St. Sarkis Church Name-Day Celebration

On Saturday, January 27, 2018, the Armenian Church commemorated the Feast of St. Sarkis, his son Mardiros, and their fourteen soldiers, who in the 4th century were martyred in defense of the Christian faith. As the feasts marks the name-day of St. Sarkis Church of Pasadena, on Sunday January 28, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and conducted the blessing of madagh at St. Sarkis Church. Rev. Fr. Boghos Baltayan assisted at the altar.
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Executive Council members Mr. Avo Kechichian and Mrs. Therese Kemanjian, benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Suzan Kitsinian and family, parish family members, representatives of community organizations, and a large number of faithful were in attendance.

As the choir sang the hymn “Hrashapar,” His Eminence entered the church in a procession to begin Divine Liturgy. The Prelate began his sermon by giving thanks to God for the opportunity to collectively partake in the day’s Divine Liturgy and name-day celebration, and inspired by the message of St. Sarkis, his son Mardiros, and their fourteen soldiers, to renew our faith and in the words of the day’s Gospel reading from John 6:22-38, to labor not for perishable food but for the heavenly food. His Eminence greeted the Executive Council members, benefactors, parish family, and faithful, wishing all continued successes in their service as “workers who do not need to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Citing a verse from Nerses Shnorhali’s hymn dedicated to St. Sarkis, the Prelate highlighted the saint’s virtues as a fulfiller of requests, hearer of prayers, persecutor of evil, liberator of captives, alleviator of torments, and a brave and fearless preacher of the Christian faith, for which he, his son, and their soldiers were martyred. Referencing the message of the day’s Gospel reading, the Prelate urged all to labor not for perishable food but for the bread of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, as did St. Sarkis and all of our saints. “St. Sarkis remains an everlasting intercessor for the Armenian people. Today, let us beseech his intercession for God to strengthen our faith so that we seek and pursue heavenly bread alone, to be endowed with his faith so that we may overcome and conquer all troubles with faith, and to transform us into bold and fearless soldiers and defenders of our faith and nation,” stressed the Prelate, and concluded by once again conveying his congratulations and hoping for the message and spirit of the day’s celebration to lead all into His light.

At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, the Prelate presided over requiem service and conducted the blessing of madagh. Prayers of repose were offered for the souls of the first parish pastor, Archpriest Fr. Sarkis Antreassian, the parents of the benefactors, Board of Trustees members, Delegates, Ladies Guild members, and all departed church servants. Afterward, as the choir sang the hymn “Oorakh Ler,” His Eminence descended from the altar and proceeded to the narthex where the celebration came to a close with “Cilicia” and the Pontifical anthem.

A lunch reception followed at “Andonian” Hall, presided by the Prelate and with the attendance of Executive Council member Mrs. Therese Kemanjian, the parish family, benefactor family, and “Lernavayr” Gomideh Chair Mr. Arman Baghdoyan. Rev. Fr. Boghos Baltayan welcomed the guests, expressed gratitude to the Prelate and thanks to the benefactors, and wished for St. Sarkis to be intercessor for all. The grandchildren of the benefactors entertained the guests with a medley of songs. Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Koko Panossian thanked all the sponsors and especially the Ladies Guild for their hard work over the preceding few days. Well wishes and congratulations were delivered by Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Suzan Kitsinian and long-time parish servant Mr. Sarkis Dervishian. Following the cutting of a cake dedicated to the parish name-day and the Prelate’s milestone anniversaries, His Eminence delivered his message highlighting the special meaning and importance of such celebrations as opportunities for renewal and recommitment to faith and service. He concluded by congratulating all those bearing the name of St. Sarkis and his son Mardiros, in particular Mr. Sarkis Kitsinian, and closed the luncheon with the benediction.

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