St. Gregory Church of San Francisco Celebrates Archpriest Fr. Khoren Habeshian’s 80th Birthday and Achievements

The weekend of June 22nd and 23rd, 2013 was a special one for the St. Gregory Church parish community of San Francisco, as faithful gathered to celebrate Parish Pastor Archpriest Fr. Khoren Habeshian’s 80th birthday and lifetime achievements.

 H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, arrived in San Francisco on Saturday, June 22 to preside over the banquet organized by the Board of Trustees and Ladies Auxiliary, which was held at the Khatchatourian Armenian Community Center “Saroyan Hall”.  H.G. Bishop Papken Tcharian, Prelate of the Diocese of Isfahan, Iran, and former Parish Pastor of St. Gregory Church, joined in the weekend festivities.  Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian and members Ms. Ani Mgrdichian-Garikian, Mr. Bill Sahatdjian, and Mr. Sako Shrikian, also participated.

The banquet began with welcoming remarks by Banquet Committee Chair Mrs. Maida Bezdjian.  Dr. Garo Mirigian served as the Master of Ceremonies.  Dinner and a slide show presentation followed the Prelate’s invocation and blessing of tables.  Remarks were delivered respectively by Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Rostom Aintablian, Ladies Auxiliary member Ms. Arax Sarian, the family of Fr. Khoren, Bishop Papken, Prelacy Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian, the Prelate, and Fr. Khoren.  Mr. Movses Aintabian presented Fr. Khoren with a congratulatory letter. The evening also featured musical performances by Vazken Ohanian and Friends and Ms. Helene Zindarsian accompanied by Mrs. Kerrilyn Renshaw.

In his address, the Prelate spoke of the duty of each and every Christian to serve in the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He spoke of Fr. Khoren as a wonderful example of a faithful servant of God, a good shepherd and a good laborer for our Lord who has dedicated fifty years of his life to serving God and serving for the strengthening and progress of the Armenian Apostolic Church.  “He is a great example of what it means to live and serve humbly and selflessly for a greater cause.  Even in his golden years of retirement Fr. Khoren gladly answered the call of duty when it was needed, and for that we thank and commend him once again”, stated the Prelate.  Addressing the faithful, His Eminence stressed that the Church belongs to the people and it is the duty of all to work together to ensure that St. Gregory Church remains steadfast in its service for the glory of God and for the advancement of our faith and heritage.  On this special occasion, he urged them to pledge their continued service to our Church, inspired and guided by the example of their Parish Pastor. His Eminence congratulated Fr. Khoren once again on his milestone birthday, and prayed for our Lord to bless him with many more years of good health and happiness.

The evening concluded with the benediction by the Prelate and the Cilician anthem.

On Sunday, June 23rd, the Prelate presided over Divine Liturgy at St. Gregory Church and delivered the sermon.  This year marks the 18th anniversary of the election and consecration of His Holiness Aram I as Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.  Thus, by the ordinance of the Prelate, on Sunday, June 23rd Thanksgiving Prayers were offered in Prelacy Churches on this occasion.

The Prelate began his sermon by once again offering prayers for the Lord to bless Fr. Khoren and his family with many more healthy and joyful years to come.  Reflecting on the anniversary of the election and consecration of His Holiness, the Prelate stated that in the past 18 years His Holiness Catholicos Aram I has brought immense contributions to the Holy See of Cilicia; His Holiness has brought worldwide visibility to the Catholicosate of Cilicia, has been a leading figure in the worldwide ecumenical movement, played a significant role in promoting interfaith dialogue among Christians and Muslims, has been a founding member of several international committees and organizations, authored thirty books, and much more. In short, His Holiness has revitalized the Catholicosate of Cilicia in various realms.  His vision and commitment is truly remarkable and inspiring, remarked the Prelate.  “Today we celebrate that vision and commitment and offer our thanks for his meritorious leadership and dedicated service for the advancement of the Holy See of Cilicia.  We 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 duties and serve for the uplifting of the Holy See of Cilicia through this virtuous leadership.”

The Prelate then reflected on two feasts that were observed earlier in the week, the Feast of our holy translators Sts. Sahag and Mesrob, and the Feast of King Dertad, Queen Ashkhen, and Princess Khosrovitoukht.  He exalted the ideal example of faith and service set forth by our forefathers who dedicated their lives to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Christianization, spiritual and intellectual enlightenment of the Armenian nation.  His Eminence remarked that we all have a choice in how we live our lives; we can spend our lives building treasures on earth, on in the example of our saints we can work to build treasure that is in the Church and in heaven.  His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, stated the Prelate, chose the latter and we must too.  In the faith and spirit of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob and the first Christian royal family, His Holiness has dedicated his life for ministry, to serving our Lord and building up the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Holy See of Cilicia.  The Prelate concluded his sermon by urging that the faith, courage, and sacrifice of our saints, and the dedication of His Holiness inspire and encourage us all in our service and be the guiding force which impels us to great successes in our mission.

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