Centennial of the First Republic of Armenia Celebrated Within the Western Prelacy

On Sunday, May 27, 2018, the centennial of the first Republic of Armenia was ceremoniously celebrated in all Prelacy Churches with Thanksgiving Prayers for the Republic and blessing of the Armenian flag. During requiem service, prayers were offered for the martyrs of Sardarabad, Pash Abaran, Gharakilise, and for all the heroes who have given their lives in defense of our nation. In addition, “Der Voghormya” prayers were offered for patients of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy, conducted the special ceremonies, delivered his message, and presided over requiem service at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino. Archpriest Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian and deacons assisted at the altar. Congressman Brad Sherman, 45th State Assembly District candidate Jesse Gabriel, ARF Western Region Central Committee Political Chair Mr. Avedik Izmirlian, Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry President Dr. Frieda Jordan and members, representatives of the ARF “Rostom” and “Arshavir Shiragian” Gomidehs, ANCA West San Fernando Valley Chapter, ARS “Anahid” Chapter, Ferrahian School 9th grade students, Church Delegates, Board of Trustees members, and a large number of faithful were in attendance.

The Thanksgiving Prayer ceremony began with Homenetmen “Massis” Chapter scouts carrying the flags of the United States and Armenia to the altar as the choir sang the hymn “Oorakh Ler.” The ceremony featured prayers of thanksgiving for the resurrection of our nation and beseeching the Lord to guard and protect the Republic of Armenia, our Holy Church, leadership, armed forces, and citizenry, and to remember all the martyrs who gave their lives for the preservation of our nation. Afterward, the Prelate blessed the tricolor flag and delivered his message.

His Eminence first greeted the special guests and thanked them for sharing in the celebration of the centennial. After briefly explaining the ceremony that was just conducted, the Prelate Spoke of the Armenian people’s indomitable will and fighting spirit throughout our history, stating, “On May 28, 1918, during the darkest days of our history a mere three years into the Armenian Genocide, that fighting spirit brought about one of the brightest days of our history, the creation of the first Republic of Armenia. Inspired by that triumphant spirit and enduring legacy of the founders of the first Republic, just over 25 years ago the Armenian people fought for and secured the re-independence of Armenia and the liberation of Artsakh. And in recent weeks, we witnessed that trademark perseverant spirit once again as a new and bright chapter was opened in the form of a free, independent, and just Armenia.” Given that the following day was Memorial Day, the Prelate paid tribute to the brave men and women in uniform who gave their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties we enjoy every day and prayed for the Lord to grant rest to the souls of all our heroes and safeguard the armed forces of the United States, Armenia, and Artsakh.

During “Der Voghormya,” prayers of healing were offered for all those seeking treatment from the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry and for the Lord to guide the members in their life-saving mission. Later on, requiem prayers were offered for the souls of all our martyrs.

At the conclusion of the service, Congressman Brad Sherman and Dr. Frieda Jordan addressed the congregation. Congressman Sherman thanked the Prelate for the special day and stated that it was an honor to be with the community on this occasion. He noted that as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the past twenty-two years he has fought for recognition of the Armenian Genocide and increased aid to Armenia, and thanked Holy Martyrs Church for all that it does for the community. Dr. Jordan thanked the Prelate for the special prayer each year and for the opportunity for the organization to let the people know about its mission, which she stated is a global mission spanning 28 countries and helping Armenians as well as non-Armenians.

The service concluded with “Cilicia.”

On the same day, H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Vicar General, celebrated Divine Liturgy, conducted Thanksgiving Prayers for the Republic and the blessing of the Armenian flag, and delivered the sermon at St. Garabed Church in Hollywood.

A reception followed at “Yeghia Sarafian” Hall. Welcoming remarks were delivered by ANCA West San Fernando Valley Chairman Mr. Garo Kamarian. The Prelate once again welcomed Congressman Brad Sherman and Assembly candidate Jesse Gabriel, wishing them both success in their current and future endeavors. Mr. Kamarian introduced the special guests. Congressman Sherman discussed his efforts in support of Armenia and presented a flag to the Church. On behalf of the City of Los Angeles, District 5 Chief Deputy of Public Safety Mr. Greg Martayan presented certificates to Fr. Razmig and the Board of Trustees.
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In the afternoon, the Sunday School’s year-end reception was held at “Dikranian” Hall under the auspices and with the presence of the Prelate. The program began with the Armenian national anthem and Sunday School anthem presented by the students. Fr. Razmig delivered the invocation. Welcoming remarks were delivered by the MC, Gassig Kejejian, who also gave a brief overview of the church’s role in the battle for independence in 1918 and stated that the day’s program was dedicated to the centennial to honor the memory of our forefathers and celebrate our faith, culture, and homeland. The students presented a play dedicated to the centennial. On behalf of the Sunday School faculty and parent-support committee, Director Mrs. Seta Kejejian thanked the Prelate for his presence and wished him continued success in his mission. Noting that the children are the future of our church and nation, she thanked the teachers for their dedicated service, the Parish Pastor and Board of Trustees for their moral and financial support, the parent-support committee for their service, and the parents for trusting the instruction of their children to the Sunday School. She commended all the students for their efforts and congratulated the graduating students.

The Prelate, joined by Fr. Razmig, Mrs. Kejejian, and Board of Trustees member Mr. Khatchig Hairabedian, presented diplomas to the four graduates, after which he delivered his message. His Eminence fondly recalled his own time as a Sunday School student from the age of four and the influence it had on his life leading him to where he is today. He commended the Director, faculty, parents, and the church family for serving together with faith, love, sacrifice, and devotion. Addressing the students, he stated, “whatever you receive from your parents and teachers, know the value and appreciate it. Inspired by our forefathers’ spirit of courage, zeal, and determination, become our capable leaders of tomorrow.” The Prelate concluded by congratulating the graduates and expressing his pride toward all.

An intimate luncheon followed in a family atmosphere.

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