FIRST VISIT OF NEW PRELATE, 49TH ANNIVERSARY OF SAINT GREGORY CHURCH CELEBRATED
His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian travelled to North Andover, Massachusetts, where he presided over the 49th Anniversary of Saint Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of Merrimack Valley. This was his first visit to North Andover as Prelate. During the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence ordained four young men, Zareh Bulbulian from the choir, Aram Ozoonian, Edward Gaffny and Armen Kourkounian from the Sunday School, as acolytes. Mr. Bulbulian was also invested with a stole (ourar) to wear during liturgical services. A prayer of blessing was also said over choir director Knarik Nerkararyan and a blessed veil was placed over her head.
During his sermon, Srpazan Hayr spoke about service and commended the young men and Ms. Nerkararyan for their continued service to Saint Gregory Church. He relayed how the higher orders of service to the church, beginning with the minor orders on up, show us that everybody has a role to play in serving God and the Armenian Apostolic Church. He emphasized that not only the ranks of the ordained, but also the lay people – each and every one of us – have the responsibility to serve for the betterment of the church community and the glory of Christ’s name.
Following the Divine Liturgy and requiem service for all the deceased pastors, Godfathers, benefactors, Trustees, NRA delegates and members of affiliated bodies and sister organizations, a celebratory banquet took place in the church’s Jaffarian Hall, with Archbishop Anoushavan presiding. Board of Trustees Chairman, Mr. Krikor Afarian offered welcoming remarks and highlighted some of the successes and challenges of the past year.
As the keynote speaker, Deacon Arek Kalayjian eloquently biographized the Prelate and noted the ways in which he had encouraged and supported the Saint Gregory community during his years as Vicar General of the Prelacy. After thinking the various committees, organizations and various volunteers for their service over the past year, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, Pastor, spoke highly of the Prelate and reflected upon some of the ways Anoushavan Srpazan had been influential in his life and ministry. Archbishop Anoushavan, in his remarks, encouraged the community to remain strong and continue its dedication to the faith and character of the Armenian Church and Nation. He shared his optimism about the work that will be accomplished together during his new tenure as Prelate and he thanked the parishioners for their support of the Prelacy and for their hospitality.
A special moment during the banquet came when Saint Gregory Sunday School intern Meliné Almasian, who received the Prelacy’s Youth Service Award this past May at the National Representative Assembly, presented Srpazan Hayr with a birthday cake and led the attendees in a rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Following so many praises and eloquent descriptions of Srpazan Hayr’s strengths and capabilities, there was to be perhaps no greater proverbial demonstration of these than when he proceeded to extinguish every single candle – one for every year of his life on this earth – in one breath.