Divine Liturgy and Award Ceremony on the Feast of St. Ghevond the Priest and His Companions
On February 6, the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church celebrated the Feast of St. Ghevond the Priest and His Companions. On the occasion of the feast, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; a Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Holy Mother of God Church of the Diocese of Armavir (Etchmiadzin City).
The Divine Liturgy was attended by 243 clergymen from different Dioceses of Armenia and Artsakh, Diocesan Primates, the Brotherhood of the Mother See, and many Armenian faithful. The Celebrant was Rev. Fr. Aharon Grigoryan, spiritual pastor of the Saint Grigor Narekatsi Church of Armavir Diocese
In his sermon, Rev. Fr. Aharon reflected on the sacrament of the day, and commanded to get rid of fear, indifference and bravely fight against threats to the preservation of Christian and national values, following the example of Saint Ghevond the priest.
Following the Divine Liturgy, at the Events Auditorium of the Gevorkian Theological Seminary, a Meeting of the Priests and Award Ceremony was held. His Eminence Archbishop Mikael Ajapahian; Primate of the Diocese of Shirak and Head of the Organizing Committee of the Priests' Meeting; delivered his welcoming remarks.
Afterwards, Proto-Archimandrite Zakaria Baghumyan, Director of the Christian Education Center of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin presented a report on "Changes in public education programs (Armenian History subject)". Proto-Archimandrite Zakaria presented the positions of the Mother See regarding the project of general educational subject standards, the subject "History of the Armenian Church" and the omissions in the 7th grade "Armenian History" textbook. Discussions were held on the topic.
Then the traditional award ceremony was held. In appreciation of their long-term devoted and productive pastoral service to the Armenian Church, a number of clergymen were awarded the honor of Archpriest, as well as the right to wear the flowered cope and Pectoral Cross.
Rev. Fr. Garnik Karapetyan and Rev. Fr. Andranik Malchyan from the Diocese of France; Rev. Fr. Komitas Harutyumyan from the Armenian Diocese of Krasnodar and North Caucasus were elevated to the rank of Archpriest.
Rev. Fr. Hovhannes Kesablyan serving in the department of the Grand Sacristan of the Mother See; Rev. Fr. Hovhannes Marukyan and Rev. Fr. Arsen Saroyan from the Araratian Pontifical Diocese; Rev. Fr. Derenik Mikaelyan and Rev. Fr. Yeprem Harutyunyan from the Diocese of Masyatsotn; Rev. Fr. Nerses Sahakyan from the Diocese of Gegharkunik; Rev. Fr. Husik Grigoryan from the Diocese of Shirak; Rev. Fr. Aristakes Baghalyan from the Diocese of Kotayk; Rev. Fr. Abgar Glchyan, Rev. Fr. Varag Yaparyan and Rev. Fr. Vardan Adamyan from the Armenian Diocese of Ukraine; Rev. Fr. Grigoris Poghosyan from the Armenian Diocese of Krasnodar and North Caucasus were granted the right to wear the flowered cape.
Rev. Fr. Vachagan Gyurjyan and Rev. Fr. Movses Sahakyan serving in the structures of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin; Rev. Harutyun Hakobyan from the Diocese of Msyatsotn; Rev. Fr. Narek Ayvazyan from the Diocese of Gegharkunik; Rev. Fr. Abgar Karapetyan from the Diocese of Tavoush; Rev. Fr. Ghevond Tazyan and Rev. Fr. Hovsep Harutyunyan from the Armenian Diocese of Georgia; Rev. Fr. Haykazun Sahakyan from the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan were granted the right to wear the Pectoral Cross.
At the end of the Award Ceremony, the Catholicos of All Armenians conveyed His Blessings and Pontifical message to the clergy. Congratulating those present on the occasion of the feast of Saints Ghevond the Priest and his Companions, His Holiness emphasized that, as for centuries, today is also an opportunity to reflect on the mission of the clergy in the light of the bright example and feat of the priest of Saint Ghevonds and to value the dedicated service of churchmen in the national and spiritual life.
"In the national context, our Saint Ghevondians are the embodiment of the heroic spirit of "for the sake of faith and patriotism", with which our people fought a desperate battle at various milestones in their history for their God-given independent and free life and the undisturbed preservation of their identity.
Dear spiritual fathers, this struggle seems to be ongoing for the existence of our nation, for the protection of our just rights and nationwide interests. The service and responsibility of our Holy Church and the ecclesiastics towards our people and countrymen is permanent and unceasing, to keep the spirit of the Ghevondians and Vardanians among the Armenians, to withstand the trials of time, to preserve what is cherished and sacred, valuable and dear in the national life.
Today, our people, our sacred homeland, are experiencing a difficult period of history. Artsakh is occupied, security challenges are facing the Armenian independent statehood built by the blood of our martyr children, the sacrifices of the entire nation, the cherished perceptions and national-spiritual value system of our people are under attack, the Armenian Church is also being targeted," stated His Holiness, recording with pain that in the Armenian society, reconciliation moods with the created difficult situation are instilled and rooted, weakening the spirit of opposing evil.
Citing the command of the Apostle Paul, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and understanding" (2 Tim. A 7), the Catholicos of All Armenians urged the audience: "With that spirit of power, love and sensitivity, we must continue our spiritual mission, strengthening the faith and hope for the future in the hearts of Armenians, sowing the seeds for the vision of our bright future. The same is the mission, the same is the responsibility and duty of your present-day Ghevondian priests, so that with your tireless and consistent work, our people can be brought out of this post-war depression and their patriotic and national life firmly re-anchored on the patriotism that has been tempered by the trials of centuries. Our national-spiritual value system, which is sprinkled with centuries-old sufferings and spiritual courage of our people and is the true key to the victory of our collective will and spirit, should once again become the cornerstone of the rebuilding of our nation's dignified life”.
His Holiness called on the church members to make every effort so that the injustices are universally rejected and condemned, and the processes and grassy phenomena that undermine the unity of our people and weaken the forces are stopped.
"Dear spiritual fathers, it is the commitment of our Holy Church at all times, remaining faithful and devoted to the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ and the inviolable Christian value system, to shepherd and care for the Armenian nation, to strengthen the spirit of "for the sake of faith and for patriotism", to serve in the building of a peaceful and safe homeland, by educating Armenians and strengthening national consciousness, contribute everywhere to the pristine preservation of Armenian identity and the steadfastness of our nation and homeland", stated His Holiness Karekin II, emphasizing the sacred mission of the clergy to guide the people entrusted to their care in God-pleasing ways and lead them to salvation.
In his remarks, His Holiness, congratulating the priest fathers who received awards, on the occasion of the feast also expressed his appreciation to the diocesan primates, the priesthood, to all the clergy serving in church structures and throughout the world.
At the conclusion, the Pontiff of All Armenians prayed to God for the peace and security of our homeland Armenia and Artsakh, for the prosperous life of the children of the Armenian people all over the world, and for the brightness of the Armenian Church.