Ordination of Acolytes and Stole-Bearer at Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County

On Sunday, June 19, 2016, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy and conducted the ordination of acolytes at Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County. It was an auspicious coincidence that the ordinations took place on Father’s Day, which also coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Prelate’s ordination into the priesthood. Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian assisted at the altar. In attendance were Delegates, Board of Trustees members, sponsors, and faithful.

Prior to the ordination, Fr. Karekin thanked His Eminence for celebrating Divine Liturgy at the parish on Father’s Day and congratulated him on his re-election to a 6th consecutive term as Prelate as well as on his 40th anniversary of his ordination.

The candidates for ordination were Zareh Geloian, Michael Dwyer, Avo Movsesian, Nareg Dishoian, Jirayr Jenanian, and Christopher Raheb. Fr. Karekin brought forth the candidates towards the Holy Altar with the reading of Psalm 121. Kneeling before the Prelate on the altar, the six young men were bestowed the four ranks of acolyte as His Eminence beseeched the Lord to cleanse them, fill them with the Holy Spirit, to open their eyes to live with spiritual wisdom, and to pour His grace upon them as they enter into His service. His Eminence also bestowed upon Zareh Geloian the privilege of wearing a stole.

The Prelate then delivered his sermon, which he began by thanking the pastor and parish family for their well wishes and praised God for his calling into the Cilician Brotherhood, adding that he was glad that he was celebrating his 40th anniversary at the Orange County community where he had served as dean decades before. The Prelate also congratulated and commended the newly ordained acolytes as well as the parish family, stating that it brings joy and pride to all whenever our younger generations especially become involved in the life of our church.

His Eminence noted that we have retained our religious and national identity for centuries, amid great adversity, because generation after generation fought to keep our heritage alive by passing them along to the younger generations, and that the desire of the new acolytes and those like them to serve our church gives hope that we will persevere. The Prelate urged the new acolytes to serve the holy altar with faith, love, devotion, and purity of heart, and prayed for the Lord to bless and guide them in their service to Him and to the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Next, the Prelate conveyed his blessings and well wishes to all the fathers on the occasion of Father’s Day. He spoke about the great privilege and responsibilities of fatherhood, stressing that fathers are not to be merely providers but rather teachers, role models, and an inspiration to their children, to nurture their spiritual development by educating and instructing them in the way and word of our Lord and by setting a good example.

The Prelate then reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from Matthew 13:24-30, the Parable of the Tares, which tells of two groups of people, the good and the evil, who coexist on this earth but will be separated in the kingdom of heaven. The Prelate stated that we are not born into either group; rather we are given free will to choose which path to take. “Jesus Christ will one day establish true righteousness and His true followers will dwell with Him,” said His Eminence, and invited the faithful to receive that glorious promise by planting and cultivating the good seed of Christ deep in their hearts and not being swayed by the weeds of the world.

Following the service, the Prelate presided over a Father’s Day luncheon at “Ghazarian” Hall of the Harut Barsamian Armenian Center, which was organized by the parish Ladies Guild.

Fr. Karekin delivered the opening remarks and once again thanked the Prelate for his presence and congratulated him on this special occasion. Delegates Mr. Garo Agopian and Mr. Herair Jermakian conveyed their heartfelt wishes and congratulatory remarks to the Prelate on the occasion of his re-election and 40th anniversary of ordination into the priesthood. Delegate Mr. Sarkis Yegenian also congratulated the Prelate and made donations to the parish and the Prelacy on the joyous occasion. Sunday School and Ari Guiragos Minassian School students presented a cultural program. Later on, the parish pastor and Board of Trustees presented the Prelate with a khachkar memento in honor of his 40th anniversary of ordination and invited His Eminence to cut the anniversary cake.

The Prelate once again thanked the organizers, and spoke about the good memories he has from his time as dean of the parish. He also urged the faithful to keep and cultivate the spirit of sincere cooperation alive within the community. The event came to a close with the benediction and “Cilicia.
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