Palm Sunday Celebration

On Sunday, March 24, 2013, the triumphant entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem was festively celebrated in Prelacy Churches with Divine Liturgy, the children’s procession, and the Opening of Portals service.  Churches were beautifully decorated with palm leaves while children held candles adorned with olive branches symbolizing the peace our Savior brings.

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, having returned from his trip to the Vatican and Canterbury the day before, celebrated Palm Sunday at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello.  It was the first Divine Liturgy celebrated in the Cathedral after the renovation project.  Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian assisted at the altar, and in honor of the Episcopal Divine Liturgy, one of the altar servers was Mr. David Ghoogasian, the new principal of Mesrobian School.

The Prelate began his sermon by thanking God for his safe return back to the Prelacy after participating in the inauguration of Pope Francis and the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Stating that the message of both those historic occasion was an inspiration to serve faithfully with humility, simplicity, love, and devotion, he called on the faithful to follow in the example of the two spiritual leaders and commit to continuing their dedicated service to the Armenian Apostolic Church and community with love and humility, for the glory of God and for the advancement of our nation.

Next, the Prelate reflected on the re-opening of the Cathedral after months of renovation, stating that Holy Cross has been providing spiritual nourishment to the community for three decades from this Cathedral, and that the renovation project is not just a physical overhaul but a testament to the commitment of the Parish to move forward in its mission for many more years to come.  Thus, His Eminence commended the Pastor, Board of Trustees, Delegates, and all those who were involved and contributed to the successful realization of the endeavor, especially the Tumanjian family whose benevolence made the project possible, and thanked them for their years-long unwavering support and encouragement of the parish and community.

Speaking on the feast of the triumphant entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the Prelate noted that Jesus rode into Jerusalem knowing perfectly well what the journey would entail, that He was about to face the greatest challenge in His earthly life – trial, torture, and crucifixion, but that the outcome would be the greatest triumph for mankind, His Glorious Resurrection and promise of salvation.  The inspiring lesson and message of Palm Sunday is the Truth that Easter Sunday will triumph over Good Friday, that our greatest challenges have the potential to become our greatest victories.  The New King, our Redeemer and Savior, was coming to restore the Kingdom of God, and the crowds enthusiastically greeted Him, laying down their garments in His path and waving palm branches while shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest”. Their long-awaited desire was fulfilled; the Messiah they had been waiting for had come.  It was a day to rejoice.

As they were laying down their palms and their cloaks before Jesus, they were symbolically relinquishing control, submitting themselves to Him in obedience.  And that is what we are called to do today; to lay down our cloaks before Jesus, lay down our ideas and thoughts, trust not in our own understanding of Him and His purpose for us, but rather open the portals of our hearts and souls to Him and surrender to His will for our lives, whatever it may be.  Jesus came that we may have life, and have it abundantly. We are restored to God when we are freed from sin and live the lives that God has called us to live.
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  Only then will our eyes be opened to the promised salvation Christ brings, said the Prelate.

The children’s procession took place at the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, led by the Prelate and comprised of Sunday School students and faithful children.  The procession circled the courtyard and returned to the Cathedral, upon which began the Opening of the Portals service conducted by the Prelate.  This year’s godfather was Anthony Guldalian, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chris Guldalian.

The Palm Sunday celebration continued with a luncheon at “Bagramian” Hall, organized by the Parish Ladies Guild and the local ARS “Ani” Chapter.  Among the guests were benefactor Mr. George Tumanjian with his family and representatives of sister organizations.  During the luncheon, guests enjoyed a musical performance by a group of Mesrobian School students.

Opening remarks were delivered by Ladies Guild Chair Mrs. Elizabeth Khanjian.  The Prelate delivered the invocation and blessed the tables.  Remarks were also conveyed by ARS “Ani” Chapter Chair Mrs. Nevart Mouradian, Mesrobian School principal Mr. David Ghoogasian, both of whom stressed the value of collaboration between the Church, School, and sister organizations.

Holy Cross Cathedral Board of Trustees Chair Mrs. Goharik Gabriel gave an overview of the renovation project, and on behalf of the parish community thanked the Tumanjian family for their sponsorship of the project, and especially Michael Tumanjian who supervised the endeavor.  She then invited him to share his thoughts on this occasion.

Mr. Tumanjian expressed that it was a blessing and honor for him to be able to oversee the renovation project, thanked his father George for sponsoring the expenses, and his son Micky for his active involvement in the project.  The guests expressed their appreciation to the Tumanjian family with their loud applause.

Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian also offered his word of thanks and congratulation to the benefactor and to the Holy Cross Cathedral family on the successful realization of this endeavor.

The Prelate commended Mr. George Tumanjian for his latest generosity and for this unwavering support to Holy Cross Cathedral throughout the years, and commended Mr. Michael Tumanjian for ably overseeing the project over the past three months and ensuring its timely completion by Palm Sunday.  At the conclusion of the luncheon, guests approached the Tumanjian family to personally convey their appreciation to the family.

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