Holy Martyrs Church of Encino Celebrates 53rd Anniversary

This year marked the 53rd anniversary of the consecration of Holy Martyrs Church of Encino. This joyous occasion was celebrated with Episcopal Divine Liturgy and the blessing of madagh on Sunday, October 30, 2016, and a banquet held on Friday, October 28. Both events were held under the auspices of and with the presence of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate.

On Sunday morning, the Prelate celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at Holy Martyrs Church. Parish Pastor Archpriest Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian and deacons assisted at the altar. In attendance were Executive Council member Mr. Vahe Hovaguimian, parish delegates and board members, Ferrahian School Principal Sossi Shanlian and the ninth grade class, Sunday School Director Mrs. Seta Kejejian and students, members of sister organizations, and hundreds of faithful.

The Prelate began his message by congratulating the parish family, then greeted the honored guests and faithful and blessed the Sunday School and Ferrahian School students. His Eminence noted that the anniversary celebration is an opportunity to pay tribute to the founders who established the church with faith and vision, and to reaffirm our commitment to continuing their work. The Prelate then delivered the sermon on the day’s Gospel reading from Luke 8:17-21, the Parable of the Revealed Light, with special emphasis on verse 18 which states, “take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”

The Prelate stated that the Light is God’s Word, and all who hear have a responsibility to act accordingly. If we hear with faith and truly comprehend, His Word will guide us on the right path and we will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. But if His Word goes in one ear and out the other, we will be like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. His Eminence emphasized that our forefathers established our church with faith and on solid foundation, and they kept that faith and endured throughout the most difficult periods of our history.
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We must follow in their example and express our faith with works too, he stated. Speaking on verse 21 from the same passage, where Jesus clearly states “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it,” the Prelate noted that we are all God’s children, and if we accept Him as our Father and hear His Word, then we are all brothers and sisters, and urged all to always beseech the Lord’s wisdom and guidance and make righteousness, faith, hope, love, and sincerity the guiding force of our service.

Later in the service, Fr. Razmig thanked the Prelate for joining the parish family in the celebration and for his leadership, guidance, and support over the past twenty years. Fr. Razmig also thanked the madagh and altar flower sponsors for their support.

During requiem service, prayers were offered for all church servants, including previous pastors, delegates, board members, Ladies’ Guild members, altar servers, and choir members. The blessing of madagh was conducted during the requiem service.
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The service concluded with “Cilicia.”

BANQUET The 53rd anniversary banquet was held at “Avedissian” Hall on the evening of Friday, October 28. The banquet was organized by the Parish Pastor, Board of Trustees, Ladies’ Guild, and 53rd Anniversary Committee, and was hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Krekor and Shakeh Tchakian and Mr. Koko Polosajian.

The program began with welcoming remarks by Board of Trustees member and MC Mr. Greg Martyan, who stated that Holy Martyrs Church is the foundation of the San Fernando Valley, is considered a second home, and is a blessing to the community. Mr. Martayan also thanked the Prelate for his leadership and for offering the parish the privilege of hosting the Pontifical Divine Liturgy of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I a few weeks prior.

Fr. Razmig blessed the tables, after which he greeted and thanked the Prelate and guests, among them Executive Council Chair Mr. Vahe Hovaguimian, Ferrahian School members, members of sister organizations, and sponsors. Fr. Razmig stated that Holy Martyrs Church has been able to provide spiritual nourishment to the community for 53 years owing to its devoted servants, and highly commended all those who continue the vision and work of the founders.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Chairman Mr. Levon Arabian thanked the guests for joining in the celebration and all those who serve for the progress of the Church, stating that their presence is a testament that the work started 53 years prior continues and will endure. He concluded by thanking the Prelate for his continued guidance and support and Fr. Razmig for 18 years of dedicated service to the parish.

The Prelate delivered his congratulatory message and blessings to the parish family. His Eminence began by stating that anniversaries allow us the unique opportunity to reflect on past endeavors, to honor the work of the founders, and to pledge to serve in their example to keep their vision alive and the foundation they set strong. The founders served with vision, faith, and hope, with the awareness that “if God is with us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31), stated the Prelate. “God was with the founders and he is with us today guiding our path as we strive to keep their dream alive. We feel God’s presence when we serve with love and faith for the progress of our church,” said His Eminence. The Prelate reflected on verse 5 from 2 Corinthians 13:5, the Gospel reading on the day of the Pontifical Divine Liturgy, which urges to “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” Anniversaries are also opportunities to examine ourselves, to ask ourselves if we have the same faith as our forefathers and if we are serving with the same faith and vision, stated the Prelate, and concluded by once again congratulating the parish and commending all who contribute to the advancement of the church. The Prelate blessed and commended the evening’s hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Tchakian and Mr. Polosajian, and presented a plaque of appreciation on behalf of the parish.

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