Prelate Presides over Divine Liturgy and Blessing of Genocide Centennial Monument at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino


On Sunday, May 3, 2015, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino and delivered the sermon on the Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross. Following the service, His Eminence presided over the unveiling and blessing of the new monument dedicated to the Armenian Genocide Centennial. Rev. Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian celebrated Divine Liturgy. Among the faithful in attendance were Central Executive member Mr. Khajag Dikijian, ARF Central Committee Chair Dr. Viken Hovsepian, Executive Council member Mr. Vahrij Pilavjian, Board of Trustees, and representatives of sister organizations.

In his greeting prior to the sermon, the Prelate gave thanks to God for the opportunity to be with the parish community after having successfully concluded the 43rd Representatives Assembly the day before. His Eminence stated that following a thorough review of the previous term’s activities, the Assembly found the endeavors of the Prelate and Religious and Executive Councils highly commendable and drafted plans for the coming year. As we find ourselves in the Centennial year, the Prelate stated that the focus of the Assembly and of the future was and is collectivity; collective faith, participation, and resolve. Having reviewed the Centennial commemorations that were held in the past weeks, the Assembly commended the mass participation of the Armenian people, which allowed our collective voice to be heard around the world, and adopted decisions affirming its support to the Sis lawsuit filed by the Catholicosate of Cilicia and to the Armenian community in Aleppo following the latest devastation. Finally, the Prelate stated that cross reliquaries will soon be placed on the altars of our churches, reminding us, as faithful Christians and Armenians, to continue our quest for justice strengthened by their intercession and armed by the power and promise of the Holy Cross as were our martyrs.

The Prelate then delivered his sermon on the Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross, the first of four feasts in the Armenian Church dedicated to the Cross. In the forty days from the Resurrection to the Ascension, and to Pentecost ten days after, we celebrate the triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our forefathers dedicated this fifth Sunday of Eastertide to the Holy Cross, because there would be no triumph without the Cross, said the Prelate, who then gave a brief overview of the history of the feast. It was in the year 351 that the Holy Cross appeared in the Jerusalem sky, from Golgotha to the Olive Mount, bringing strength and renewal to the hearts and souls of the people. The Cross is life-giving, it is strength and refuge; if we look to it with faith, comprehend its profound message, and reinforce ourselves with its might, we can overcome anything and everything, just as our ancestors did over the centuries, stressed the Prelate. Throughout history, the Cross became for the Armenian people strength, resolve, hope, God’s glory revealed on earth. Today, at this historic juncture of the Centennial, we must continue on our path to justice and peace with unwavering faith and will, inspired by the spirit of the Holy Cross and by the memory of our collective saints, concluded the Prelate.

Following the requiem service, as the hymn dedicated to the Martyrs of April was sung for the first time in our church, His Eminence was led in a procession to the courtyard for the unveiling and blessing of the Genocide Centennial monument. ARF Rosdom Gomideh Chair Hrair Nahabedian welcomed the guests, thanked the Prelate, pastor, and choir members for participating in the ceremony, and Mr. and Mrs. Hovsep and Rita Bchakjian for sponsoring the monument immortalizing our martyrs. The monument was unveiled and the blessing conducted by the Prelate, who then delivered his message. “In the past few weeks, we remembered peacefully and we will continue to remember rightfully. We demanded justly and we will continue to demand forcefully. Our martyrs, who are looking down on us from their heavenly abode, will lead us as we continue our path with faith, hope, and love. May they rest in peace,” concluded the Prelate. The ceremony came to a close with Cilicia and the Armenian national anthem.

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