Episcopal Divine Liturgy and Requiem for Iraqi-Armenians at the Crescenta Valley Parish


On Sunday, September 7, 2014, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and presided over a special requiem service in memory of Iraqi-Armenian clergy and church benefactors at the Crescenta Valley parish.

His Eminence was assisted at the altar by parish pastor Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian. Executive Council member Mr. Meher Der Ohanessian was among the faithful in attendance.

Prior to delivering the sermon, the Prelate greeted the parish family and members of the Iraqi-Armenian community who had gathered to participate in the special service. He then turned to the day’s Gospel reading from Mark 7:31-37 which tells of the miraculous healing of the deaf and mute man. The Prelate expounded on the deeper meaning behind the miracle performed by our Lord Jesus Christ, the message being to open our ears to clearly hear the Lord’s commandments, and to guard our mouths from speaking evil. Addressing the youth specifically, the Prelate urged them to open their ears to receive the faith of our forefathers and the truths of our Lord, close their ears to sinful chatter and gossip, and open their mouths to sing the praises of our Lord. In conclusion, His Eminence prayed for God to lead us according to His will, and for peace to be restored in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza.

Fr. Ghevont addressed the congregation prior to the “Lord have mercy” prayer, expressing gratitude to the Prelate for being with parish family and inviting the faithful to offer prayers for the health and well-being of His Eminence.

Divine Liturgy was followed by requiem for departed members of the Iraqi-Armenian community, after which the Prelate and procession headed to the Prelacy main entrance where His Eminence blessed the faithful and the reception table. The service came to a close with the Cilician anthem and the Prelate’s benediction.

After enjoying the reception prepared by the parish Ladies Guild, guests headed to the Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian Hall for the monthly lecture series organized by the parish Education Committee. The Prelate presided over the presentation, the topic of which was the “History of Armenian Churches in Iraq”.

Welcoming remarks were delivered by Master of Ceremonies Mrs. Arousyak Melkonian. Three presentations followed; Mr. Berj Zadoian spoke on the history of the establishment of the modern-day Iraqi-Armenian immigrant community, Dr. Vehouni Minassian spoke on the building of Armenian churches in Iraq, and Deacon Rafi Garabedian spoke about the devotion of the Iraqi-Armenian people to tradition and our church. The cultural program featured recitations by Antranig Soghomonian and sons by Alice Harutunian, accompanied on the piano by Hovsep Torossian.

The Master of Ceremonies thanked all of the day’s participants, and invited the Prelate to deliver the closing message.

His Eminence commended the presentations illustrating the 400 year history of the Iraqi-Armenian community which highlighted the community’s efforts in preserving our traditions, building churches, and their dedicated service to our nation, and prayed for the Lord’s mercy to be upon those who dedicated their lives to our church and who now rest from their labors. Reflecting on the current situation in the Middle East, the Prelate concluded by expressing appreciation to the gracious Arab people who welcomed the wave of Armenians exiled following the Genocide, in contrast to the radical factions in the region today. The event came to a close with the Armenian national anthem.

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