Prelate Conducts Prayers for the Republic and Tricolor Blessing at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino

In celebration of the 26th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Armenia, by the ordinance of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, on Sunday, September 24, 2017, Prayers of Thanksgiving for the Republic of Armenia and the blessing of the Armenian flag was held in Prelacy Churches.

The Prelate presided over Divine Liturgy, conducted the Prayers for the Republic service and flag blessing, and delivered his message at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino. Archpriest Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian celebrated Divine Liturgy. Executive Council Chair Mr. Vahe Hovaguimian and his wife, delegates, and representatives of community organizations were among the faithful in attendance.

The Prayers for the Republic ceremony began with the procession of the Armenian flag into the sanctuary and toward the altar carried by Homenetmen “Massis” chapter scouts, as a hymn dedicated to the Holy Cross was sung. The ceremony encompassed prayers, hymns, and Scripture and Gospel readings, beseeching the Lord to preserve and guard the Republic of Armenia, grant wisdom and ability to its leaders, and strength to the commanders and armed forces. Next, the Prelate blessed and sanctified the Armenian flag, again beseeching God’s blessings upon the Armenian nation, after which he delivered his message.

“By the sign of Your all-victorious Cross, O Christ, lover of mankind, keep us from the unseen enemy, for You alone are the King of glory, blessed forever.” With these words from the hymn dedicated to the Holy Cross sung earlier, the Prelate began his message, first giving thanks and glory to God for enlightening our nation with the Light of Christ and for preserving our people for centuries, and prayed for Him to continue to bless, strengthen, and guide our nation today, and grant us wisdom and prudence so that we can fulfill our national duties. His Eminence noted that by fitting coincidence the day marked the eve of the fast of the Holy Cross of Varak, a feast which is unique to the Armenian Apostolic Church and has its roots in the early days of Christianity, in the 7th century. “The fragment of the Holy Cross was found on Mount Varak through prayer and by a luminous sign. The Light of the Holy Cross continued to guide and sustain us through centuries of persecution and led us to the first Republic of Armenia in 1918, and 26 years ago, to re-independence,” said the Prelate, and once again prayed for God to keep in peace and keep strong Armenia and Artsakh.

The Prelate also noted that the celebration of re-independence coincided this year with the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference held in Yerevan under the theme “Mutual Trust, Unity, and Responsibility,” during which His Holiness Catholicos Aram I highlighted concerns and urged for national unity, with the United Nations General Assembly, which President Serzh Sargsyan participated in, and with the eve of the first Armenian Republic’s centennial.

“As with the first Republic of Armenia, re-independence was achieved with laborious effort and triumph in an uneven battle. The movement for the liberation of Artsakh in 1988 paved the path for re-independence in 1991, when Armenian sovereignty was restored on our historic lands, the tricolor waved once again, the anthem and coat of arms were reinstated, the army and national institutions reorganized. Twenty-six years on, Armenia remains in control of its destiny and the custodian of the “free, independent, and united Armenia” proclamation, the legacy of the first Republic. In these 26 years, we have achieved important milestones and advancements in our Cause. The heroic defense of Artsakh continues, and along with the re-independence of Armenia, brings utmost pride to all Armenians worldwide. We too, the Western Prelacy family, are proud of Armenia and Artsakh and stand by our nations. Let us, therefore, pray once again for God to keep in peace our independent Armenia, fortify the defenders of our lands, and grant wisdom to our leaders, so that we can achieve a stronger and more prosperous Armenia,” stated the Prelate.

At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy and requiem service, a surprise reception was held at “Yeghia Sarafian” hall in celebration of the Prelate’s 60th birthday, with the participation of the Parish Pastor, Executive Council Chair Mr. Vahe Hovagumian, ARF “Rostom” Gomideh representatives, Delegates, and members of the Board of Trustees, Ladies Guild, Choir, Sunday School, ARS “Anahid” Chapter, and Kessab Educational Association. Well wishes were conveyed by Fr. Razmig, Mr. Hovaguimian, and Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Levon Arabian. The Prelate thanked all for the wonderful surprise.
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After the cake-cutting, attendees had the opportunity to congratulate the Prelate and receive his blessings.

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