Prelate Conducts Dedication and Consecration Ceremonies at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello – Requiem for ARS Members, Victims of the Sumgait Pogroms, and Artsakh Martyrs

On Sunday, February 25, 2018, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello, delivered the sermon, and conducted the blessing and rededication of the renovated Cathedral, the consecration of mosaic murals, and the blessing and inauguration of the Archbishop Sumbat Lapajian Library and Museum. The murals depict the Annunciation and our Lord Jesus calling all “who labor and are heavy laden.” Divine Liturgy was celebrated by parish pastor Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian. Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, parish dean, and Rev. Fr. Papken Manuelian participated in the service. Among the faithful in attendance were Executive Council member Mr. Antranik Kasbarian, representatives of the “Tro” Gomideh and sister organizations, sponsors, Sunday School teachers and students.

Also on this day, requiem prayers were offered in all Prelacy Churches for the souls of departed ARS members, for the souls of the innocent Armenians killed by the Azeris on the 30th anniversary of the Sumgait pogroms, and for all the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives in defense of Artsakh.

Prior to the sermon, the Prelate greeted the dean, pastor, delegates, board of trustees, and parish family, wished them a fruitful Lenten journey thus far and hoped that they emerge renewed and strengthened in their faith and ready to serve with greater vigor for the prosperity of the parish community. His Eminence reflected on the day’s special requiem services, paying tribute to the members and benefactors of the Armenian Relief Society for their lifetime of labor for the welfare of our nation and brethren, to the innocent men, women, and children who were savagely killed in Sumgait thirty years ago, and to the brave young martyrs who have given their lives in defense of our lands, praying for their valor and sacrifice to never be forgotten.

Next, the Prelate spoke about the blessing, dedication, and consecration ceremonies. He blessed and commended all those who over the years have contributed to the splendor of Holy Cross Cathedral, and in particular the Tumanjan family who made the most recent renovation and beautification possible in loving memory of George and Irene Tumanjan, as well as the Arakelian, Iknadossian, and Manjikian families for sponsoring the beautiful new murals, urging all to continue to work together, hand in hand and heart to heart, to keep the Cathedral the lighthouse and stronghold of the community. Speaking on the opening of the Archbishop Sumbat Lapajian Library and Museum, His Eminence stated, “Eight years on, our beloved Sumbat Serpazan continues to live on in our hearts, and now through this fitting and well-deserved tribute his legacy as a faithful servant of our Lord and good and true shepherd will endure forevermore.”

The Prelate thereafter delivered his sermon on the day’s Gospel reading from Luke 15:1-32, focusing on the Parable of the Prodigal Son which was the theme of the third Sunday of Great Lent. His Eminence briefly recounted the parable and then highlighted its powerful and inspiring message, the utmost extent of God’s love, forgiveness, and mercy for His children. He noted that today too there are many prodigal sons in this world, those who have distanced themselves from God, from our church, and from our religious and national values and heritage, adding that without faith and values we are lost, just as the son in the parable was lost when he went out on his own. “Let all heed the call to return to God today, to our church, and to our heritage, and invite others who are lost to come home,” stressed the Prelate, and called on parents especially to lead by example, to bring their children to church, to Sunday School, and to the multitude of community organizations, and to cultivate their sense of national identity from an early age so that it remains with them forever. Addressing the youth, he urged them to heed the advice, wisdom, and guidance of their elders, participate in our church and national life, and nurture their minds, hearts, and spirits with our faith and culture so that they are equipped with the faith and the will to choose what is good and reject what is wrong.

The Prelate concluded his sermon by emphasizing that our heavenly Father is a loving and compassionate God Who came not to judge but to save, and Who is patiently waiting for the lost to come home to Him, to embrace us with His love and mercy and shower us with His grace and blessings like the father in the parable did for his son.

Requiem service followed, after which the Prelate conducted the blessing and dedication of the Cathedral and the consecration of the murals. At the conclusion of the ceremonies, His Eminence was led in a procession to the Archbishop Sumbat Lapajian Library and Museum, which he subsequently blessed and inaugurated, conducting the unveiling of the plaque and ribbon cutting alongside clergy, sponsor Mr. Michael Tumanjan, and Board of Trustees Chair Mrs. Goharik Gabriel. The ceremony concluded with “Cilicia.”

A luncheon followed at “Bagramian” Hall. The Prelate delivered the invocation, after which Board of Trustees Chair Mrs. Goharik Gabriel offered welcoming remarks. Cathedral renovation sponsor Mr. Michael Tumanjan delivered poignant remarks on serving and supporting the church. Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian delivered his remarks, greeting and commending the sponsors and guests, and invited the Prelate to convey his message.

His Eminence once again commended all the sponsors and supporters who contribute to the advancement of the parish community, in particular Mr. Michael Tumanjan. Quoting from Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it,” the Prelate said to Michael, “you are a builder by trade, but it is your faith and love for the Lord that leads your works to success.”

The program also featured songs by the Cathedral’s choir.

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