Episcopal Divine Liturgy and Blessing of Madagh on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

On Sunday, September 13, 2015 the Armenian Church celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The feast is also the name-day of Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello. Thus, on this occasion, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and conducted the blessing of madagh and basil at Holy Cross Cathedral.

Prior to his sermon, the Prelate greeted the Dean, Pastor, Holy Cross parish family and faithful, congratulating them on their name-day and commending them for their service and devotion to the Cathedral. His Eminence also conveyed his blessings to Sunday School staff and student who recommenced the new school year on that day.

The Prelate first reviewed the history behind the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. He explained that in the 7th century the sacred relic was confiscated by Persian forces fighting against Byzantium. The Armenian people provided vital assistance to Byzantium during the decades-long war. Eventually, Emperor Heraclius emerged victorious and succeeded in regaining the prized treasure. The journey of the Holy Cross from Constantinople to Jerusalem passed through Armenian lands. The Armenian people exalted at the sight of the true Cross, for they had shed their blood for its safe return.

The Armenian people stood on the side of righteousness and on the path of the Cross during that battle in the 7th century, for centuries before and centuries after, stated His Eminence. Our forefathers early on accepted the mystery of the Cross as the embodiment of the promise and hope of salvation, a living witness of victory over evil that for centuries strengthened and inspired us as individuals, as families, and collectively as a nation. They rejoiced and triumphed in the return of the Cross because they looked to the Cross as a life-giving symbol, a shield of strength, a seal of triumph against evil, and comprehended its profound significance and symbolism as the justice, wisdom, love, power, and peace of God.

The Prelate noted that the path of the Cross has not always been an easy one for our people, but we have borne our burdens faithfully and courageously, with the conviction that the Cross is the only path to redemption and to a joyful eternal life in Christ, and we can consider ourselves victorious, for the forces of evil could not take from us our faith and our identity. Our forefathers bequeathed to us a legacy of indomitable faith, love, devotion, and sacrifice, stated His Eminence, and urged the faithful to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors by looking to the Holy Cross as our greatest strength and eternal inspiration and giving ourselves in service for His glory and for the prosperity of our faith and nation.

The service of the blessing of the four corners of the earth (Antasdan) followed, after which the Prelate conducted the blessing of basil. At the conclusion of the service, the Prelate and procession headed to Bagramian Hall for the blessing of madagh. A luncheon hosted by the Ladies Guild followed.
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Welcoming remarks were delivered by Holy Cross Dean, Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, and Board of Trustees member Dr. Hagop Dikranian. The Prelate congratulated the parish family on their name-day celebration and commended all who serve for the progress of the church. The luncheon closed with Cilicia and the Armenian national anthem.

100TH ANNIVERSARY OF MUSA LER RESISTANCE The Prelate then headed to the Glendale Civic Auditorium where the Musa Ler Association of California was hosting the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Musa Ler resistance. By the ordinance of His Eminence, Very Rev. Fr. Boghos Tinkjian celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and conducted the blessing of basil. Upon his arrival, the Prelate was greeted with traditional davoul zourna music of Musa Ler. He conveyed his blessings to the descendants of Musa Ler, commending them for keeping the legacy of their ancestors alive and continuing their cherished traditions. Afterward the Prelate conducted the blessing of madagh, assisted by Fr. Boghos and Archpriest Fr. Nareg Shrikian.

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