Fr. Karekin Bedourian Celebrates First Divine Liturgy as Pastor of Forty Martyrs Church


On Sunday, July 7, 2013, the Armenian Church celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord with Divine Liturgy and sermons exalting one of the greatest events in the life of Jesus Christ.  At Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County, the atmosphere this year was even more festive with the celebration of the first Divine Liturgy by new parish pastor Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian.

The Church was filled to capacity as faithful had gathered to hear and meet their new pastor, who begun his service on July 1st.  The service was presided over by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate.  In attendance were past parish pastor Archpriest Fr. Hrant Yeretzian, current pastor Archpriest Fr. Nareg Pehlivanian, Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian, Executive Council members Mr. Vahan Bezdikian, Dr. Navasart Kazazian, and Dr. Dikran Babikian, delegates, parish representatives and members of sister organizations.

Prior to Fr. Karekin’s first sermon, the Prelate addressed the congregation, reflecting on the special meaning of the Feast of Transfiguration in his pastoral life.  The Prelate noted that 37 years earlier, on the Feast of Transfiguration, he celebrated his first Divine Liturgy as a newly ordained priest, and 16 years earlier, again on the same Feast, he celebrated his first Divine Liturgy at Forty Martyrs Church after his ordination as Bishop.  His Eminence wished for the meaning of the Transfiguration of our Lord to inspire and encourage Fr. Karekin in his new ministry and lead him to serve with goodness and a transfigured spirit.

The Prelate then formally introduced Fr. Karekin to the parish, and urged the community to work together in harmony with their new pastor for the advancement and success of the church.  In conclusion, the Prelate commended the service of Archpriest Fathers Nareg Pehlivanian and Hrant Yeretzian.

Fr. Karekin greeted his new flock, and thanked the Prelate, Religious and Executive Councils, and the local Board of Trustees for the opportunity to serve at Forty Martyrs Chruch, and expressed hope for the endeavors of the community to progress with collaborative efforts.  Speaking on the Feast of Transfiguration, Fr. Karekin urged the faithful to live our earthly lives in a God-pleasing manner and to become renewed and brightened in spirit, inspired by the day’s message.

At the end of the service, a reception was hosted by the Board of Trustees and Ladies Auxiliary for the community to become more closely acquainted with Fr. Karekin and Yeretsgin Sevan.

The reception began with the invocation by the Prelate, who when invited Archpriest Fr. Nareg Pehlivanian to deliver his remarks, noting that the Feast of Transfiguration has special meaning to Fr. Nareg as well, for 27 years ago he was ordained a priest on this feast day.

Fr. Nareg welcomed Fr. Karekin, wishing him success and expressing readiness to assist him as he begins his new mission.

Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Hagop Badolian also welcomed Fr. Karekin, extending well wishes and expressing the readiness of the Board of Trustees to work together with him for the progress of the community.

Ladies Auxiliary Chair Mrs. Zaroug Der Tavitian congratulated Fr. Karekin on his appointment and wished him success.

Alongside conveying well wishes, Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian stated that as a young pastor, there are great expectations of Fr. Karekin to bring youth to the Church and draw them closer to our community life.  She also invited the parish community of Board, Delegates, and faithful alike to work with the new pastor with harmony and mutual respect, for the splendor of the parish.

The Prelate began his message by presenting Fr. Karekin’s educational and ministerial background, from the Seminary of the Catholicosate of Cilicia to Boston, where he received his higher education.  Speaking from experience as a former pastor at Forty Martyrs Church, the Prelate spoke of the community’s spiritual needs and the importance of sister organizations working together and actively participating and contributing to the welfare of the community.  Addressing Fr. Karekin, the Prelate advised him to always remain faithful to the principles and traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church in his leadership of his flock, and to prioritize endeavors which will have a positive effect on the community.

Fr. Karekin expressed gratitude for his new mission, and expressed assurance that Forty Martyrs Church and parish community will progress with the Lord’s guidance, with a collaborative spirit, and with faith and optimism.  He invited younger generations to become active participants in our national life and conveyed willingness to work with everyone in the community.

The reception came to a close with the benediction by the Prelate and the Cilician anthem, after which guests had the opportunity to meet and welcome their new pastor and his family.

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