Prelate Presides over Pontifical Thanksgiving Service at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in San Francisco – Presents Pontifical Encyclical and Pectoral Cross to Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian

On Sunday, June 25, 2017, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, paid a pastoral visit to St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in San Francisco, where he presided over Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and conducted Pontifical Thanksgiving Service in celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the election and consecration of His Holiness Aram I as Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. During the service, the Prelate presented parish pastor, Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian, the Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, granting him the privilege of wearing a pectoral cross, as well as the cross itself.

After the choir sang the hymn “Oorakh Ler,” the Prelate read and presented to Fr. Barouyr the Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness along with the pectoral cross. His Eminence blessed and congratulated Fr. Barouyr and commended his service and dedication to the Armenian Apostolic Church, stating, “We have seen first-hand your devotion to the sacred calling of the priesthood and your hard work for the growth and advancement of this parish.” The Prelate urged him to continue to be a good shepherd for his flock and serve with even greater drive, and always with utmost faith, love, and humility.

Next, the Prelate delivered the sermon on Catholicos Nerses the Great, one of the most celebrated figures in our history, whose feast day was observed the day prior. His Eminence highlighted the legacy of Nerses the Great as the first great reformer of the Church, the forerunner of our religious and national enlightenment, and the “Illuminator of Hearts,” lauding his vast contributions to our spiritual, ecclesiastical, and national life, which included establishing numerous monasteries and schools, and building hospices, residences, and hospitals for the ailing, homeless, and the poor. “Today we celebrate his worthy legacy, which has inspired countless Catholicoi, included our own Pontiff,” stated the Prelate, who went on to speak of the remarkable service and legacy of Catholicos Aram I as a significant and prominent figure not only in the Armenian Church, but on the international stage as well. His Eminence stated that in the past twenty-two years as Catholicos, our Pontiff has been a powerful leader and visionary who has revitalized the Catholicosate of Cilicia and brought widespread visibility to our Church, and invited the faithful to pray for the Lord to bless His Holiness with long and healthy years and strength and wisdom to continue to bear the heavy burden of his mighty duties so that he may remain a pillar of strength and guidance for the Diaspora. Finally, the Prelate noted that the day also marked the 20th anniversary of his consecration of Bishop, and on this occasion renewed his allegiance and oath to serve for the glory of God and for the advancement of our Church and invited all to join him in renewing and strengthening their faith and commitment to the progress of the parish community.

Following the sermon, the Prelate conducted the Pontifical Thanksgiving Service, which concluded with the Pontifical and Cilician anthems.

A celebratory luncheon hosted by the parish Ladies Guild followed at “Vasbouragan” Hall on the occasion of the Prelate’s 20th anniversary as Bishop and Fr. Barouyr receiving the pectoral cross. Members of sister organizations and parishioners were in attendance. Remarks were delivered by Fr. Barouyr, Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Garo Mirigian, and Co-Chair Mr. Sarkis Shrikian. The Pastor and Board presented gifts to the Prelate on his 20th anniversary, wishing him many more years of good health and continued service to our Church, while His Eminence presented a pectoral cross to Fr. Barouyr and once again congratulated him as well as the parish community. Guests then had the opportunity to personally congratulate both the Prelate and Fr. Barouyr.

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