Armenian Apostolic Church of Crescenta Valley-Education Committee
6252 Honolulu Ave.
Lacrescenta, CA. 91214
Tel: 818-244-9645
E-mail: [email protected]

Prelate H.E. Abp. Moushegh Mardirossian Lectures on the Canonization


On Sunday, February 22, 2015, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian,
Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at the
Armenian Apostolic Church of Crescenta Valley. Following the service, by the
invitation of the parish Educational Committee, the Prelate delivered a
lecture on the canonization of Armenian Genocide martyrs.

The day began with Divine Liturgy celebrated by parish pastor Rev. Fr.
Ghevont Kirazian. By the ordinance of the Prelate and at the request of the
Armenian Relief Society Regional Executive, on this day requiem prayers were
offered in Prelacy Churches in memory of departed ARS members and sponsors.

Near the conclusion of the service, on behalf of the parish family, Fr.
Ghevont welcomed the Prelate and wished for God to bless him with many years
of good health and leadership of the Western Prelacy. He then invited the
Prelate to deliver the sermon.

His Eminence began by explaining the meaning and message of each Sunday of
Great Lent, then focused on the message of that day, Sunday of the
Expulsion, which recounts the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. Last
Sunday, on the eve of Great Lent, we celebrated the good life that Adam and
Eve enjoyed in Paradise in the presence of God. This Sunday, we recall the
consequences when they disobeyed God's commandment, said the Prelate.
However, it was not the will of our merciful Lord for man to live a life
apart from Him, for man to be consumed with sin and death. And so, God
opened the path for our return to Him, He gives us the opportunity for
redemption, through sincere repentance and confession, concluded the
Prelate.

His Eminence then conveyed his message to the Armenian Relief Society
commending the organization's invaluable contributions to our nation in the
past 105 years and praying for the souls of the departed to rest in peace.
The service came to a close with the requiem. Guests enjoyed a reception
prepared by the parish Ladies Guild, after which they took their seats at
the "Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian" Hall for the Prelate's lecture.

Parish Board of Trustees Chair and Master of Ceremonies Mr. Dikran Der
Sarkissian welcomed the guests and invited violinist Ophelia Nanakoulian and
pianist Shoushan Hagopian to present two musical selections. He then invited
the Prelate to deliver his presentation. His Eminence first commended the
Parish Pastor, Board of Trustees, and Educational Committee for their hard
work in organizing the monthly lecture series, and then began his lecture,
giving unique insight to the guests as a member of the Canonization
Committee.

The Prelate began by noting that preliminary discussions to canonize the
martyrs of the Armenian Genocide began twenty-five years ago, on the 75th
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, by His Holiness Vazken I and His
Holiness Karekin II of blessed memory. At the time, Archbishop Zareh
Aznavorian of blessed memory composed the hymn dedicated to the martyrs,
which the Prelate read passages from. The hymn memorializes our martyrs who
shed their blood for the preservation of our Christian faith, our Armenian
identity, and our religious and cultural treasures.

His Eminence spoke about the two Bishops' Synods that were held in
Etchmiadzin in 2013 and 2014, stating that one of the issues discussed was
whether the martyrs should be canonized as individuals or collectively.
After lengthy deliberations, the Canonization Committee had decided that at
this stage, the martyrs would be canonized collectively, as the 1036 martyrs
of the Vartanants battle were. The Committee had also prepared the
declaration, the martyrology, and the procedure for the ceremony, which were
presented and approved by the Bishops' Synod. Archbishop Zareh's Hymn
Dedicated to the Martyrs of April was also adopted for the ceremony, which
will be conducted on April 23 in Etchmiadzin by H.H. Karekin II, Catholicos
of all Armenians, and H.H. Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.


The Prelate explained the various conditions required for canonization; a
virtuous life, the embodiment of Christian virtues and the presence of the
Holy Spirit in their lives, martyrdom as a profession of faith, the presence
of miracles during their life, the incorruptibility of relics,
thaumaturgical power of relics, reveal signs of God's authority in response
to prayers for intercession by faithful, and witnessing for the spread of
the Christian faith, for the defense of the church and the Orthodox tenet,
and for God's Word. In the past, said His Eminence, people have been
regarded as saints for miracles performed during their lifetime, while in
the case of others, their relics have been found by future generations by
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There are also martyrs who were
proclaimed saints by Catholicoi, or who were honored with special feast
days.

In the last part of this lecture, His Eminence explained that status of our
martyrs post-canonization. He first clarified that we do not worship saints,
we seek their intercession. Also, upon canonization, we will no longer offer
requiem prayers for them, instead they will be remembered during Divine
Liturgy.

A question and answer session followed and the event came to a close with
the benediction.