Newly Ordained Rev. Fr. Movses Shannakian Celebrates First Divine Liturgy

On Sunday, August 27, 2017, at Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County, newly ordained Rev. Fr. Movses Shannakian celebrated his first Divine Liturgy, delivered his first sermon, and pledged to serve our church and faithful with faith and devotion. H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy, and was joined by Very Rev. Fr. Torkom Donoyan, Vicar General, and Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian, Forty Martyrs Church Parish Pastor. In attendance were Executive Council Chair and Vice-Chair Mr. Vahe Hovaguimian and Mr. Garo Eshgian, along with their wives, parish delegates and board members, representatives of sister organizations, Mrs. Zarouhie Kurkjian, matriarch of the Kurkjian family who served as Fr. Movses’ Godfather, and members of Fr. Movses’ family.

Divine Liturgy began at the conclusion of morning service. The Prelate addressed the congregation prior to the sermon. His Eminence greeted the faithful and noted that the Forty Martyrs Church community is fortunate to be the site of many memorable ceremonies and ordinations, including his elevation to the rank of Supreme Archimandrite thirty years prior. The Prelate then gave an overview of Fr. Movses’ service thus far, stating with gladness that Fr. Movses has been dedicated to our church from an early age, has served as a deacon, received higher education, was ordained to the priesthood on the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ nearly 40 days prior at St. Mary’s Church in Glendale, and completed his 40 days of solitude at the Western Prelacy. Fr. Movses will continue to teach religion classes at Prelacy Schools and serve within the Prelacy Christian Education Department, and in due time will have parish responsibilities as well. His Eminence wished Fr. Movses fruitful service, prayed that he always remain “a laborer in the vineyard of our Lord who does not need to be ashamed,” and invited him to deliver the sermon.

Fr. Movses began by giving thanks to God for blessing him with the opportunity to serve our church and people through the calling of the priesthood. He expressed thanks to the Prelate for his guidance over the past five years and especially in preparation for his ordination. He thanked also the clergy who assisted in his training during his time of solitude.

Fr. Movses then delivered his sermon on the day’s Gospel reading from Mark 4:35-41, which tells of the wind and waves obeying Jesus, focusing on verse 40 in which Jesus says to His disciples, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” These words of our Lord apply to us all, remind us to place our absolute trust in Him and to never be afraid, for He is with us always, as He was with His disciples in the middle of the storm, stated Fr. Movses. And just as Jesus responded to the disciples’ pleas and stilled the storm, He is beside us as we strive to overcome storms in our lives as well, he said. Noting that after every storm comes calm and peace, Fr. Movses stressed that as faithful Christians we must trust in our Lord Jesus Christ in all circumstances for He is the Prince of Peace and will guide us to calm. Fr. Movses concluded his sermon by praying for the Prince of Peace to grant peace to all, to strengthen our faith, and help us overcome the doubts that lead to storms in our lives.

Later in the service, on behalf of the parish community Fr. Karekin greeted the Prelate, thanked him for selecting Forty Martyrs Church to hold Fr. Movses’ first Divine Liturgy, and wished Fr. Movses success in his service.

Following the service, a luncheon hosted by the parish Board of Trustees and Ladies Guild was held at the “Julian and Aleen Movsesian Center.” Congratulatory remarks were delivered by the Prelate, Vicar General, Executive Council Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees Chair, and the Godfather family. Fr. Movses expressed his gratitude to all and reaffirmed his vow of service.

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