Feast of Ascension Celebrated within the Prelacy

On Thursday, May 17, 2012, the Feast of Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ was celebrated within the Prelacy with Divine Liturgy and the traditional Ladies Auxiliary luncheon. The Feast of Ascension, celebrated 40 days after the Resurrection, is fundamental in the Christian faith, and the Armenian Apostolic Church has its unique traditions for celebrating this Feast.

The festivities began in the morning with Divine Liturgy at St. Mary’s Church in Glendale presided over by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and celebrated by Rev. Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian, who also delivered the sermon. Clergy members participated in the service. Consul General of Armenia, the honorable Grigor Hovhannissian, attended both the service and the luncheon.

In his sermon, Fr. Razmig referred to biblical passages telling how Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and sat at the right side of the Father. He noted that after the Resurrection Jesus, had appeared to His disciples many times and had commanded them to be the preachers of His good news. The last appearance was on the day of Ascension, on the Olive Mount, where Jesus once more commanded His apostles, telling them that just as the Father sent Him, He was now sending them to go out and preach His gospel to all the peoples of the world. And whoever believed and was baptized in the faith would receive salvation, while the non-believers would be condemned. Jesus also promised that He would be with them and with all His followers until the end of time, and added that His disciples would be inspired by the Holy Spirit and only to start their mission after receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Speaking of the unique traditions of the Armenian people relating to the Feast of the Ascension, Fr. Razmig noted that the drawing of lots has a biblical basis, as it was through this means that the apostles chose Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot. He then invited and urged the faithful to incorporate the life-giving messages of Jesus Christ in their daily lives, saying “Jesus was sent to this earth and He ascended from this earth to save mankind. This is the greatest promise of the Gospels. We must glorify Him by heeding His commandments and living God-pleasing lives so that we too may be worthy of His eternal kingdom. As faithful believers and followers of Christ, let us kneel before Him, vowing to continue to serve Him and fulfill our duties for the splendor of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian people”, concluded the Prelate.

The luncheon followed at Brandview Ballroom in Glendale, under the auspices of and with the attendnace of the Prelate. This year’s luncheon was hosted by Mrs. Nora Bezdikian, Mrs. Satig Der Ohanessian, Mrs. Maro Fermanian, and Mrs. Mirna Kacharian. Ladies Auxiliary member Mrs. Hourig Abdoulian served as the Master of Ceremonies

Deacon Khatchig Shannakian, who next month will be ordained a priest, was then invited to speak about the history and traditions associated with the Feast of the Ascension. He referred to events of the Holy Resurrection and Ascension and their significance in our lives today, concluding by mentioning the traditions and ceremonies of the Feast of Ascension within the Armenian culture.

In his remarks, the Prelate spoke of the significance and meaning of the Feast of Ascension then commended the Ladies Auxiliary and all those who contribute to the preservation of our culture and traditions. His Eminence also thanked and commended the luncheon sponsors for their financial support, noting that their sponsorship of the luncheon is a demonstration of their encouragement and faith in the mission of the Prelacy. In conclusion, the Prelate commended Deacon Khatchig for his presentation.

The luncheon continued with a cultural program including a performance by singer Gagik Badalyan. Guests also joined in the singing of Ascension songs and participated in the drawing of lots.

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