SANTA ANA, Calif.–The Armenian community of Orange County came together on June 29 to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, to offer Pontifical thanksgiving prayers for His Holiness Aram I, congratulate the Prelate on his re-election, listen to a lecture dedicated to the Year of Christian Education, and to participate in the renaming of the Armenian Center.
The momentous day began with Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, celebrating Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, during which he presided over Pontifical thanksgiving prayers on the 13th anniversary of the enthronement of Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. The Prelate was assisted at the altar by Christian Education Co-Director Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian and parish pastor Rev. Fr. Hrant Yeretzian. Rev. Fr. Varant Amiralian, who is visiting from Greece, also participated in the service.
The Prelate began his sermon by referencing the popular traditions associated with the Feast of the Transfiguration such as the splashing of water, releasing of doves, and distributing of roses, which were all symbols of love, peace, and goodness. The Prelate then explained how St. Gregory the Illuminator combined the celebration of the miraculous transfiguration of our Lord with these popular traditions because Christ was the manifestation of love, goodness, innocence, beauty, and humility.
The Prelate stressed the significance of prayer in the lives of each individual and family as a means of renewal, a way of strengthening our faith and communicating with God. He reminded the faithful that Jesus Christ was in the midst of prayer when He was transfigured and illuminated, and that prayer can similarly brighten and illuminate our lives and humble us before God. He continued to say that just as the Apostles became worthy of witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus Christ by rising above their ordinary circumstances, we too must rise above our everyday circumstances, let go of hate and help each other instead, so that we can all be worthy of having that Light shine more clearly in our lives.
The Prelate concluded his sermon by emphasizing the invaluable role the Catholicosate of Cilicia has had in the lives of our people and especially the strong leadership and guidance of our Pontiff. Thus, the Prelate prayed for the Lord to grace His Holiness with many more years of health so that so that he may continue his mission of leading our church and people.
At the conclusion of the service, parishioners had the opportunity to congratulate the Prelate on his re-election and to wish him health and success in his mission. A reception followed at the adjacent “Gugasian” Hall, which was hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Manoushag Yegenian. Welcoming remarks were offered by the parish Pastor and Executive Council Chairman Dr. Garo Agopian, both of whom also congratulated the Prelate and conveyed their well wishes of success. The Prelate commended those present for their service and dedication and thanked them for their kind remarks.
In the afternoon, the first lecture in the Year of Christian Education series took place. The lecture was organized by the parish Pastor and Board of Trustees, and featured Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian speaking on the topic “Christian Education and the Armenian Youth.”
Following his welcoming remarks, Rev. Fr. Hrant Yeretzian invited Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian to present his lecture. Very Rev. Fr. Gulumian spoke of the importance of education in general but especially of Christian education, and the four institutions, family, school, church, and community organizations, that are vital to the proper rearing of our youth. An artistic program also took place alongside the lecture. Closing remarks were offered by the Prelate who commended Very Rev. Fr. Gulumian, reiterated the value of Christian education in our individual and community life, and urged the attendees to focus their efforts on this vital issue and work together towards this purpose. The event came to a close with the Prelate’s closing remarks and benediction.
Later on in the day, the Prelate presided over the renaming ceremony of the Armenian Center.