Prelate Celebrates Divine Liturgy and Consecrates Painting at Holy Trinity Church in Fresno – Requiem Service for National Benefactor Kirk Kerkorian

On the weekend of Saturday, June 20, 2015, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, paid a pastoral visit to Holy Trinity Church of Fresno where on Sunday morning he celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and consecrated a new painting portraying the baptism of King Dertad by St. Gregory the Illuminator. His Eminence was assisted at the altar by Rev. Fr. Boghos Tinkjian and parish pastor Rev. Fr. Vahan Gosdanian.

The consecration of the painting took place prior to the sermon, commencing with the hymn “Oorakh Ler.” With psalms, prayers, and hymns, the Prelate consecrated the painting with Holy Muron and then delivered his sermon to the congregation.

His Eminence first reflected on the passing of philanthropist and national benefactor Kirk Kerkorian, noting that for all his wealth and adulation, he never forgot his humble beginning and his Armenian roots. He lived a life of Christian charity and his boundless generosity had an immeasurable impact on Armenia and also on our Prelacy Schools, stated the Prelate. He also reflected on the tragic shooting in Charleston, South Carolina which claimed the lives of nine innocent worshippers, and invited the faithful to pray for the soul of Kirk Kerkorian and also for the victims of Charleston during the requiem service.

The Prelate then spoke on Father’s Day and the invaluable role of fathers within their individual families and in society. “The duty of a father is to provide for his family, to discipline his children, nurture them, to teach them the importance of hard work and instill in them values to become healthy adults, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is also a father’s responsibility to raise his children in the ways of the Lord and to show them the path to a God-pleasing life,” stated His Eminence, and concluded by congratulating all the fathers in attendance and wishing them many years of good health and prosperity.

Next the Prelate turned his attention to St. Gregory the Illuminator, noting that the day prior the Armenian Apostolic Church observed the Feast of the discovery of his relics. His Eminence exalted St. Gregory as the embodiment of profound and unwavering faith, hope, and will, who remained resolute in his convictions despite the unthinkable torture he endured, for love of faith and love of nation. Speaking on the newly consecrated painting depicting the baptism of King Dertad, the Prelate noted that “King Dertad and, as a result, the Armenian nation, were fundamentally transformed by St. Gregory the Illuminator. Indeed he changed the course of our nation and secured our place in history as the first Christian nation, and thus shaped our religious, cultural, and national identity. Every time you glance at this painting, may you become strengthened in faith by recalling the incredible life and works of our greatest saint who inspires us all to love the Lord with all our might, to faithfully adhere to His commandments, and to submit ourselves to His holy will with absolute trust in all circumstances”.

In the last part of his sermon, the Prelate spoke on the day’s Gospel reading from Matthew which imparts a lesson on faith. The passage records a series of encounters between our Lord Jesus Christ and the Pharisees, who demanded a sign from Him to prove that He was the promised Messiah. “God has given mankind the most miraculous sign of all, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the crowning proof of Christianity. Our patriarch, St. Gregory the Illuminator, also received a miraculous sign, the vision of Christ descending from heaven with a golden hammer in His hand, instructing him where to build the first Church. May this beautiful painting we consecrated today also be a sign and a constant reminder of the indomitable faith of our church forefather which should serve as an inspiration for us all and lead us on our path of service to our Lord, to our church, and to our nation,” concluded the Prelate.

Requiem service followed, during which prayers were offered for the soul of Kirk Kerkorian. A Father’s Day luncheon followed at the Church hall. During his visit, the Prelate also had a meeting with the parish pastor, delegates, and board members to discuss the current and future endeavors of the church and general community matters.

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