First Episcopal Visit to St. Garabed Church of Las Vegas – “Rev. Fr. Artsakh, in Honor of Armenian Artsakh” Stated the Prelate

On Saturday, January 23, 2021, H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Prelate, departed to Las Vegas with members of the Western Prelacy Religious Council chair Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, and members Very Rev. Fr. Smpad Saboundjian, Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian and Rev. Fr. Movses Shannakian. Also members of the Executive Council, Deacon Berj Apkarian, Mrs. Dzovig Zetlian and member of the Central Executive Council, Mr. Gaidzag Zetlian accompanied the Prelate.

The Prelate performed an evening service at St. Garabed Church, during which he conducted Deacon Sevag Badoyan’s “Calling service to the Priesthood” ceremony at 5pm, which was followed by a meeting with local delegates, Board of Trustee members and benefactors of the Church, where various topics related to the parish were discussed. During the Calling service, Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian and Very Rev. Fr. Smpad Saboundjian led Deacon Badoyan from the entrance of the church towards the Holy Altar; where the Calling ceremony continued. Deacon Badoyan rebuked all heretics and the doctrines that deviate from the true faith of the church, and then reaffirming his allegiance to the Orthodox Church and the rules established by the Church fathers.

On Sunday, January 24, 2021, on the occasion of the name-day of St. Garabed Church, H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan conducted his first Divine Liturgy as Prelate of the Western Prelacy. Following the “Zi Voghormadz” prayer, Deacon Sevag Badoyan ascended the Holy Altar with Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian and Very Rev. Fr. Smpad Saboundjian, where he was invited to take charge of bearing the “sweet yoke” of Christ.

After the ordination ceremony, while singing the “Gentanarar” hymn, Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian raised the “Muronatap Aghavni” (dove) in a procession towards the Holy Altar and handed it over to the Prelate to anoint the forehead and hands of the newly ordained priest, renaming him as Rev. Fr. Artsakh Badoyan, in honor of both His Holiness Aram I., Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia’s declaration (The Year of Artsakh,) and for our mother land Artsakh.

The Prelate then delivered his sermon to the faithful in attendance, which included representatives from other Christian Churches, local Armenian organizations, and to those watching on the Western Prelacy Facebook page. He noted, “A spiritual joy has filled everyone’s hearts, and that joy does not come from this world, but radiates from heaven. Whenever the faithful are present during the Divine Liturgy and an ordination, they receive the divine blessings of heaven, and that is why at that moment everyone’s heart beats differently, uniting ours with the Creators.

Speaking about the “Year of Artsakh”, the Prelate stated, “When H.H. Aram I. declared 2021 as the “Year of Artsakh,” a new hope arose in our lives, and the divine light radiated with a different force in our souls. That is why we are invited not to despair, but, on the contrary, to look at life with hope, with the faith and conviction that God is with us. And if the Lord be with us, who can be against us? He also stressed that he designated a special delegation from the Western Prelacy to attend this ordination in the state of Nevada.”

He then spoke directly to the newly ordained priest, saying; “You are invited to observe this day as the most important day of your life, because the Divine attention is on you today and under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you have become a new person. You should have one goal in your life; the goal of Christian service to the children of God.” Thereafter, the Prelate invited the faithful to stand and sing the “Kiss of peace” hymn, as a response to the mystery of the day which will resonate from St. Garabed Church to Mother Armenia and Artsakh.

At the end of the ceremony, the Prelate along with the newly ordained priest Rev. Fr. Artsakh Badoyan, his godmother Mrs. Arda Yemenidjian, and his godfather Mr. Hagop Koujakian, received congratulations from the faithful in attendance.

On the occasion of the Prelate’s the First Divine Liturgy at St. Garabed Church of Las Vegas, Honorary Consul Adroushan Armenian and his wife Mrs. Nora Armenian, as well as Nora’s mother, Mrs. Arpy Koutnouyan expressed their heartfelt wishes to the Prelate and made a $10,000 donation ($5,000 to the Western Prelacy and $5,000 to the programs of St. Garabed Church.)

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