In the Armenian Church, the Great Lent is observed by intense spiritual preparation and fasting, for the meaningful period allows each faithful to better comprehend the Victorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Man, who has been created in the image of God, is powerless in his nature and it is essential that his soul receives spiritual nourishment from the Living Gospel of our Savior. Whoever illuminates his soul with the Word of God witnesses the inner world revealed before him and hence, chooses to walk alongside the Creator.
What role shall the Great Lent play in our daily lives? The answer is simple. We ought to emulate Christ our Lord, by following in His footsteps and just like Christ, who after His baptism prayed and fasted for 40 days to prepare for His divine ministry, we too, ought to reaffirm our Christian character by cultivating our souls so that we may be better prepared for Christ's Holy Resurrection.
Our forefathers have laid the groundwork for the Lenten journey by introducing Lenten prayer services which enrich our spirituality. By following the daily scriptural readings and by taking part in the sunrise and vigil services, we shall feel the enlightenment of our inner world, as well as God's divine presence in our lives.
We call upon every Christian Armenian to engage in daily prayer and to read the Holy Bible on a daily basis so that your life may mirror the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for the Lenten Journey is the starting point which leads to the eventual meeting between Man and God.
Archbishop Hovnan Derderian
PrimatePublished: Fri, 05 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0800
His Eminence Archbishop Sebouh Chouldjian was the guest homilist at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral on Sunday, January 31, 2016. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan, the Cathedral's Pastor.
The Primate of the Diocese of Gougark in the province of Lori, Armenia, also participated in the two-day Diocesan clergy conference which convened on February 2, the Feast of St. Ghevont the Priest and His Companions.
Presided by the Diocesan Primate, the construction committee held a meeting at the Diocesan Headquarters on Saturday, January 30, 2016. Chaired by Mr. Armen Hampar, the committee discussed matters related to St. Leon Armenian Cathedral as well as construction projects in parishes across the Western Diocese including the ongoing construction of the Armenian Church complex of Las Vegas, The Mesrop and Marian Megerdichian Independent Senior Living Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Summer Camp Chapel and Retreat Center as well as the rebuilding of St. John Garabed Armenian Church in Hollywood in the Armenian architectural style.
The consecration of the Armenian Church of Las Vegas will be held on Friday, May 6, 2016. The Las Vegas parish will also host the 89th Annual Diocesan Assembly.
The Armenian Church of Crescenta Valley will be consecrated by the Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian on Friday, March 20, 2016.
On January 30, 2016, the Primate approved a committee which will be in charge of the preparatory work for the Christian Youth Mission to Armenia (CYMA) 2016. Members include ACYO Alumnus Raffi Mughnetsyan, ACYO Central Council member Armand Yerjanian, Burbank ACYO member Victoria Amran and San Diego's St. John Garabed Armenian Church ACYO Member Levon Parseghov. The meeting was chaired by Deacon Artak Khachikyan.
The members were assigned different tasks to begin the promotional campaign and participant recruitment for this year's month-long trip to Armenia.
The next meeting is scheduled to take place on February 20, at the Diocesan Headquarters in Burbank.
In the past few years CYMA has volunteered with the Fuller Center for Housing, Armenian Tree Project, and has organized its own social projects by building a house in Gyumri and renovating a monastery in Tavush.
In 2014, the youth participated in an immense project which included the completion of a youth center in the village of Tsovinar.
Nestled in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, St. Peter Armenian Church of Van Nuys is a vibrant parish with an energetic priest, thriving Saturday and Sunday Schools, a fellowship hall and a number of organizations that spread the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and uphold the sacred traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church. On January 31, the parishioners took part in the episcopal celebration of the Divine Liturgy. The day's celebrant and homilist was His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America.
A reception was held following the service at the church hall.
A check for $30,000 was presented to Miss Rita Terterian, CHLA's Assistant Vice President of Development by the CHLA-Western Diocese Joint Committee on Friday, January 29, 2016 at the hospital's Wilson Library. The amount exceeded the original pledge of $25,000 made in November 2014. The donation will support CHLA’s Vision Center, Cancer Center, Literary Healing Department, the Neonatal and other departments.
The official presentation was made by Mrs. Alice Chakrian, Chair of the Joint Committee who was accompanied by her fellow committee members. The Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan, Pastor of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral represented the Primate at the ceremonial event.
The CHLA-Western Diocese Committee organized their inaugural luncheon in 2014, raising $15,000 in the process. In November 2015, the committee raised another $15,000 to benefit CHLA.
Established in 2014, the CHLA/Western Diocese Joint Committee’s success depends on private contributions, your participation and support. The committee thanks the donors, supporters and all committed individuals who empower its mission to make a difference in children’s lives.
From its humble beginnings in 1957 of only a few Armenian families to the approximately 2,500 Armenian families currently living in the state of Arizona, the parishioners of St. Apkar Armenian Church have turned what was once a dream into a reality. Consecrated in September 2009 by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the Diocesan Primate, St. Apkar Armenian Church has been transformed into an exemplary parish with a vibrant youth and a thriving community.
The Scottsdale parish is the heart of the Armenian-American community as it caters to the religious needs of the community. The church also hosts a number of cultural events, conferences and symposiums. As the church complex expands, the newest addition to the vibrant parish is The Mesrop and Marian Megerdichian Independent Senior Living Center.
The groundbreaking ceremony of the Mesrop and Marian Megerdichian Independent Senior Living Center was presided by the Primate on September 19, 2015.
The construction of The Mesrop and Marian Megerdichian Independent Senior Living Center is progressing according to plan.
February 5 – Pastoral visit to Carmel
February 6 – 7 - St. Andrew Armenian Church of Cupertino – Celebrant and Homilist
February 7 – Great Barekendan
Afternoon: "Live to Create" - Shnorhali Music Committee Event
February 9 – 10 – Visitation to Armenian Schools
AGBU Manoogian Demirdjian School
AGBU Vatche Tamar Manoukian School
February 10 – Ladies Society Members Appreciation Day and Women's Prayer Day
February 10 – 11 – Hayk Mikayelyan Exhibition at the Zorayan Museum
February 13 – Diocesan Council and Endowment Fund meetings
Evening: Debutante Ball
February 14 – Feast of the Presentation of our Lord to the Temple
February 15 – 21 – Holy Etchmiadzin (Supreme Spiritual Council Meeting)
February 27 – AGBU Manoogian – Demirdjian School's 40th Anniversary celebration
Great Lent (Medz Bak) is also called Karasnork in Armenian, since it lasts forty days. Great Lent is the longest of the fasts prescribed in the liturgical calendar and it begins on the Monday following Poon Paregentan and lasts for forty days up until the Friday prior to Lazarus Saturday. Great Lent is therefore the preparatory spiritual journey with its destination of Easter, “The Feast of Feasts.” This year the Great Lent will begin on Monday, February 8th
The Liturgical Structure of Lent
Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when catechumens were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days and rededicated himself to the church through prayer, fasting and learning.
The Lenten worship is thus a school of repentance. It teaches us what repentance is and how to acquire the spirit of repentance. It prepares us for and leads us to spiritual regeneration, without which “absolution” remains meaningless. Both teach about repentance and the way of repentance. And, since there can be no real Christian life without repentance, without this constant “re-evaluation” of life; the Lenten worship is an essential part of the liturgical tradition of the Church.
Posture of the Church
During Lent, the Church maintains a penitential posture that is physically displayed by the closing of the altar curtain on the eve of Poon Paregentan as a symbolic representation of the expulsion of Adam and Eve, the first human beings, from the Garden of Eden. The faithful are thus ushered into the Lenten period as penitents seeking to return to their Creator through prayer, forgiveness and instruction. Also during Lent, it has become the practice of the church to not offer Holy Communion during Divine Liturgy, but is available to those who personally approach the celebrant.
Fasting during Lent
A special word must be said about fasting during lent. Generally speaking, fasting is an essential element of the Christian Life. Christ fasted and taught men to fast. Fasting is done in secret. It has as its goal the purification of our lives, the liberation of our souls and bodies from sin, the strengthening of our human powers of love for God and man, the enlightening of our entire being for communion with the Blessed Trinity.
Art Exhibit of Acclaimed Armenian Artist Hayk Miqayelyan At Zorayan Museum on February 10th and 11th
The members of the Zorayan Museum Committee of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church are pleased to announce an art exhibit of acclaimed Armenian painter Hayk Miqayelyan. The art exhibition of his works will be held on Wednesday, February 10, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and on Thursday, February 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese reports that this exhibition of the paintings of Hayk Miqayelyan is in keeping with the mission of the Zorayan Museum to organize exhibitions to promote understanding and appreciation of Armenian ethnic, religious and cultural diversity by exposing the beauty of Armenian heritage, and preserving and sharing the experiences with the people of the world.
In the paintings that will be exhibited, Hayk Miqayelyan is presenting Armenia Today. Hayk Madoyan, Zorayan Museum Committee member, noted that if viewers were not aware of who the person is displaying his paintings, after seeing the canvases they would undoubtedly be saying “he’s Armenian.” Viewers would say the colors are only in Armenia; this landscape is only in Armenia, only in Armenia field flowers crack the soil in this way and turn their glances to the sun."
Hayk Miqayelyan was born in 1980 in Artashat, Armenia. In 1990 he graduated from The School of Fine Art and in 2005 graduated from The Faculty of Fine Arts and Drawing, Armenian State Pedagogical University, named after Abovyan. From 2007 to date his paintings have been
exhibited in Armenia, China, France, Germany, Russia, Finland, Lithuania, Peru, Beirut, and the USA.
The exhibition is open to the public and admission is free. For further information contact the Zorayan Museum at the Western Diocese office (818) 558-7474.