Episcopal Divine Liturgy at Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County – Blessing of Water and Grand Opening of “Movsesian Center” and “Sulahian Retreat”


On Sunday, August 9, 2015, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County. During the service, the Prelate conducted the blessing of water with the new Holy Muron. Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian assisted at the altar. Following the service, His Eminence presided over the blessing and grand opening of the “Julian and Aleen Movsesian Center” and “Sulahian Retreat.
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The Prelate began his sermon by greeting the parish family and the sponsor families in attendance, commended them for their generosity and wished the parish successful completion of their renovation project. His Eminence then turned to the day’s Gospel reading from Mark 2:1-12, which records the healing of the paralytic man, one of the great miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ. The message of the day was the tremendous power of faith. The Prelate stated that the paralytic man was a man of faith, for he would not have consented to the trouble of reaching Jesus if he did not believe in his heart that he could be healed. Just as or more important, is that the man was blessed with friends who shared his faith, evidenced by the great effort they went through to assist him. They were willing to do whatever it took to get their friend to the Lord. Jesus witnessed the extent and depth of their faith in Him and healed the paralytic man.

Through this reading, the Prelate highlighted not only the importance of faith, but of surrounding ourselves with people of faith, friends who will lift us up and draw us near to the Lord. The Prelate also noted that throughout His ministry, Jesus used the physical to prove the spiritual; He healed the flesh to prove his divinity. Within our Church we use rituals that seem worldly on the surface, but which actually symbolize the divine, said the Prelate, as is the case with the blessing of water ceremony. If we look to the Muron without faith, it is merely a mixture of aromatic oils, flowers, plants, extract, and so on. With faith, it becomes a pathway to rebirth and spiritual renewal. Through it, we see God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit; we are filled with the sanctifying presence of God Himself, said His Eminence. “As we partake of this blessed water with faith, may we seek the Lord’s forgiveness and healing for the cleansing of our bodies and souls, so that we too may be born again in spirit as new creatures, as was the paralytic man, and become worthy of being called His children. May it strengthen and inspire us in our service and devotion to our church and nation so that we can continue to thrive and keep our distinct faith and national identity alive and strong for generations to come,” concluded the Prelate.

Following the service, the Prelate was led in a procession to the church courtyard for the blessing and opening of the renovated “Movsesian Center” and the newly built “Sulahian Retreat.” The sponsors, Mr. and Mrs. Julian and Aleen Movsesian and Mr. and Mrs. Diko and Peggy Sulahian, along with their parents Mr. and Mrs. Krikor and Kohar Sulahian, participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremonies along with their families. The Prelate once again blessed and commended them for their unwavering support and encouragement of our church. The ceremonies came to a close with the singing of the Cilician and Armenian national anthems. A reception followed at “Ghazarian Hall” of the “Harut Barsamian Armenian Center.”

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