Faithful parishioners gathered at Saint Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of Merrimack Valley last Friday evening, February 15, for the celebration of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord to the Temple, or Dyarnuntarach. Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar General of the Prelacy, presided over the evening's festivities. Rev. Fr. Mikael Der Kosrofian, pastor of St. Asdvadzadzin Church in Whitinsville, also participated along with pastor, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian.
The evening began with the evening prayer service, during which the faithful heard the Gospel reading about the presentation of Jesus Christ to the Temple in Jerusalem at 40 days, as was required by the Jewish Law. This passage is found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2, verses 22-40. In his sermon, Hayr Sahag emphasized the importance of understanding the Presentation of our Lord as a call for all of us Armenian Christians to present ourselves to God and to become his dedicated servants.
At the conclusion of the service, the clergy and altar servers led the procession of the faithful outside, where the bon fire was waiting. Using the candle lit during the service, Hayr Soorp ignited the blaze to the warmth and delight of everyone present. The congregation sang spiritual and patriotic songs, including a beautiful rendition of "Giligia." The Ladies' Guild prepared a beautiful dinner inside Jaffarian Hall. During the dinner, Der Stephan spoke and welcomed everyone. He welcomed Hayr Sahag to the community. He noted that since Hayr Soorp is the pastor of neighboring Holy Trinity Church in Worcester, he is no stranger to North Andover and has visited Saint Gregory Church on many occasions. However, this being his first official visit as Vicar of the Prelacy, Der Hayr extended congratulatory remarks on behalf of the community, wishing him many years of devoted service to the Armenian Church and Nation. The Ladies' Guild presented Hayr Soorp with a cake to congratulate him on his new appointment.