Name Day Celebration of St. Sarkis Church in Pasadena

On Saturday, February 4, 2012, the Armenian Church celebrated the Feast of St. Sarkis and his son Mardiros. This feast is also a celebration of the name day of St. Sarkis Church in Pasadena.

On this occasion, on Sunday, February 5, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and conducted the blessing of madagh at St. Sarkis Church.

The celebrations began on the morning of Friday, February 3rd, as Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Khoren Babochian blessed the salt for the madagh, after which the Ladies Auxiliary began preparing the madagh for Sunday’s celebration. On the evening of Saturday, February 4th, eve of the feast service was held at the church.

On Sunday morning, with the singing of the “Hrashapar” hymn the Prelate was led with a procession into the Church and thus began the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Khoren and deacons assisted at the altar.

The Prelate gave thanks to God for granting the day for the community to come together to celebrate the name day of the church, congratulated and commended the Pastor, Board of Trustees, Delegates, Ladies Auxiliary, deacons and choir, members of affiliated bodies, benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Suzan Kitsinian and their family, and began his sermon.

“St. Sarkis, his son Mardiros, and the 14 martyrs have become intercessors for us throughout the centuries. They remained faithful and loyal followers of Christ and were martyred for their faith; and generations of our forefathers, heirs of our saints born within the Armenian Apostolic faith, remained faithful to our religion. For St. Sarkis, the Word of Christ was the Bread of life, and if we are to live righteously by the Bread of life, we must be very careful from the following:

First, man was condemned for the sin of our forebearers but was reborn through Christ, so we must be careful from pride that leads us to sin. Let us submit ourselves to God’s will, let us not be a judge of others, but rather place our trust in our Righteous Judge, our Lord, Who at His Second Coming will judge us accordingly.

Second, life’s experiences sometimes leads to hopelessness, which is the enemy of our faith. Our saints did not falter in the face of turmoil, but remained devoted to their faith and vows. Christ’s disciples also faced turmoil in their lives, but when they felt the presence of God and heard His voice saying, “Do not fear, it is I”, they overcame hopelessness and became great preachers. We also face challenges and temptations, but as long as we have Christ in our hearts and lives we need not worry.

Third, be careful because the enemy to salvation is in our daily lives, it leads us in many different directions. St. Sarkis remained strong and received the promise of salvation at his martyrdom. With his soul he saw the Lord and heard His voice saying, ” Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you”.

With these thoughts, we celebrate the name day of this church and on behalf of you all I beseech our saints to be our intercessors with our Lord Jesus Christ, to purify our souls so that we live, work, and collaborate graciously with one another. Let us not become a slave to sin, rather live justly and righteously with faith and love, and remain true confessors of our Lord so that we may receive His blessings. May these thoughts remain the guiding light of the spiritual journey of the children of our church, and especially our youth, so that they may live their lives with good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, and remain the worthy children of our Lord and our Church.”

At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy the Prelate conducted the blessing of madagh and presided over requiem service for the parish’s first pastor Archpriest Fr. Sarkis Antreassian, and members of the Board of Trustees, Delegates, and Ladies Auxiliary.

With the singing of the “Oorakh Ler” hymn, the Prelate was led in a procession to the entrance of the church where faithful participated in the singing of the Cilician and Pontifical anthems and received the blessed madagh.

A luncheon organized by the Pastor and Board of Trustees and hosted by the Ladies Auxiliary followed at the “Andon Andonian” Hall. Among the faithful in attendance were church benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Suzan Kitsinian, and donors. The Prelate delivered the invocation. Congratulatory remarks and well wishes were expressed by the benefactor, Board of Trustees Chair, and others. The Prelate commended and conveyed his blessings to the Pastor, Board of Trustees, and Ladies Auxiliary for their devoted service, and to the benefactors and sponsors for their continued support. The three-day festivities came to a close with the benediction by the Prelate.

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