Parliamentarian Garo Paylan attends Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello

On Sunday, September 25, 2016, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello. Divine Liturgy was celebrated by parish dean, Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian. Garo Paylan, Armenian member of Turkish Parliament and founder of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, attended the service.
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Mr. Paylan was invited by Armenian-American organizations to address the topic “Geopolitics and Minorities: The Case of Turkey.” Over the weekend, the community had the opportunity to hear Mr. Paylan at a number of events, including an academic conference at Woodbury University in Burbank, dinner and public forum at Avedissian Hall of Ferrahian High School in Encino, and a community town hall at Krikor and Mariam Karamanoukian Youth Center in Glendale.

Executive Council members Antranik Kasbarian and Therese Kemanjian, ARF Central Committee member Daron Der Khatchadourian, members of the local “Tro” Gomideh, Holy Cross Cathedral parish family, Organizations of Istanbul Armenians, Armenian Bar Association, and sister organizations were in attendance.

The Prelate began his message by greeting the Holy Cross Cathedral family and the honored guest Mr. Paylan, who he referred to as “an honorable compatriot, distinguished politician, and a bold champion of human rights.” Addressing Mr. Paylan, His Eminence stated, “in just over a year, you have made a name for yourself as the voice for embattled minorities in Turkey and for recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Even amid backlash and threats to your safety, you have held your ground and stood firm in the pursuit of freedom, equality, and justice, not just for Armenians, but for all minorities in Turkey, and for that, we bless and commend you.”

The Prelate reflected on the 25th anniversary of the Republic of Armenia celebrated earlier in the week, noting that Prayers for the Republic are offered annually in all Prelacy Churches on May 28. His Eminence stated that the anniversary was a cause of celebration but also an opportunity to collectively evaluate the state of our nation and recommit ourselves to doing our part for a stronger and more prosperous Armenia. He also touched upon the forthcoming visit of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, and urged the faithful to join in our Pontiff’s 20th anniversary celebration of enthronement, to hear and be inspired by his rousing messages, to reaffirm our allegiance to the Holy See of Cilicia, and our commitment to the pursuit of our rights in the ideal example of our bold leader and in the footsteps of brave compatriots like Garo Paylan.

His Eminence then delivered his sermon on the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak and expounded on the inspiring message of the Feast, which highlights the power of prayer. The hermits prayed to see the fragment of the True Cross with a pure heart and with genuine faith; and they did so because they truly revered the Holy Cross as the greatest representation of God’s profound love and sacrifice for us, as the promise of the hope of redemption and salvation They kept praying, even when their prayers went unanswered, fully believing that their request would one day be fulfilled, as it was, stated the Prelate. “May we be inspired by the faith of the hermits and by the faith of all those who traveled from afar for a glimpse of the Holy Cross. May we learn from their example to pray with pure hearts and intentions, and to be persistent and patient in our prayers, placing our full trust and faith in the will of our Lord. And may we truly comprehend and embrace the sacrifice on the Cross as God’s extraordinary symbol of commitment to us all for all eternity,” said His Eminence, and concluded by praying for God to bless and protect Garo Paylan in his quest for truth, equality, and justice, and to bless the Armenian people worldwide, leading us to work together in the spirit of brotherly love and unity for the prosperity of our homeland.

At the conclusion of the service, Mr. Paylan and faithful received Holy Communion by the Prelate.

The honored guest, community leaders and members then gathered at “Tumanjan” Hall for a luncheon. Mesrobian School students were in attendance and had the opportunity to address questions to Mr. Paylan. The Prelate delivered the invocation and once again welcomed Mr. Paylan to the community. Remarks were also delivered by ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian and ARF Central Committee member Daron Der Khatchadourian, both of whom commended Mr. Paylan’s courage and principled stand. Mr. Paylan conveyed his appreciation for the warm welcome and commended the community’s unity.

Later in the afternoon, Mr. Paylan had the opportunity to visit the Armenian Genocide Monument in Montebello where he laid a wreath in memory of our martyrs.

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