Saturday, 1 May 2010

Primacy of the Armenian Church - E-Newsletter

Marching and Prayer: Commemorating Our Martyrs
The Very Revd Dr. Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate, joined the approximately 1500 Armenians, marching in the streets of London to mark the 95 commemoration of the martyrdom of 1.5 million Armenians during the 1915 Genocide. The march started at the gates of the Greek Cathedral of Holly Sophia on Moscow Rd. The marchers were led by scouts carrying the flags of UK and Armenia and wreaths to be placed at the Cenotaph in memory of the Armenian martyrs.
Leading the march was our Primate accompanied by Rev Fr. Shnork Baghdasarian, Mr. Ara Palamoudian, chairman of the ACCC, and Mr. Viken Haladjian, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the ACCC. Present at the gathering prior to the commencement of the march were Mr. Steve Pound, MP, North Ealing and Councillor Bassam Mahfouz.
AT the Cenotaph Fr. Vahan started the memorial ceremony by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer (Hayr Mér), followed by the singing of the hymn Lord Have Mercy (Dér choghormya), and a special prayer in Armenian and English for the souls of the martyrs. This was followed by the laying of three wreaths by the Primate, Mr. Palamoudian and Dr. Vahe Gabryelian, Ambassador, Republic of Armenia. Following the laying of the wreaths, the crowd, led by the scouts, started singing the national anthem of the Republic of Armenia. The ceremony ended with a brief prayer by Fr. Vahan.
Many thanks and heartfelt gratitude to the members of the April 24 committee of the ACCC, CRAG, the Armenian Scouts and the London police forces for coordinating and escorting such a well planned and successfully accomplished march.

Expanding the Bible Study program

For three consecutive Tuesdays now, the Bible Study group has been growing to almost 50 people as of our last session on Tuesday, 27 April. It is indeed an inspiring experience to be part of the fellowship of so many Armenians from different walks of life and at different ages gathered around to read and understand the Word of God.

Due to space and availability limitations in the Nevart Gulbenkian Hall, and due to the increase in the number of Armenian speaking participants, the people gathered decided to create a second group to focus on reading and discussing the Bible in the Armenian Bible. However, again due to scheduling conflicts and space limitations the second group will not be able to start its session in Armenian until Tuesday, 25 May. Meanwhile, the Bible Study group will meet to read and discuss the Bible in English on Wednesday evenings.

Our next Bible Study group in English will be next Wednesday at 7:00pm in the first floor of Jakob’s restaurant. All are welcome.

Did You Know?

The title “Christ” in English comes from the Greek Christos (thus the Armenian Krisdos) which is from the stem for a word meaning “chrism” or “ointment.” Christos, in Greek therefore means the “anointed one.” In the Bible, anointing a person was a ceremony of dedicating that person to a specific function or duty. Kings, for example, were anointed to lead their people. Priests, on the other hand, were anointed to teach and preach God’s will and commandments. Christos, thus was expected to be the one anointed by God to save and deliver his people. Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary, through his ministry, miracles, teachings, death and resurrection, fulfilled the plan for which God had sent Him to earth. He was “anointed” by God’s spirit to fulfill His plan for humanity. The Hebrew word for “anointing” is mashah. Thus the Hebrew for Christ, i.e. “the anointed one” is Mashiah or Messiah.

Church Announcements:

Bible Study: The next Bible Study group in English will meet on Wednesday, 5 May at 7:00pm in the first floor of Jakobs Restaurant (20 Gloucester Road. London SW7 4RB, Tel. 020 7581 9292). The next Bible Study session in Armenian will be on Tuesday, 25 May, at 7:30pm in the Nevart Gulbenkian Hall.

E-List: In order to improve our online services we have decided to classify the e-mail addresses of those living in Wales and Edinburgh in separate groups. If you live, or know someone who lives, in Wales or Edinburgh please send us your or that person’s e-mail indicating the location. Thanks.

Please Note: Due to the ongoing renovations in the Vicarage and the St. Sarkis Church Office, the publication of the weekly bulletin has been postponed until the renovations are complete. Among the weekly announcements, the bulletin will publish the names of the deceased for whom Hogehangist is requested. Please be advised that the clergy or the offices of the churches must receive the Hokehankisd request—the latest—by Friday morning. The bulletin will be printed Friday afternoon. Requests for Hokehankisd can be made any time after Friday morning and will be remembered during the Sunday prayers, but will not be printed in the bulletin nor announced during the sermon.

Prayers in London for the Armenian Martyrs

There were two requiem services (Hokehankisd) offered in Armenian Churches in London as part of the ongoing commemoration of the Armenian martyrs of the 1915 Genocide. On Saturday, 24 April, and following the emotional and inspiring march and prayer ceremonies at the Cenotaph, the crowd returned to St. Sarkis church for a solemn evensong followed by a Hokehankisd service. At the end of the evensong, a procession by the members of the choir and deacons led the clergy accompanied by His Excellency Dr. Vahe Gabryelian, Ambassador, and Mr. Ara Palamoudian, chairman of ACCC to the Khachkar (Cross-Stone) in the church plaza for the Hokehankisd service. At the end of the service His Excellency Dr. Gabryelian and Mr. Palamoudian laid to wreaths at the Khachkar. Fr. Vahan offered a homily highlighting the great sacrifice of the martyrs and focused on the commitment of the martyrs to their faith and identity as an example to emulate by us and by generations to come.

On the following day, Sunday, 25 April, Fr. Nerses Nersesian led the faithful in the celebration of the Badarak (Divine Liturgy), presided over by our Primate. Following the distribution of Communion, Fr. Vahan delivered his sermon in which he called upon the faithful to take the martyrdom of those massacred during the Genocide as a witness and example of committing one’s life to the gospel, faith, church and people.

“If the Ottomans cut the tongues of those who spoke Armenian,” said our Primate, “we have to make sure that every Armenian child has the opportunity to learn his or her language. If the Ottoman Asakir burned and desecrated churches in an effort to divorce us from the faith of our forefathers, it is our duty to make sure that we learn and understand our faith and work together on strengthening the mission of our church. If the caravans of deportations were intended to dissect our nation and disperse us, we need to make sure that we rise above any disagreement and personal conflict to maintain and support the unity of our people, especially in the diaspora.”

Following the sermon, members of the choir and deacons formed a procession in the central isle of the church, leading the Fr. Vahan and Fr. Nerses, followed by His Excellency Dr. Vahe Gabryelian, Ambassador, and Mr. Ara Palamoudian, chairman of ACCC, to the Khachkar (Cross-Stone) in the plaza of the Cathedral where the ceremony of the laying of the wreaths and Hokehankisd took place.

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