Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian presided over Divine Liturgy at St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church in Pasadena, during which he conducted the ordination of eight acolytes and consecration of two new sacred paintings. The service was held on Sunday, October 6.
Divine Liturgy was celebrated by parish pastor Rev. Boghos Baltayan. Among the faithful in attendance were St. Sarkis Church benefactors, Sarkis and Suzan Kitsinian, St. Gregory the Illuminator painting sponsors, Joe and Hourig Baghdadlian, St. Sarkis painting sponsor, Manuel Alexanian and family, as well as other sponsors.
The ordination and consecration ceremony was conducted prior to the sermon. The Prelate first consecrated the two paintings, after which he ordained Sarkis Ohanian, Levon-Shant Aprahamian, Tavit Der Garabedian, Serj Bertizlian, Gary Kizirian, Karnig Derderian, Manoug Melelian, and Garo Poladian as acolytes.
Prelate Mardirossian then delivered his sermon, which he began with a citation from Luke 10:2, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” He also quoted Teresa of Avila, explaining that we are Christ’s eyes, feet, hands, and body on earth through which He looks, with compassion, on this world, walks to do good, and through which He blesses all the world. Referring to the consecration ceremony, the Prelate noted that the saints depicted in the paintings were indeed Christ’s body, feet, hands, and eyes on earth, and wished that the ceremony would inspire the faithful to become renewed in their faith and express their faith through service. He also blessed and commended the sponsor families.
Speaking on the ordination ceremony, Prelate Mardirossian explained that the cutting of hair symbolizes the putting aside of worldly aspirations and focusing instead on glorifying God through their service; the book of Psalms is so that they may read, understand, and believe; granting of permission to clean the church symbolizes the cleansing of their hearts and spirits and the sanctity of God’s presence within the Church; the apostolic letters reminds them to become more familiarized with God’s Word and to fulfill their duties with utmost comprehension; the Mashdots is given with the instruction to learn the renunciation by heart so that they are able to renounce satan and all evil and become true servants of God.
The Prelate blessed and commended the faithful and diligent service of the acolytes thus far and urged them to take their duties more seriously now that they are ordained and to be worthy of higher ranks. He also advised parents to encourage their children to serve our Church as his mother did, reiterating that “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few.”
Next, Prelate Mardirossian noted that, during the previous day, they marked the feast of the 72 disciples of Christ, to whom Jesus’ words in Luke 10:2 are addressed. “The 12 apostles and 72 disciples were selected to spread the word of God and the good news of the Kingdom of God. Service was their sole mission. Today, our people have the need for God’s word and the need to see devoted servants in our Church; but our people are also called to be active participants in the advancement of our Church. May these special ceremonies serve as opportunities for renewal of faith and encourage all to contribute to the Lord’s vineyard,” emphasized the Prelate. He concluded his remarks by congratulating the parish community.
At the conclusion of the service, a reception took place at “Andon Andonian” Hall.