Name-Day Celebration of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of San Francisco

On Sunday, March 18, 2018, the sixth Sunday of Great Lent and the Sunday of Advent, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, arrived in San Francisco to preside over the name-day celebration of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church. The Prelate celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, conducted the blessing of madagh, and conveyed his blessings and congratulations to the parish community on this occasion. Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian, Parish Pastor, assisted at the altar.

His Eminence greeted and congratulated the parish community and expressed thanks to God for granting the opportunity to once again collectively commemorate the feast of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Descent into the Pit and the name-day of the Church. The Prelate highlighted the inspiring and exemplary life and service of St. Gregory the Illuminator, our patron saint who enlightened our nation with the Light of Christ, in particular his infinite love for our Lord, profound faith, and resolute will. St. Gregory the Illuminator loved the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind, and he loved his fellow man so much so, that he persevered for thirteen years in the pit in order to share the truth of Christ and turn the Armenian people to God, stated the Prelate.
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Next, he spoke on the day’s Gospel reading from Matthew 22:34-23:39, the message of which is to love the Lord and love your neighbor as yourself, which the Prelate stressed was the guiding force of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s life and service. His Eminence invited the faithful to really know and love God by reading, studying, and meditating on His Word, by keeping His commandments and serving Him, as well as to love others as we love ourselves. Next, he spoke on the second part of the day’s reading, the seven woes against the Scribes and Pharisees, which cautions against hypocrisy in our life and service.

As the day marked the Sunday of Advent or of the Second Coming, the Prelate stated that the we must be ready at all times to give account of our lives for no one knows the day that our Lord Jesus Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. “The life and legacy of St. Gregory the Illuminator, and indeed of the multitude of our saints and forefathers, as well as the heart of today’s Gospel reading lay out before us the framework for living in a way that is pleasing to God. Inspired by the message of the day’s commemoration, and by the spirit of Great Lent, let today be an opportunity and invitation for self-examination and renewal. Let us take a look at our lives and see if there is room for improvement, room to increase our faith and our love for God and our fellow man,” stressed the Prelate. His Eminence concluded by once again congratulating the community on its pilgrimage day and praying for the life of St. Gregory the Illuminator to inspire all to live and serve with faith, courage, resolve, love, humility, and goodwill, submitting to and trusting fully in the will of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At the conclusion of the service, the Prelate was led in a procession to the church courtyard where he conducted the blessing of madagh and once again congratulated the community.

A luncheon hosted by the Parish Pastor and newly elected Board of Trustees followed at “Vasbouragan” Hall with the participation of parish family members and representatives of sister organizations. In attendance were parish delegates, new Board of Trustees, Ladies Guild members, Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan School Principal Mrs. Grace Andonian and School Board Chair, representatives of the ARF “Krisdapor” and “Sardarabad” Gomidehs, ARS, and Homenetmen, sponsors and friends.

In his welcoming remarks, Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Rostom Aintablian thanked the Prelate for his presence, which he stated roused the community, and expressed hope for more frequent visits. Fr. Barouyr as well thanked the Prelate for joining the community in the celebration, and all the guests present, many of whom had come from far away for the occasion. Representatives of each organization introduced themselves, and a discussion ensued on community matters, challenges, and upcoming events, key among them the 100th anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia.

The Prelate commended the community’s efforts and gave an overview of the Prelacy’s forthcoming endeavors. His Eminence congratulated the new Board of Trustees, expressed hope that all sister organizations in the Bay Area continue to work together for the advancement of the Church and community, and wished continued success to all in their dedicated service.

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