To mark the 55th anniversary of the establishment of the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of San Francisco, Western Prelate Bishop Torkom Donoyan celebrated Episcopal Divine Liturgy on Sunday, November 2.
Attending the Divine Liturgy were Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Ashekian, Executive Council members Dzovig Zeitlian, Garbis Bezjian, Honorary Consul of Armenia in Fresno Berj Apkarian, Central Executive member Gaidzag Zeitlian and Vahe Yacoubian and representatives of the community.
In his sermon, the Prelate said: “We thank God a thousand times that we are gathered here in this Godly house today to celebrate and glorify 55 years of this blessed house by way of this vital, life-giving service. Today, exultation belongs to the Creator. It was with his blessing that this House, which is dedicated to His glory, was built. It belongs to all those who toiled and suffered to build this church, for today, they have become dwellers in heaven. Joy belongs to those who continue to live among us and participate in the divine Christian mission of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church. It belongs to parishioners and the community—because you filled your souls with the blessing of God that emanates from this altar, from where you also obtained the oil for your spiritual house that graced our children. Joy belongs to your diligent Pastor Fr. Smpad Saboundjian, who has added new stone and brick to strengthen, enlighten and uplift this church for the past two years. Joy belongs to members of the board of trustees who consistently work to maintain a bright and radiant church—your church—our church. It belongs to all: the ladies guild, and all those entities that work alongside the board of trustees—deacons, the choir—to the group of dedicated and faithful of St. Gregory Illuminator Church.”
The prelate invited the faithful to trust our Creator, God, as the founders of the church trusted. “Today we reap the fruits of their trust, jointly celebrating the 55th anniversary of St. Gregory the Illuminator,” said the Prelate Donoyan and, in closing, congratulated the Armenian community and the St. Gregory the Illuminator family on the great milestone.
After the Divine Liturgy, the Prelate and guests gathered at Saroyan Hall at the Khachaturian Armenian Community Center where he presided over a celebration banquet on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the church’s founding and the first anniversary of his election to serve as Prelate of the Western Prelacy.
Master of Ceremonies, Deacon Levon Barsoumian, delivered opening remarks, followed by Executive Council member Garbis Bezdjian, California State Senator Scott Wiener, San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Joaquín Torres, San Francisco St. Gregory the Illuminator Board of Trustee Chair Rostom Aintablian, parish pastor Rev. Smpad Saboundjian, who congratulated the 55th anniversary of the church as well as Bishop Dononyan’s one year anniversary as Prelate.
The festive dinner celebration concluded with congratulatory remarks by H.G. Bishop Donoyan, Prelate, who commended and thanked the presence of official guests, representatives of the Western Prelacy, local community leaders and guests.
The artistic portion of the program consisted of Soloist Danielle Zaroukian’s performance of classic Armenian renditions and piano selections by Andrew Boldi.