Prelate Presides over Divine Liturgy and Consecrates Painting at Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County – Prayers for Las Vegas Shooting Victims in Prelacy Churches

On Sunday, October 8, 2017, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County. Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian celebrated Divine Liturgy. Very Rev. Fr. Vache Balekjian and Archpriest Fr. Khoren Habeshian participated. By the ordinance of His Eminence, on this day, “Der Voghormya” prayers were offered in all Prelacy Churches for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.

During the service, the Prelate consecrated a painting of St. Sarkis sponsored by the Ohanessian family in memory of their parents, Mardiros and Gassia Ohanessian.

The Prelate then delivered his sermon, the theme of which was discipleship, given that the day before was the commemoration of our Lord Jesus Christ’s 72 disciples, and also touched on the Feast of the Holy Translators, which was to be celebrated the following week. His Eminence started by noting that besides the 12 apostles, Jesus had 72 disciples to whom He instructed and commanded to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), what is known as the Great Commission. The Prelate noted that discipleship was not limited to the early followers of Christ, and that God still desires disciples today to fulfill the Great Commission. “As children of God, we must be committed to serving Him faithfully and fulfilling the duties and responsibilities entrusted to us as Christians,” he stressed. The Prelate further explained the meaning of discipleship, adding that being a disciple requires making Christ the focus of our lives, studying and obeying His teachings and commandments by reading the Bible, being in constant communication with Him through prayer, serving Him through active involvement in the church, sharing our faith with others, and becoming an example to others through the life we lead.

The Prelate stressed that as a dispersed nation we must work even harder to maintain our distinct faith and heritage among a slew of external influences, adding that we are fortunate to have great examples before us, the legacy of our saints and forefathers, including that of the Holy Translators, to inspire and lead us in our service today. Citing verse 5 of the day’s Scripture reading from 2 Corinthians 13:5-13, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith,” His Eminence called for introspection to see if we are as steadfast in our faith as our forefathers were, and to strive for their level of faith so that we can be effective disciples for our church and nation. “The survival and advancement of our faith and heritage rests on our shoulders, and on those of future generations,” stressed the Prelate, encouraging the faithful to take inspiration from the 72 disciples and our Holy Translators and do their part to preserve and promote our faith and our culture, starting with our children and youth.

Next, His Eminence spoke of the horrific shooting in Las Vegas the week before which claimed the lives of nearly 60 and injured nearly 500, and asked the faithful to join in praying for the souls of the deceased to rest in peace in the kingdom of heaven, for the speedy and full recovery of the injured, and for our loving and merciful Lord to bring peace and comfort to the families of the victims. Finally, the Prelate noted that the day also marked the 40th day since the passing of a beloved member of the community, Movses Shrikian. He conveyed his condolences to the Shrikian and Keledjian families on the untimely loss of their husband, father, brother, uncle, and son-in-law, and on the loss of their patriarch Archpriest Fr. Nareg Shrikian, soon after.

At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy and requiem service, a special reception by the Parish Pastor, Board of Trustees, and Ladies Guild was hosted at “Gugasian” Hall in celebration of the Prelate’s anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, 20th anniversary of Episcopal ordination, and 60th birthday. In attendance were Delegates, Board of Trustees members, Armen Karo Gomideh representatives, and faithful. Congratulatory remarks were delivered by Fr. Karekin and Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Herair Jermakian. The Prelate thanked all for the surprise celebration and wished the parish community continued successes in their mission.

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