St. Mary’s Church of Glendale Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Episcopal Divine Liturgy and Banquet – Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian Honored with the Title of Archpriest


On November 14 and 15, 2015, St. Mary’s Church of Glendale celebrated the 40th anniversary of its establishment with a banquet and Episcopal Divine Liturgy, during which H.
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E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, bestowed the title of Archpriest upon parish pastor Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian and consecrated three new crosses that were then installed atop the church.

During the service the Prelate delivered his message, which he began by greeting and congratulating the parish family and faithful in attendance, among them Archpriest Fr. Nareg Shrikian, Executive Council members, sponsors, and representatives of community organizations. His Eminence then announced that in response to his request, His Holiness Aram I was honoring Fr. Vazken with the title of Archpriest for his dedicated and years-long service within our Prelacy and at St. Mary’s Church. As the choir sang the hymn “Hrashapar,” Rev. Fr. Ardak Demirjian carried the Pontifical Encyclical up to the altar for the Prelate to read, after which His Eminence briefly reflected on Fr. Vazken’s commitment to his calling, from his days at the Seminary to his dedicated service at St. Garabed Church in Hollywood and later at St. Mary’s. The Prelate congratulated and blessed Archpriest Fr. Vazken, and wished that he continues his service and fulfills his added responsibilities with faith and humility.

Thereafter begun the blessing and consecration of the three crosses with the participation of the sponsors, Mr. Meher Der Ohanessian, Mr. Garo Kurkjian (representing Mr. and Mrs. Krikor Kurkjian), and Mr. Bedig Fermanian. The Prelate consecrated the crosses with Holy Muron, after which he blessed and commended the sponsors.

The Prelate then began his sermon on Luke 9:44-50, through which our Lord Jesus Christ teaches a lesson on humility. The reading records a dispute among the Disciples as to which of them is the greatest, in response to which brought forth a little child and said, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.” True greatness comes from faith rooted in Christ, from service, humility, love, and by walking with God, stressed the Prelate. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary and also the eve of Advent, the fifty-day period until Christmas, the Prelate invited the faithful to undergo spiritual renewal and recommit themselves to living and serving with love and humility as we prepare our hearts to welcome the greatest gift bestowed to mankind, the Birth of our Lord and Savior. The Prelate concluded by praying for the souls of all departed church servants and blessing those currently serving, in particular commending the main benefactors of the church, the Minassian family.

Fr. Vazken expressed his gratitude to His Holiness and the Prelate, and pledged that he will continue his service with renewed drive.

BANQUET On Saturday evening the Prelate presided over the 40th anniversary banquet at the Glendale Hilton. The program included remarks by the parish pastors, Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Garo Eshgian, and keynote speaker Mr. Dikran Der Sarkissian. The Board of Trustees honored the pastors, board members, church staff, and three individuals who have served the church for over 30 years, namely Dr. Hagop Der Megerdichian, Mr. Ruben Gourjian, and Mr. Hagop Tchagaspanian. A memento was also presented to the representatives of Forest Lawn.

The Prelate delivered his message, in which he noted that this celebration is a celebration also of our faith, heritage, legacy of the founders, and an expression of gratitude to our Lord for His presence in our lives, for His love, gifts, and peace. The Prelate noted how much St. Mary’s has grown from its humble beginnings, owing to the faithful and dedicated service and support of past and present pastors, delegates, board members, sponsors, and donors who service with faith, love, humility, and harmony in the example set forth by the founding generation. As he congratulated and commended them all, he expressed hope that the 40th anniversary celebration will be a time to recommit ourselves to becoming active participants in the progress of our church and communities. In conclusion, the Prelate paid tribute to the vision and dedication of the founders who made the establishment of St. Mary’s Church possible, prayed for God to bless the memory of all who served and who now rest from their labors, and invited all to continue to serve for the splendor of our church and nation with renewed enthusiasm, vigor, love, and unity.

The program came to a close with the benediction and Cilicia.

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