The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrated the Sunday of the Prodigal Son on February 28. It is a customary tradition that on the final Sunday of February, a special requiem service is conducted for the souls of Armenian Relief Society members. Under the auspices of Western Prelate Bishop Torkom Donoyan, the requiem service took place at all Prelacy churches.
On this occasion, the Prelate presided over the Divine Liturgy, delivered his message and conducted the requiem service for ARS and ARF “Rosdom” committee members, at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino. In attendance were members of the A.R.S Regional, “Anahid,” “Lori” and “Maro” chapters.
After briefly expounding on the parable of the prodigal son, the Prelate stated; “According to the Church Fathers, if all the messages and miracles of Christ were lost from the Gospels, then the parable of the Prodigal Son would suffice to spread Christianity to the world. For the parable is a gospel in itself, and has the power of faith within it. Everyone has been a prodigal son throughout their life at one point, but because of God’s kindness and forgiveness, has been given the opportunity to become a child of God again, especially when he realizes his mistake and is converted. ‘The tax collector will be justified by God, the sinner will become a preacher, and the persecutor of Christ will be the one who spreads His message.’”
During the second part of his message, the Prelate highlighted the historic mission of the Armenian Relief Society, saying; “The ARS is an army that, with its strength, thought and service, occupies a unique place in the life of our nation and homeland. For more than a century, the ARS has achieved, earned, and continues to operate from North American, to the Middle East and to Armenia, Artsakh, and Javakhk as a united hand of the people. ARS donates to the orphans and the homeless, gives to the deprived, the wounded and the afflicted, and provides means for the needy students to continue their education and become worthy people of our nation and the homeland.”
At the end of the requiem service, the Prelate led a procession to the Avedisian Hall, where he conducted the blessing of the madagh ceremony, which concluded by singing of Cilicia, the ARS Armenian National anthems.