Feast of the Transfiguration Celebration at St. Sarkis Church in Pasadena

On Sunday, July 8, 2018 the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, also known as Vartavar, was celebrated throughout Prelacy Churches. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at St. Sarkis Church in Pasadena. H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Vicar General, celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at the Crescenta Valley parish.

The Prelate was assisted at the altar by Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Boghos Baltayan and deacons. Among the faithful in attendance were Executive Council member Mr. Avo Kechichian and church benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Suzan Kitsinian.

The Prelate began by giving thanks for the opportunity to once again collectively celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord, believing, hoping, and praying that the day’s message will transform and better our lives. His Eminence stated that the Feast of the Transfiguration has special meaning for him as he fondly recalled the first Divine Liturgy he celebrated upon his ordination to the priesthood on the Feast of Transfiguration forty-two years ago. With sentiments of spiritual renewal and transformation he greeted the parish family, Executive Council member, benefactors, and faithful, conveying his blessings to all.

With the following verse from the day’s hymn, “Lord, we beseech You to lift us up higher than Mt. Tabor to arrive at Your heavenly and luminous altar,” the Prelate began his sermon. His Eminence reflected on the account of the transfiguration on Mount Tabor, during which Jesus’ divine nature was revealed along with His human nature by the grace of God and through the Holy Spirit, with the hope and wish that the faithful seek and feel the Lord’s presence within them. Next, he spoke on how certain traditions are associated with our various feasts, explaining that during our national conversion to Christianity St. Gregory the Illuminator combined pre-Christian traditions with new traditions. Thus, on this day we spray water on one another, release doves, and distribute roses, which are associated with the feast of the pagan goddess Astghik, but water symbolizes cleansing and purification, and doves the presence of the Holy Spirit, just as during the great flood as the water levels rose and separated man from God, the dove with an olive branch returned as a symbol of God’s grace peace, bringing enlightenment and cleansing, said the Prelate.

“Today is a day of enlightenment, of cleansing, purification, and resplendence which we can achieve when we see and feel the Lord’s presence in our lives by climbing our own Mount Tabor, that is by cleansing our spirits and walking the path that leads to salvation and unity with the Lord; when we are endowed with the grace of our Lord and the fruits of the Holy Spirit through incessant prayer and communion with God; and when we recognize and accept that Jesus Christ is Lord and master of life and death and savior of the world. Thus, the Feast of the Transfiguration is an invitation for us all to beseech the Lord to raise us to the heights of His luminous altar where we will find light, hope, and love in the presence of our Lord,” concluded the Prelate.

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