Saint Gregory Church Choir and Altar Servers, pictured with Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate & Fr. Stephan Baljian, Pastor; Front row (left to right): Sossy Jeknavorian, Sylvia Mahlebjian, Seta Ohannessian, Knarik Nerkararyan (Choir Director); Back row (left to right): Aram Ozoonian, Dn. James Haddad, Dn. Avedis Garavanian, Zareh Bulbulian (Stole bearer), Dn. John Saryan (Dn. Arek is absent from photo)
On Sunday, September 26, on the occasion of the 51st Anniversary of the consecration of Saint Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church (September 1970), His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon. On this occasion, he also blessed and re-dedicated the newly replaced crosses from the original consecration of Saint Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church in 1970. Requiem service was offered for all our deceased pastors, Godfathers, benefactors, Trustees and NRA delegates.
Following the church services, a light reception and program were held in Jaffarian Hall. His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, presided while Mr. Robert Kochakian, Chair of the Board of Trustees, served as Master of Ceremonies. This year's anniversary celebration was simpler and less elaborate than past years. The small organizing committee was led by Sossy Jeknavorian & Susan Parigian. A delicious spread of Near Eastern appetizers was offered at each table.
The Anniversary cake was presented and cut by Mr. James Apovian Jr., a founding member of Saint Gregory Church and son of one of our first deacons, Hagop James Apovian. Joining Jimmy was Mrs. Ginny Shrestinian, wife of another of St. Gregory's original deacons, founding member and godfather, Ara Shrestinian.
Addressing the attendees, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, Pastor, thanked the entire community for its hard work and effort, especially during the previous year and a half while the parish navigated cautiously through the Covid-19 pandemic, which had greatly disrupted the normal routine of communal life. He encouraged all to continue to serve Saint Gregory Church and to keep it as a central part of the life of each parishioner, each family and the entire community.
After thanking all those who supported and participated in the very successful Prelate's Bike-a-thon the day before, he went on to present a framed photograph of the Armenian tri-color flag flying over the North Andover Town Common this past April 24, given as a gift to the community by Ralph Arabian, who also took the photograph. The photograph will be displayed on one of the church's walls.
Der Stephan introduced Archbishop Anoushavan and invited him to the podium to share his message. Srpazan Hayr congratulated the entire community and commended everyone involved with the planning of both the Bike-a-thon and the Anniversary reception. He even remarked at what lovely weather we were given, especially for the previous day's Bike-a-thon, despite the rainy weather that had been forecast. He reassured all present that even though Saint Gregory Church was not able to hold the grand, "official" observance of its 50th Anniversary (postponed from 2020), someday soon we would be able to celebrate this and further milestones.
The program ended with Srpazan Hayr's benediction and the singing of Giligia.
Pictured in this photograph, along with Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian (Prelate) and Fr. Stephan Baljian (Pastor), are Trustees of Saint Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church (l to r) Joe Almasian, Steve Mahlebjian, Armen Kourkounian, Rob Kochakian (Chair), Sylvia Mahlebjian, Susan Parigian, Dr. John Saryan and National Representative Greg Afarian. In the center is Saint Gregory Church parishioner Violet Garabedian, who will turn 101 years old in October.
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