Prelate Presides over First Sunrise Service and Lent Luncheon at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino

On February 14, 2018, the first Sunrise Service of Great Lent was held in Prelacy Churches. In keeping with a long-standing tradition, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over the service and delivered his message at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino. Given that the day coincided with the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord to the Temple, Sunrise Service was preceded by a special service dedicated to the Feast. Ferrahian School sophomores and juniors attended the service, accompanied by Principal Mrs. Sossi Shanlian and teachers.

The Prelate began his message by explaining the coinciding of the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord and Sunrise service, how feasts are set according to our church calendar and how feasts dedicated to the Lord take precedence, which is why the altar curtain was open during the first service. Further explaining the Feast itself, His Eminence stated that though Jesus was sent to this earth from the abundance of God’s love for mankind, He was born as man and therefore was obliged to respect and follow the law and customs as we are obliged to respect laws and regulations. Thus, in accordance with the law, His parents took Him to the temple to dedicate Him to the Lord, where Simeon, as promised by the Holy Spirit, became worthy of seeing God’s salvation. “The service was a dedication ceremony, and we, as expressions of God’s love, are called to dedicate and devote ourselves to Him, to our families, church, and in service to one another by loving and respecting our fellow man,” said the Prelate. Next, he explained the religious roots of Valentine’s Day, highlighting that true love is unconditional, it is devotion, service, patience, humility, sacrifice, and faith. “Genuine love is found in God’s Word. The love we have for God must draw us closer to Him and unite us with Him; we must dedicate ourselves to God as Jesus was dedicated to God and then sacrificed His life for mankind,” stressed the Prelate. Lent is a time to reflect on the sacrifices Jesus made for us and all the burdens He bore for us, to cleanse our hearts and spirits through prayer, fasting, and good works, to heed Jesus’ message to love one another as He loves us, to comprehend the extent of God’s love and sacrifice, and to keep firm and unshaken in our faith and love for Him no matter life’s circumstances, said the Prelate, and urged the students to consider how they can dedicate themselves to their families, church, school, and community.

The traditional Great Lent luncheon organized by the ARS “Anahid” Chapter followed at “Dikranian” Hall. The Prelate, joined by Archpriest Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian, delivered the invocation. Welcoming remarks were delivered by “Anahid” Chapter chair Mrs. Ankine Agopian, after which Ferrahian School Principal Mrs. Sossi Shanlian spoke about the school. The Prelate conveyed his blessings to all and commended the devoted service of the ARS members. The program also included songs and recitations by Ferrahian School students and ARS members.

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