Thanksgiving Prayers for the Republic and Blessing of the Armenian Flag at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino

In celebration of the 99th anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia, as well as the forthcoming 26th anniversary of the current Republic, by the ordinance of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, on Sunday, May 28, 2017 Thanksgiving Prayers for the Republic were offered in Prelacy Churches during Divine Liturgy. The Prelate presided over Divine Liturgy, conducted the service, blessed the Armenian flag, and delivered the sermon at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino. Archpriest Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian celebrated Divine Liturgy.
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Among the faithful in attendance were Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles the Honorable Valery Mkrtoumian, ARF Central Committee member Mr. Mardig Gaboudian, Executive Council secretary Mr. Anto Kasbarian, ARF “Rostom” and “Arshavir Shiragian” Gomideh members, parish delegates, and board members.

Prior to the sermon, as the choir sang the hymn “Oorakh Ler,” Homenetmen “Massis” Chapter scouts carried the flag into the church and to the altar to begin the Prayers of the Republic service, which included hymns, psalms, and Gospel reading beseeching the Lord’s protection over our nation. The service concluded with the Armenian national anthem, after which the Prelate delivered the sermon.

His Eminence began by giving thanks to God for the opportunity to collectively celebrate the seventh Sunday of Eastertide, which is designated Second Palm Sunday, and the 99th anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia. He greeted the honored guests in attendance who had come to join in the celebration. Given that the feast of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ was celebrated a few days prior, and the feast of Pentecost was to follow ten days later, the Prelate gave an overview of both feasts, which commemorate Jesus giving final instructions and commandments to His disciples about the great commission they were to embark on, assuring them that He would always be with them, and instructed them to wait until Pentecost, when they would be armed by the power of the Holy Spirit, to begin their new mission. This next week, as we await the feast of the coming of the Holy Spirit, it is my wish that we all commit ourselves to prayer and adherence to the Lord’s commandments so that we too may be renewed in wisdom and in grace, stated His Eminence. He also spoke of the meaning of Second Palm Sunday, also known as Sunday of the Great Miracle, which commemorates St. Gregory the Illuminator’s miraculous survival in the pit for thirteen years by the grace of God and with the help of a faithful woman who would provide his daily bread, likely King Dertad’s daughter Khosrovitoukht, and tying it in to the day’s celebration added, “and by the grace of God, the Armenian nation regained independence, one of the most joyous events of our modern history, the birth of our nation, even more joyous in light of our re-independence twenty-five years ago.”

The Prelate next delivered his message on the significance of May 28 and on the legacy left behind by those who fought for and secured the independence of our nation. “In the appalling conditions of the time, our ancestors, having escaped the atrocities of the Genocide, fought tooth and nail in an uneven battle against a militarily superior force. An entire nation participated in the sacred battle, clergy and laity, men and women, young and old, and indeed it was this unity and collective effort which secured our ultimate triumph, the independence of our nation. It was a military but also moral victory, which resulted in Western Armenia delegates in Parliament, the adoption of the vision of a free, independent, and united Armenia, and with the Treaty of Sevre, left a legacy, a guide for the return of our ancestral lands. The birth of our nation was a product of centuries of struggle for the preservation of our identity, and continues to inspire us today as we face new challenges. All of us, whether in Armenia, Artsakh, or the Diaspora, are called to continue the work of our ancestors, as did the avengers of the Genocide perpetrators, heroes like Tehlirian and Shiragian, those who fought for re-independence, for the liberation of Artsakh, of Shushi, and more. Today, we honor their memory and vow to keep their legacy alive, to fight with the same will, and pass on that spirit to our younger generations. We will attain our goals, just as we did in the past, as long as we remain committed and uncompromising in our quest for our rights,” stated the Prelate.

Given that the following day was Memorial Day, “Der Voghormya” prayers were offered for the members of the United States armed forces who gave their lives for the defense, liberty, and security of this nation.

During requiem service, prayers were offered for the martyrs of Sardarabad, Gharakilise, Pash Abaran, and all the heroes who have given their lives in defense of our lands.

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