Sunday School Teachers Attend Annual Seminar at the Prelacy

By the invitation of the Western Prelacy Sunday School Board, on Saturday, January 24, 2015, over fifty Sunday School teachers, accompanied by their local pastors, gathered at the Prelacy for a day-long seminar presided by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate.

The day began with Sunrise Service at the “St. Dertad and St. Ashkhen” Chapel, after which participants gathered at the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall where the seminar was held. Board Co-Chair Mr. Raffi Torossian, who ran the day’s proceedings, invited Co-Chair Mr. Hagop Tchagaspanian to convey the welcoming remarks. Noting that this year coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the 85th anniversary of Sunday Schools, Mr. Tchagaspanian stated that we will continue to survive as a nation by instructing generation after generation with our Christian faith and Armenian identity.

The day’s spiritual meditation was delivered by Rev. Fr. Boghos Tinkjian on Matthew 14:22-34 of Jesus walking on the sea.

After the lunch break, Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian presented a lecture on the First Ecumenical Council of Constantinople and its importance to the Armenian apostolic Church creed. He explained that the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople is one of three Councils accepted by the Armenian Apostolic Church and is where the divinity of the Holy Spirit was adopted. In the second part of his talk, Fr. Karekin spoke of the mission and calling of Sunday Schools and Sunday School teachers, stating that the Armenian Apostolic Church is a national church, and so, the Sunday School is a national institution. Thus, Sunday School teachers must serve with the mindset that they are giving back to their nation through their service.

Deacon Khatchig Shannakian was then invited for his presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing online resources within the Sunday School curriculum. He spoke of useful resources found on the internet but also warned of those that defy the tenets of our Church.

The last lecture was presented by Ms. Zepure Ohanessian, who spoke about the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord to the Temple and also on the importance of properly instructing our youth through the right sources.

Mr. Torossian then invited the Prelate to deliver his talk on the canonization of Armenian Genocide martyrs which will take place in Armenia on April 23, 2015 to coincide with the centennial anniversary. The Prelate is a member of the Canonization Committee. In November, the Bishops Synod, in which His Eminence participated, adopted the canonization rite and procedure. His Eminence explained what it means to be a saint, stating that saints were ordinary people like us, but they lived for God and died for their faith. The Genocide martyrs will collectively be classified as saints, because given the option to renounce their faith and live, they chose instead to die as Christians and Armenians. The Prelate reported that alongside the collective canonization of our 1.5 million martyrs, there will also be the canonization of groups and individuals. There last saint was canonized in the 15th century. In conclusion, the Prelate commended the dedication of the Sunday School teachers to their mission and encouraged them to continue to serve and teach with faith, devotion, and brotherly love and cooperation.

The Prelate delivered the benediction, and the seminar came to a close with Cilicia and the Sunday School anthem. Participants received mementos prior to their departure.

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