Weekly News – February 17, 2012

WESTERN PRELACY ALLOCATION TO SCHOOLS
FROM THE “SARKIS BOGHOSSIAN FUND”

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and the Executive Council joyfully announce that allocations have been made to Prelacy Schools and the Charles Keyan Armenian Community School of Fresno from the “Sarkis Boghossian Fund”.

The fund was established by the late benefactor Sarkis Boghossian in memory of his wife and children.  According to the benefactor’s wish, income from interest earned is allocated to our schools equally.

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GREAT LENT SUNRISE AND VESPER SERVICES

Sunday, February 19, 2012, the eve of Great Lent.

Great Lent begins on Monday, February 20 and continues until April 7, Easter Eve.

During this period, Sunrise and Vesper services will take place in all Prelacy churches on Wednesdays and Fridays.

On Wednesday, February 22nd, the Prelate will preside over the first Sunrise service of Lent at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino and will deliver his message to the faithful and to Ferrahian School students who will be in attendance.

Following the service, the Prelate will attend the annual Great Lent luncheon organized by the local ARS “Anahid” Chapter at “Dikranian” Hall.

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COMMEMORATING THE FEAST OF VARTANANTS

On Thursday, February 16, 2012 the Feast of Vartanants was commemorated with Divine Liturgy at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino presided over by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and with the participation of clergy members. Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon.

Fr. Muron first presented the religious and political climate in Armenia in the fifth century.  He spoke of why the battle of Vartanants was fought, which was defense of our faith and nation, and exalted the courage of Vartan Mamigonian and the 66,000 soldier army who bravely stood up to the 300,000 strong Persian army.  In the end, Vartan and 1036 of his companions were martyred, while the Persians lost more than 4,000.

Following the battle at Avarayr, said Fr. Muron, inspired by the faith and spirit of their ancestors, the Armenian people continued to fight in defense of our faith and nation, and in 484 achieved victory with the signing of the Nvarsag Treaty.  In conclusion, Fr. Muron noted that while in the fifth century the enemy was known and visible, today our people and especially our youth are faced with unseen or disguised enemies brought about by modern technology and other outside influences.  Thus, he urged the faithful to arm themselves with the spirit of our Vartanants martyrs and defend our people against outside influences on our faith and people.

At the conclusion the service, the faithful joined clergy members and choir in the singing of traditional hymns and songs dedicated to Vartanants.

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PASTORS AND BOARDS OF TRUSTEES GATHER FOR A MEETING
WITH THE PRELATE AND EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

In preparation for the annual general membership meetings of our churches, on the evening of Wednesday, February 15, 2012, Pastors and Boards of Trustees members of our parishes gathered at the Prelacy “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall for a meeting with H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and the Executive Council.  Central Executive Council member Mr. Khajag Dikijian participated in the meeting.

The meeting opened with a prayer and welcoming remarks by the Prelate, after which Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian and Mr. Dikijian addressed the parish representatives.

Mrs. Boghossian brought to the attention of the representatives a number of suggestions, based on the Prelacy by-laws, to ensure that the membership meetings proceed smoothly and efficiently, and also stressed the important role of our parishes in drawing our youth to our church.  A discussion on these matters followed, and it was deemed necessary to hold similar meetings with the election of new Delegates and Boards of Trustees members, so that new members can be properly informed of their responsibilities and obligations.

Also discussed were the unsettling occurrences that had recently emerged and the Prelacy’s response to the matter, noting that our community must not be swayed by baseless and misleading information.  In the ensuing question and answer session, the Prelate, Central Executive member, and Executive Council members further expanded on the matter.  The parish representatives in attendance expressed satisfaction for the clarifications and as devoted servants of the Prelacy, reaffirmed their commitment to our church and national institutions.  They also reaffirmed that the best interests of our religious and national institutions are above personal preferences and all else, and that it is crucial to preserve our canons and traditions.

The meeting concluded with the benediction by the Prelate.

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CELEBRATING THE FEAST OF
THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD TO THE TEMPLE

On Monday, February 13, 2012, the eve of the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord to the Temple was celebrated in Prelacy churches with evening services followed by the traditional bonfire.

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over the service and delivered his message at St. Mary’s Church in Glendale.  Clergy members participated in the service, and in attendance were over 1500 faithful.  In keeping with tradition, Homenetmen leaders and scouts, as well as members of the Armenian Church Youth Association, were in attendance.

In his sermon, the Prelate reflected on the message of the feast and also on three thoughts from the new book Taking the Church to the People by H.H. Catholicos Aram I, and invited the youth to always remain faithful to our Christian faith and religious and national values and traditions, to become active participants in our church and community life, and to trust fully in our Lord Jesus Christ with renewed faith.  The Prelate also noted that Joseph and Mary brought gifts as they presented Jesus to the Temple, and asked what our gifts will be to God, the answer to which is our faith and our Christian lifestyle.

After the Prelate’s sermon, parents approached the altar and handed their children to the Reverend Fathers to present to the altar.

Following the church service, clergy and faithful gathered in the church courtyard for the lighting of the traditional bonfire, around which they sang traditional songs.  A performance of music and dance by the “Knar” dance group from Armenia further added to the evening’s festivities.

The annual traditional dinner hosted by the Parish Pastors and Board of Trustees followed at the “Armenak Der Bedrossian” Hall.  During the reception, the Prelate was presented with a memento by the Homenetmen Regional Executive.

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DIVINE LITURGY AND CLERGY CONFERENCE ON
THE FEAST OF GHEVONTIANTS

On Monday, February 13, 2012, the Armenian Church celebrated the Feasts of Ghevontiants, which is also a celebration of clergy.  Each year, this feast is celebrated within the Prelacy with Divine Liturgy and the annual Ghevontiants clergy conference.

The day began in the morning with Divine Liturgy celebrated by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, at St. Garabed Church in Hollywood, with the participation of clergy members.  Students of Rose and Alex Pilibos School were also in attendance.

In his sermon, the Prelate reflected on the participation and role of our clergy in   the battle of Vartanants which was fought in defense of our faith and nation.  He exalted the staunch and unwavering faith and courage of our Ghevontiants saints who gave their lives for our Christian Armenian nation.  The spirit of Ghevontiants, which was manifested in the battle of Vartanants, lives on today and brings us the timeless message of love for God and nation, and faithfulness to our faith, church canons, and traditions.

The service was followed by lunch, after which began the clergy conference.

Professor Hans-Juergen Feulner of the Institute for Liturgical Studies at the University of Vienna, who is in town for his annual visit, participated in the conference, speaking on his field of expertise and about the students studying at the university.

            The conference focused on pastoral and administrative responsibilities, obligations and mission of clergy.  Given that 2012 was proclaimed the “Year of the Armenian Book” by H.H. Catholicos Aram I, Archpriest Fathers Nareg Pehlivanian and Hrant Yeretzian, who were entrusted with the presentation of our Pontiff’s new book Taking the Church to the People, gave an analysis of the book.  This provided an opportunity for the clergy members to discuss in depth various issues raised in the book and to evaluate their multi-faceted mission, which includes rituals and ceremonies, Christian education, Bible studies, and spiritual nourishment of our youth, to better serve their faithful flock and prevent “sheep in wolf’s clothing” to sway our faithful.

Clergy members also discussed the schedule of upcoming Great Lent Sunrise and Vesper services, and the necessity of preparing new deacons and church servants.

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PRELATE PRESIDES OVER 25TH ANNIVERSARY AND
RE-OPENING OF MONTEBELLO’S TUMANJIAN HALL

On Sunday, February 12, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello.

After the service, the Prelate presided over the 25th anniversary and grand re-opening of the newly renovated Tumanjian Hall.  The benefactor, Mr. George Tumanjian, and members of the Tumanjian family participated in the celebration and were honored during the event.  Montebello Mayor Dr. Frank Gomez and City Council member Jack Hadjinian were also in attendance.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests headed inside the hall for a reception organized by the Pastors and Board of Trustees.  Welcoming remarks were delivered by Board Chair Mrs. Goharik Gabriel.  The Prelate conveyed his blessings and commendation to the benefactor and his family.  A certificate was also presented to the Tumanjian family from the city of Montebello.

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FERRAHIAN SCHOOL 10TH GRADE STUDENTS
VISIT THE PRELACY

On the morning of Friday, February 10, 2012, Ferrahian School tenth grade students visited the Prelacy, accompanied by teachers Ara Kazanjian and Rafi Hagopian.

Upon their arrival the students were welcomed by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, Christian Education Department Co-Director Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, and Crescenta Valley Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian, and escorted to the “St. Dertad and St. Ashkhen” Chapel for a prayer service.  The Prelate welcomed the students to the Prelacy, conveyed his message to them, and concluded by blessing each of the students.

The students were then given a tour of the Prelacy building and information on the endeavors of each department, and each was presented with a prayer book published by the Prelacy.

They then gathered at the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall where a brief program took place.

On behalf of his classmates, student Haig Terterian expressed thanks and gratitude for the visit and reflected on two years ago when the students first visited the Prelacy as 8th graders.

Fr. Ghevont then spoke to the students about the meaning and message of the Feast of Vartanants, and the sacrifice and martyrdom of our Vartanants and Ghevontiants heroes.  He noted that the battle at Avarayr in 451 was the beginning of the struggle for our faith and nation, which culminated in victory in 484 with the signing of the Treaty of Nvarsag.  Fr. Ghevont highlighted that the undying spirit of the Armenian people to fight in defense of our identity remained and remains alive, and was again powerfully expressed during the battle of Sardarabad and recently during the Artsakh struggle.  He urged that our students and youth be inspired and enriched by that spirit, and fight to preserve and uphold our faith and heritage.

In his message, the Prelate expressed joy at the students’ return visit on the eve of Vartanants to the Prelacy, the center of our religious and cultural lives.  His Eminence spoke of the timeless message of Vartanants, emphasizing how Vartan Mamigonian and his companions resigned their peaceful lives and the promises made by the Persian king, choosing instead to fight and even sacrifice their lives in defense of our identity and Christian faith.  Their struggle was the greatest expression of their allegiance to our faith and nation and self sacrifice for the greater good of the collective, stated the Prelate. We too must follow the example of our Sts. Vartanank and think beyond our individual needs and wants.  Even though today’s world often leads us away from this mode of thinking, let the spirit and sacrifice of our heroes be a constant reminder that our nation and our people has endured and endures through this spirit.  In conclusion, the Prelate urged the students to be renewed with the spirit of our heroes, and pledge to follow their path as they celebrate Vartanants in the coming week.

The Prelate and Fr. Muron then led the students in the reading of some prayers from their new prayer books, and the students vowed to lead their lives with the guidance of those prayers.

The visit concluded with the Cilician and Armenian national anthems.

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