GLENDALE–The eve of the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord to the Temple was celebrated in Prelacy Churches with special services and the traditional bonfire on February 13.
Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian presided over the service and delivered the sermon at St. Mary’s Church in Glendale. Participating in the service was former Prelate of the Aleppo Prelacy Archbishop Souren Kataroyan, Christian Education Department Directors Very Rev. Fathers Muron Aznikian and Barthev Gulumian, parish priests, and hundreds of parishioners. Also in attendance were members of the Board of Trustees and youth groups, as well as Homenetmen Regional Executive members and scouts.
The Prelate began his sermon by speaking of the earthly mission of our Lord Jesus Christ which was to bring salvation to mankind. By humbly carrying out His ministry in accordance with the commandmen’s of God, Jesus became the role model for obedience to God. The Prelate also spoke of Simeon the Just who, for being a virtuous man of great faith, had received a promise by God that he would see the Savior with his own eyes before his death. Once he saw Jesus, he prayed to God to take his soul since there would be no greater blessing in life than seeing and carrying the Savior in his arms. The Prelate concluded by emphasizing that Jesus is the Divine light and illuminator of our lives and urged the parishioners and especially the young scouts, to follow in the path of Light and to lead our people to a bright future. Following in the example of Jesus being presented to the temple, mothers then presented their own children to the priests who carried them around the altar.
Following the service, clergy and faithful headed to the church courtyard where the traditional bonfire was lit and around which nationalistic songs were sung. After the festivities around the bonfire, a reception was hosted by the parish Board of Trustees at the “Armenag Der Bedrossian” Hall for the Prelate, clergy members, Homenetmen Regional Executive, scout leaders and scouts, and youth group members. Remarks were offered by Maro Keshishian on behalf of the Homenetmen Regional Executive and by Hrair Boyajian, Chair of the Homenetmen Scouting Council, who thanked the Prelate for the occasion and introduced the scout leaders and representatives from each region. The activities of the youth groups was presented by Raffi Naljian, Chairman of the Armenian Church Youth Association Central Board, followed by a brief presentation by Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian on the meaning of the Feast and the traditions associated with it.
Remarks were also offered on behalf of the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees by Jirayr Gharakhanian who expressed thanks for the opportunity to assemble together and wished success to all in attendance.
Concluding remarks were made by the Prelate who offered his commendation and encouragement of the scouts and presented them with mementos. The evening came to a close with the Prelate’s benediction and the singing of the Homenetmen anthem.