Name Day Celebration of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in San Francsico

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, the name-day of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in San Francisco was celebrated with Episcopal Divine Liturgy and the blessing of madagh by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate. During the service, the Prelate consecrated a painting of St. Gregory the Illuminator created by parish pastor Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian and sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Varouj and Caroline Chitilian.

Prior to his sermon, the Prelate commended Fr. Barouyr on the beautiful work of art and the sponsors for their generosity and participation in our church life, and expressed hope that St. Gregory the Illuminator will, through the painting, be a living presence within the community and a lasting reminder of faithfulness, devotion, and sacrifice for the parish family to emulate. He also congratulated the new Delegates and Board of Trustees members, urging them to continue to work together with harmonious collaboration, with faith, love, sincerity, and humility.

His Eminence noted that the Feast of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Descent into the Pit is the Pilgrimage Day of the Mother Cathedral in Antelias, drawing thousands of people who gather to receive the blessings of St. Gregory the Illuminator through his relic hand. Today is a day of pilgrimage for this parish as well, and an invitation to renew and reaffirm our allegiance and service to our faith and nation in the ideal example set forth by our patron saint, stated the Prelate. His Eminence focused his sermon on the virtues of St. Gregory the Illuminator, his unyielding and unfathomable faith, hope, and will, how he endured unimaginable suffering with tremendous faith, courage, and patience, and adhered to his beliefs and convictions with absolute trust in the will and mercy of our Lord Almighty.” St. Gregory the Illuminator pushed on, for he believed with all his heart and soul that the one and only way, truth, and life is our Lord Jesus Christ. It is this same faith, belief, and conviction that has guided the Armenian people through centuries of tribulation, and what has sustained us as a nation to the present day,” stressed the Prelate, and encouraged the parish family to strive to live and serve in the example of our patron saint’s extraordinary faith, courage, and dedication, to remain strong and unshaken in our faith no matter the obstacles that come our way, and to submit ourselves fully in absolute trust to our Lord.

As the day also marked the first anniversary of the four-day war in Artsakh, requiem prayers were offered in all Prelacy Churches and the Prelate’s message on this occasion read. In his sermon, the Prelate invited the faithful to pray for the souls of our modern-day martyrs who gave their lives in defense of Artsakh. “The heroic response by our soldiers proved again and demonstrated to the aggressors that we are not defenseless; that we will not allow anyone to encroach upon our lands and our rights. In this regard, the four-day war became a symbol of our fierce resistance and allegiance to our lands and nation. We have demonstrated that our brothers and sisters in Artsakh will not surrender to threats or acts of violence, and the Armenian nation worldwide will not turn its back on our valiant soldiers and brethren safeguarding and preserving our ancient and historic lands. Armenia, Artskah, and the Diaspora are one entity, separated by distance but forever connected in spirit,” affirmed the Prelate.

At the conclusion of requiem service, His Eminence was escorted in a procession to the church courtyard where he conducted the blessing of madagh. The service concluded with Cilicia and the Armenian National Anthem. The Prelate later met with the Parish Pastor and newly elected Delegates and Board of Trustees members.

On Saturday evening, the Prelate attended a benefit banquet organized by the Armenian Cultural Foundation San Francisco Chapter featuring Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, President of the American University of Armenia, as the guest of honor and Mr. Antranig Baghdasarian, former Armenia Fund Chairman, as the keynote speaker. The Prelate conveyed his blessings and commendation to the ACF members for their valuable service and contributions to our national life.

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