life granted by the Holy Cross is life-changing and life-saving, stressed the Prelate, and is available to all who come to our Lord Jesus Christ with a pure heart and place their faith in Him and Him alone. “There is only one path to God, and that is by the way of the Cross. Our forefathers rejoiced and triumphed in the return of the Cross because they looked to the Cross as a life-giving symbol, a shield of strength, a seal of triumph against evil. Let us follow in their footsteps and look to the Holy Cross as our source of strength, hope, and peace,” urged the Prelate.

Reflecting on the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Prelate invited the faithful to pray for all those who perished and for their loved ones, as well as for peace in our individual lives, for our hallowed lands of Armenia and Artsakh, and for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and in Syria especially.

The Prelate concluded by once again congratulating the Holy Cross family on their name-day celebration and encouraging them all to do their part for the advancement of the parish, led by the example of service set forth by the founders of the church and successive generations.

At the conclusion of the service, the procession headed to “Baghramian” Hall where the Prelate conducted the blessing of madagh. The traditional luncheon hosted by the parish Ladies Guild followed, which included a program by Holy Cross Cathedral youth group members on the history of the confiscation and recovery of the Holy Cross. After the presentation, the youth quizzed the attendees and those who answered correctly were awarded prizes.

Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian commended the youth group members, highlighting the importance of youth participation in our church and community. The members received certificates of commendation for their service and involvement.

Board of Trustees Chair Mrs. Goharik Gabriel thanked the Prelate for joining the community on the special occasion, and invited His Eminence to deliver his message.

The Prelate first commended the Board of Trustees and Ladies Guild members for organizing the day’s festivities. He blessed and commended the youth group members for their presentation and service and encouraged the parish family to join hands and serve together for the advancement of the church and community. Finally, His Eminence reminded that in just a few weeks His Holiness Catholicos Aram I will be honoring our Prelacy with his visit, urging the faithful to attend the events and the youth especially to attend the “Meeting with the Youth” on Friday, September 30 at the Glendale Civic Auditorium.

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