Prelate Conducts First Blessing of Water with New Muron at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello – Remembrance of Archbishop Sumbat Lapajian and the Lisbon 5

On Sunday, July 26, 2015, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello where he delivered the sermon and conducted the blessing of water with the new Holy Muron blessed by His Holiness Aram I in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial. Over the next few weeks, the Prelate will conduct the blessing of the water ceremony in various Prelacy parishes. Sunday’s service at Holy Cross was attended by Executive Council members Mr. Antranik Kasbarian, Dr. Navasart Kazazian, and Dr. Kaloust Agopian, ARF Western Region Central Committee and local “Tro” Gomideh representatives, parish delegates, Board of Trustees members, and faithful parishioners. Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian.

Following “Der Voghormya” the Prelate delivered the sermon, which he began by thanking God for his safe return from the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia where he participated in the historic and soul-stirring ceremony of the blessing of Holy Muron honoring the legacy of our martyrs and celebrating the rebirth of our nation.

The Prelate spoke of the sanctity of the Holy Muron, which is used in the sacred rite of baptism, consecration of churches, and ordination of clergy, and of the ancient tradition of Muron blessing instituted by St. Gregory the Illuminator, the father of our church. “His Holiness Aram I eloquently refers to Holy Muron as a fountain of piety and the pathway to rebirth and spiritual renewal, and states that God and man draw near to one another by the divine power and heavenly fragrance of Holy Muron,” said the Prelate, adding, “we who have the mark of the Holy Muron on our foreheads are equipped with the faith to battle against the storms of life and live a life in accordance with our religious and national values.” As we blessed and sanctified this water, said the Prelate, with beseech the Lord to bestow His blessings upon all who receive it, to cleanse our souls and bodies, deliver us from sin, and save us by the grace of His mercy.

That Sunday marked two important anniversaries, the 5th anniversary of the passing of Archbishop Sumbat Lapajian, and the 32nd anniversary of the martyrdom of the Lisbon 5. During the requiem service following Divine Liturgy, prayers were offered for the soul of Archbishop Lapajian and for the young men of Lisbon 5. His Eminence reflected on Archbishop Lapajian’s legacy of good shepherdship, devoted pastorship, and strong leadership, stating, “We will always remember and appreciate the path he paved for the success of our Prelacy today.” Speaking on the legacy of the Lisbon 5, the Prelate stated that with their bold act they proclaimed to the world that the Armenian people will always continue to remember and demand until we achieve our goal of recognition and reparations. “In this Centennial year, may their example inspire us to continue to fight for our rights until justice is served.”

The Prelate then referred to the day’s Gospel reading, a lesson on the sanctity of marriage. He cited from the book “Family of Paradise,” in which Khrimian Hayrig wrote “Home and family are a small kingdom where parents reign, the father as king and the mother as queen, and together they govern the family. In this family palace and kingdom there are no policeman, no sword, no violence or vehemence, but only fatherly love, and motherly affection.” Christian based family values are the foundation of the Armenian family, stressed the Prelate. They are the core of our nationhood and the key to our survival and perpetuation throughout the centuries despite the great struggles we continually faced against our faith and heritage. Today, more than ever our families and our communities need to be nurtured with love, goodness, mutual respect and understanding, and devotion to our faith and observance of our national traditions and customs. In the wisdom and example of our forefathers, and for the benefit of our future generations and the future of our nation and people, let us heed God’s principles for family living and build our families on the rock that is the Holy Scriptures, concluded His Eminence, and prayed for the Lord’s blessings upon our families and for the Holy Muron to become a source of spiritual rebirth and national awakening for the Armenian people in Armenia, Artsakh, and throughout the Diaspora.

At the conclusion of his sermon, the Prelate conducted the blessing of water with the new Holy Muron.The dove-shaped vessel containing the Muron was brought to the altar in a procession while a hymn dedicated to the Holy Spirit was sung. At the conclusion of the service faithful received Holy Communion and the blessed water.

Requiem service followed, during which prayers were offered for Lisbon 5. Clergy and faithful then proceeded to the gravesite of Archbishop Sumbat Lapajian where prayers were offered for his soul. The service came to a close with the Lord’s Prayer and “Cilicia.” A memorial luncheon followed at “Tumanjan” Hall hosted by the Parish Pastors and Board of Trustees.

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