Holy Trinity Church of Fresno Celebrates 118th Anniversary

On Sunday, November 18, 2018, Holy Trinity Church of Fresno celebrated the 118th anniversary of its establishment with Episcopal Divine Liturgy and a banquet. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon, and presided over the 118th annual banquet. Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Ashekian and deacons assisted at the altar. Executive Council members Mr. Berj Apkarian and Mr. Garbis Bezdjian were among the faithful in attendance.

The Prelate began his message by greeting, congratulating, and commending the Parish Pastor, Delegates, Board members, Ladies’ Guild, Men’s Society, Sunday School, youth group, altar servers, choir members, and all the volunteers and faithful, wishing them many more anniversaries to come. The theme of His Eminence’s sermon was humility, based on the day’s Gospel reading from Luke 9:44-50. The Prelate emphasized that greatness is humility and servanthood; that as children of God we are called to serve one another, to strengthen, build up, and lift each other up. “In the words of our Pontiff, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, service is the essence of our faith; it is the quality of life, the road of life, and the purpose of life. We must fulfill this calling and we must do so with brotherly love, humility, and selflessness. God became man so that we might become God, to become more Christ-like in our love and concern for others and give of ourselves to others. That is true greatness,” said the Prelate.

Speaking on the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the Prelate highlighted the importance of expressing our love for our fellow man through acts of kindness and charity during this time of year especially, and in this season of giving urged the faithful to lend a helping hand to our brothers and sisters and Armenia and Artsakh by contributing to the Armenia Fund Telethon on Thanksgiving day. His Eminence also called for prayers and support for the thousands of our fellow residents impacted by the devastating fires across California which claimed the lives of nearly eighty thus far and resulted in the destruction of over ten thousand homes and structures.

His Eminence concluded by once again conveying his blessings and congratulations to the parish family, and in this historic year when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia, the 60th anniversary of the Armenian Prelacy of North American under the auspices of the Holy See of Cilicia, and the 45th anniversary of our Prelacy, invited all to continue to serve with love, humility, and goodwill, with reinforced and renewed faith, not for personal glory but for the glory of God and the advancement of our church and nation.

During Der Voghormya, prayers were offered beseeching the Lord to grant rest to the souls of those who lost their lives in the fires, strength and comfort to those tasked with the harrowing process of rebuilding their homes and lives, and for the safety of firefighters as they continued to tackle the catastrophic fires. Similar prayers were offered in all Prelacy Churches.

The annual banquet followed at the Church hall.

Opening remarks were delivered by Master of Ceremonies Mr. Arakel Arisian, who acknowledged the church’s importance as a place of worship and fellowship, encouraging the church body to build upon the strong foundation that has been laid. The national anthems were sung by Mr. Kevork Ajamian. The Prelate delivered the invocation. On behalf of the Executive Council, Deacon Berj Apkarian expressed his congratulations and words of encouragement. During lunch guests enjoyed musical selections by Misak Israelian, accompanied on the piano by Mrs. Sevan Balabanian. The Ladies’ Guild and Men’s Society made their annual report and monetary contributions to the church. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Chairman Mr. Bill Sahatdjian thanked the members of the Ladies’ Guild and Men’s society for their continued diligence and hard work throughout the year. He also expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Ashekian for his leadership and service. Following his remarks of appreciation, Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Ashekian introduced the doctors of the Fresno Medical Mission, thanked them for their humanitarian work in Armenia this past year and gave examples of several critical cases they treated during their mission. Longtime community members Ms. Serpouhie Messerlian, Mr. Yetvart Megerdichian, and Mrs. Lucille Gahvejian received recognition awards for their years of service to the church and community. A fourth plaque was given this year to the Fresno Medical Mission doctors. On their behalf, Mr. Alain Ekmalian gave a video presentation of their mission in Armenia.

The Prelate delivered his message. He congratulated the Church family on their anniversary and commended Fr. Dajad for his dedication and hard work. His Eminence emphasized the importance of cooperation and collaboration with the Parish Pastor, stating “This support will strengthen bonds and lead to the success of the Church.” He thanked all those who continue to support the Church with their volunteer work, congratulated the award recipients, and commended the Fresno Medical Mission for their extraordinary work.

The luncheon concluded with the singing of Cilicia.

On Saturday evening, the Prelate and Executive Council members met with the Parish Pastor and Board of Trustees to discuss various matters and forthcoming endeavors.

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