LITTLE ARMENIA—On Sunday, January 15, in commemoration of the Feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist and the name day of St. Garabed Church of Hollywood, Western Prelate. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and conducted the blessing of madagh at St. Garabed Church. A celebratory luncheon followed at “Karapetian” Hall.
The Prelate was assisted at the altar by Parish Priest Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian and Archpriest Father Hrant Yeretzian. Among the faithful in attendance were Artsakh National Assembly member Armen Sargysan, Catholicosate Central Executive member Khajag Dikijian, ARF Western Region Central Committee Chairman Daron Der Khachadourian, Glendale City Council Member Zareh Sinanyan, representatives of the “Karekin Njdeh” Gomideh, Homenetmen, ARS, Daron Dourouperan Compatriotic Union, Raffi Romanian- Armenian Cultural Association, and Armenian Ecclesiastical Brotherhood, Church consecration Godfather Mr. Vahe Karapetian and altar benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Hagop & Haiguhi Daglian, Rose and Alex Pilibos School Principal Dr. Alina Dorian, parish Delegates, Board of Trustees members, Ladies Guild, and Sunday School members.
The Prelate greeted the parish family and prayed for the Lord to lead the faithful according to His will and to sow seeds of peace, love, and goodwill in their hearts, after which he delivered his sermon on the legacy of St. John the Baptist having as the theme the words of the designated hymn, “O St. John the Baptist, prophet sent by God, forerunner, and baptizer, be our intercessor before our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Arch. Mardirossian stated that as the precursor of Christ, St. John the Baptist was the link between the Old and New Testament. “St. John the Baptist devoted his life to Christ. He boldly preached for righteousness and the Kingdom of God, led the people on the path to salvation, and baptized them in the Jordan River. He paved the way to the eternal kingdom and became the guardian and advocate for justice and human rights. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and was exalted by God for his obedience, humility, and virtuousness,” stressed the Prelate, and invited the faithful to seek his intercession and follow in his example by living and serving with humility and devotion inspired by the Holy Spirit, and to spread God’s Light within their surroundings.
Requiem service followed, after which the Prelate conducted the blessing of madagh, beseeching healing for the sick and absolution of sins for all who partake.
The luncheon began with the blessing of tables by the Prelate, after which Fr. Vicken delivered welcoming remarks. The event featured a beautiful cultural program of religious and national songs, recitations, and instrumental music presented by Sunday School and Pilibos School students.
Each year on this occasion, the parish honors its devoted servants for their contributions to the life of the church and community. This year’s honorees were long-time parish organist Prof. Levon Abrahamian and community activist Mr. Tavit Yeretsian. Fr. Vicken presented the biography of both honorees, who were awarded plaques of appreciation by the parish. Mr. Yeretsian thanked the Prelate and St. Garabed Church Pastor and Board for the honor, after which his daughter Lara Yeretzian-Manuelian said a few words. Daron Der Khachadourian, chairman of the ARF Western US Central Committee, conveyed his remarks, in which he stressed the importance of devoted, selfless, and dutiful service.
The Prelate congratulated Yeretzian and presented a Letter of Blessing and Commendation in recognition of his service, in which he had noted, “We have known Tavit Yeretzian as an individual who has served devotedly and away from the limelight from his days in Lebanon to the present. The Armenian School and the Armenian Cause being dear to his heart, he has served and contributed valuably to the advancement of both and to our collective life as a member of a school board and of the ARF.”
The luncheon came to a close with the benediction and Cilicia.
After the church service, the Prelate met with Armen Sargsyan, who was joined by Daron Der Khachadourian, for a discussion on the current situation and in Artsakh and means of easing the challenges facing the nation. Archbishop Mardirossian affirmed the Prelacy’s commitment to the welfare of Artsakh and wished for peace and prosperity.