The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was celebrated in Prelacy Churches with Divine Liturgy, the traditional blessing of the four corners of the earth (antasdan) and blessing of basil this week.
Given that the feast marks the name day of Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello, Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at Holy Cross Cathedral. Vicar General, Bishop Torkom Donoyan, conducted services at St. Garabed Church in Las Vegas. The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross also marks the commencement of Sunday Schools. Thus, Sunday school directors, teachers, and students attended Divine Liturgy at their local churches and received Holy Communion.
Prelate Mardirossian was assisted at the altar by parish pastor Rev. Ashod Kambourian. Parish dean, Very Rev. Muron Aznikian, participated, as well. During the service, the Prelate conducted the “antasdan” service and blessing of basil, after which he delivered his sermon.
The Prelate gave thanks to the Lord for the opportunity to once again collectively celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, to be spiritually fulfilled by the message of the Cross, strengthened by the power of the Cross, and renewed in our faith by embracing the Cross, and to commit to living our lives with faith, hope, goodness, sacrifice, devotion, and love.
“Every time we make the sign of the cross or lift up the Cross, we see in it strength, faith, hope, peace, sacrifice, loyalty, obedience, and love. Glory to the Holy Cross and glory to the Crucified One Who came to this world as the greatest manifestation of God’s love and shed His innocent blood on the Cross to liberate us from the binds of sin and grant us salvation, so that when we look to the Cross and believe, if we carry our cross and follow Christ as His faithful disciples, we too will be saved,” he stated.
Prelate Mardirossian joyfully greeted the parish family and, in particular, the Sunday school family, which begins a new year bolstered by the message of the Cross. He then gave a brief overview of the historical events relating to the recapture and return of the Cross to Jerusalem. The Prelate noted that we continue to celebrate this feast centuries on, for the Cross is the foundation of the Church and the hope of all believers; the Cross restored us from death to eternal life.
“This feast day is an opportunity to reflect and recommit ourselves to live according to the Way of the Cross, a life of love and sacrifice, turning to the Cross for comfort and haven in times of despair, strength and protection amid storms, light in the darkness, freedom from the binds of sin, spiritual nourishment in our hunger and thirst, and as an armor of protection against all enemies of our faith and nation. Furthermore, the message of the Cross invites us to emulate the faithfulness and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ toward God the Father, to dedicate ourselves to our church and nation with faith and love, to make sacrifices for others, and to transform our homes and families into altars of God,” concluded the Prelate.
At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, Prelate Mardirossian was led in a procession to “Bagramian” Hall for the blessing of the madagh. Afterward, attendees enjoyed the madagh luncheon hosted by the parish Ladies Aid. Fr. Muron conveyed welcoming remarks and members of the Cathedral youth group presented a program dedicated to the Cross. The Prelate once again congratulated the parish on its name day and urged all to continue their service to our church strengthened by the power of the Holy Cross.