Weekly News – February 1, 2013

WESTERN PRELACY TELEVISION PROGRAM
NOW ON US ARMENIA

 We are pleased to announce that the Western Prelacy weekly television program, “The Armenian Church”, will be broadcast on USArmenia TV as of Sunday, February 3rd, 2013.  The show will air on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and the Executive Council express their thanks and appreciation to President of USArmenia TV, Mr. Bagrat Sargsyan, for his support and for this opportunity.  With the program on satellite television, the viewership of “The Armenian Church” will expand to households worldwide.

***

HIS HOLINESS ARAM I DECLARES 2013
“YEAR OF THE ARMENIAN MOTHER”

In the past few years, the Catholicosate of Cilicia has celebrated the Year of the Armenian Child, the Armenian Youth and the Armenian Woman. His Holiness Aram I has now declared 2013, the “Year of the Armenian Mother”. In his Pontifical letter to the Prelates, His Holiness described his expectations as follows: (1) To assess the vocation of motherhood in the context of the challenges of current societies, based on the understanding of the community of women and men.  (2) To deepen the love and respect towards Armenian women as mothers.  (3) To empower Armenian women inspired by the profound meaning of motherhood.

In his conclusion, His Holiness asked the clergy and lay leadership of the Prelacies and parishes in different regions to focus on the theme of motherhood. He further directed them to organize activities that would help them define the new profile of the Armenian mother in the family, the church, the community and society, within the context of Armenia and the Diaspora.

By the ordinance of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, on Sunday, February 3, 2013, the Pontifical Message of H.H. Catholicos Aram I proclaiming 2013 the “Year of the Armenian Mother” will be read in all Prelacy Churches during Divine Liturgy. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, will preside over Divine Liturgy at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino.

***

FEASTS OF ST. GHEVONTIANTS AND VARTANANTS

The most popular Feasts having both a religious and nationalistic character are the Feasts of Ghevontiants and Vartanants, which this year will be observed on Tuesday, February 5 and Thursday, February 7 respectively.  The battle of Vartanants, which took place in 451, is a symbol of the conscience, faith, and the struggle of the Armenian people against tyranny and their efforts to preserve their identity, faith, and freedom.  It is a symbol of the endless sacrifices of the Armenian people and their willing martyrdom for their religion and nation.  Among the martyred, St. Vartan became a symbol of courage, sacrifice, patriotism, and undying faith.

On Tuesday, February 5, the Feast of Ghevontiants will be observed with Divine Liturgy celebrated at Vahan and Anoush Chamlian School.  The Prelate will preside over the service and will deliver his message to the administration and students.  Rev. Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian will celebrate Divine Liturgy.

On Thursday, February 7, evening service will be held in observance of Vartanants.  The service will be held at the North Hollywood Parish, presided over by the Prelate and with the participation of clergy members. The Prelate will also deliver the day’s message. The Church is located at 13050 Vanowen St. in North Hollywood (St. Paul Assyrian Chaldean Church).  The service begins at 6:30 p.m.

***

BIENNIAL GHEVONTIANTS CLERGY CONFERENCE OF THE THREE NORTH AMERICAN PRELACIES

On February 5, 2013, the Feast of St. Ghevont and the Priests will be commemorated in the Armenian Apostolic Church.  The Feast honors the indestructible faith and sacrifices of a multitude of heroes who gave their lives in the name of their faith and nation in the first half of the fifth century.

The Feast of St. Ghevont is also a celebration of clergy.  Thus, on this occasion, each year Prelacy clergy join together to reflect on the life and virtues of the Ghevontiants Saints and renew their vows and commitment as clergy through Divine Liturgy and a day-long conference of lectures and meditations.  Every two years, the Prelates and clergy of the three North American Prelacies gather for a joint clergy conference.  The last one was held February of 2011 in Toronto.

This year’s joint conference was held the week preceding the Feast on Tuesday, January 29 and Wednesday, January 30 hosted by the Western Prelacy at St. Gregory Church in San Francisco.  The two day conference was presided over by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, H.E. Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan (Prelate of the Eastern U.S.), and H.E. Archbishop Khajag Hagopian (Prelate of Canada), and featured   Clergy members arrived in San Francisco on the afternoon of Monday, January 28, and were greeted by Parish Pastor of St. Gregory Church Archpriest Fr. Khoren Habeshian, Prelacy Executive Council member Mr. Sako Shirikian, and parish representatives.  The clergy were hosted to a welcoming dinner in the evening at “Saroyan” Hall of the “Khachaturian” Armenian Community Center. Members of sister organizations participated in the dinner, and the evening provided the opportunity for conference participants to become acquainted.

Remarks were delivered by the three Prelates, St. Gregory Church Pastor, Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Rostom Aintablian, and “Kristapor” Gomideh member Mr. Edward Misserlian.

Tuesday, January 29, began with morning church service, followed by a spiritual meditation by St. Sarkis Church of New York Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian on the theme of serving the Lord with a fervent spirit (Romans 12:11).

The conference convened with a prayer at “Vasbouragan” Hall.  Fr. Khoren Habeshian and Mr. Sako Shirikian welcomed the participants and wished success to the proceedings.  Archbishop Choloyan spoke of the conference as an opportunity for reevaluating the mission of clergy and renewal of faith, Archbishop Hagopian as a driving force for spiritual fulfillment and individual growth, and Archbishop Mardirossian, focusing on the conference theme of “Faithfulness and Service”, stated that it is an occasion for realistic evaluation and faithful implementation of clergy service.

The election of the officers followed with Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian and Very Rev. Fr. Meghrig Parikian chosen as Co-Chairs, and Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian as Co-Secretaries.

Eastern Prelacy Vicar General H.G. Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian read the letter of H.H. Catholicos Aram I prepared for this occasion, after which Fr. Vicken Vassilian read the “Year of the Armenian Mother” message of His Holiness.  Three resolutions wre adopted with regards to the “Year of the Armenian Mother”: (1) For sermons during Great Lent to focus on the exemplary model of Armenian mothers, (2) daily spiritual and cultural events the week of Mother’s Day, (3) a two-volume publication dedicated to Armenian mothers compiled of passages from the Bible and Armenian literature.  A lecture on “Faithfulness and Service” by Archpriest Fr. Aram Sdepanian followed.

The proceedings of the first day concluded with presentations by the Prelates.

Archbishop Khajag Hagopian reported on the recent meeting of Prelates at the Catholicosate.  Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan spoke on the Catholicosate General Assembly and Etchmiadzin-Antelias collaboration, and Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian presented the re-edited version of the Book of Rituals, which the Western Prelacy will soon publish.  The day came to a close with evening services.

Day two began with morning church service followed by a spiritual meditation by Fr. Muron Aznikian on the passage from 1 Corinthians 9, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”.

Clergy then headed to Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan School, where the students presented a Vartanants program.  Archbishop Mardirossian conveyed the day’s message, in which he commended the administration and students.

The conference reconvened with a lecture on “Motherhood in the Bible” by Very Rev. Fr. Hrant Tahanian.  The remainder of the conference was devoted to discussions on mutual concerns, suggestions, and unforeseen matters.

The biennial Ghevontiants Clergy Conference concluded on Wednesday evening with Divine Liturgy.  The celebrant was Very Rev. Fr. Meghrig Parikian, Pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Toronto, and the sermon was delivered by H.G. Bishop Anoushavan Tanieian, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy.

At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, a special requiem service was held in memory of all deceased clergy who served within the three Prelacies.

A reception followed at “Vasbourgan” Hall, during which closing remarks of thanks and commendation were conveyed.  The day came to a close with the Cilician, Armenian, and Pontifical anthems.

***

DURING DIVINE LITURGY ON THE FEAST OF ST. SARKIS

ST. SARKIS IS A CHAMPION OF FAITH

STATED THE PRELATE

On Saturday, January 26, the Armenian Church celebrated the Feast of St. Sarkis and his son Mardiros.

In reverence for the unyielding faith of St. Sarkis, his son Mardiros, and the fourteen soldiers, the Armenian people have over the centuries built many Churches in their memory.  Among these is St. Sarkis Church in Pasadena, which celebrates its name day on this Feast.

On this occasion, on Sunday, January 27, 2013, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and conducted the blessing of madagh at St. Sarkis Church.

A celebratory luncheon followed at the adjacent “Andon Andonian” Hall, hosted by the Parish Ladies Guild.

The celebration of St. Sarkis began on Saturday morning with the blessing of salt by Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Khoren Babochian, which was later used in the preparation of the madagh by the Ladies Guild, who were assisted by Church volunteers.  In the evening a service was held during which hymns dedicated to St. Sarkis were sung.

The Church was filled on Sunday morning as faithful had gathered for the Episcopal Divine Liturgy celebrated by the Prelate.

Prior to his sermon the Prelate greeted the faithful in attendance, among them Church benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Suzan Kitsinian, stating “today we raise our prayers to God so that through the intercession of our protector St. Sarkis He may help us in keeping His commandments and guide our lives in accordance with His holy will”.

In his sermon the Prelate lauded the unyielding faith and ultimately martyrdom of St. Sarkis and his son Mardiros in defense of their Christian faith stating, “St. Sarkis was undefeatable, in his Christian faith and on the battlefield alike.  He was a champion who fearlessly crusaded to spread the Truth and Light of Jesus Christ.”

During the requiem service, prayers were offered for the souls of the first Parish Pastor, Board of Trustees, delegates, and Church servants.

Following the blessing of the madagh,  the Prelate was led in a procession to the Church narthex where the service concluded with the benediction and the Cilician and Pontifical anthems.

The luncheon began with the blessing of tables by the Prelate.

Welcoming remarks were delivered by Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Hagop Avedikian. Fr. Khoren thanked the Prelate for being with the parish community on this special occasion, thanked Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian, the benefactors and sponsors for their participation, and commended the Board of Trustees, Delegates, Ladies Guild, and all the volunteers for their service.  Mr. Nareg Kitsinian, son of the benefactors, congratulate the Church family on behalf of this parents.
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  Mrs. Boghossian also congratulated and commended the parish stating, “Where there is unity, there is strength and harmony”.

The luncheon concluded with the Prelate’s blessings and commendation of all the Church volunteers who devote their time and resources for the progress of the parish.

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