Armenians throughout the world joined together to commemorate the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. Hundreds of thousands Armenians participated in marches, attended concerts, Ecumenical services and other events. For Bay Area Armenians this was no exception. On of their commemorative events took place on Sunday May 3rd, as all the Bay Area Clergy of the Armenian Churches came together to celebrate Divine Liturgy and offer thanks to God for the resurrection of the Armenian Nation, at St. John Armenian Church. The service was exceedingly well attended, and additional seating was provided at the Paul Family Hall where attendees were able to follow the simulcasted service.
It was a moving tribute to the Saints of the Armenian Genocide as the clergy of the Bay Area collectively offered there service unto God. The event was orchestrated and hosted by Rev. Fr. Mesrop Ash. Archpriest Rev. Fr. Khoren Habeshian, the Parish Priest of St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church celebrated the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Hovel Ohanyan, Parish Priest of St. Vartan Church, served as the Liturgical Coordinator of the services. Archpriest Rev. Fr. Datev Harutyunian, Regional Vicar and Parish Priest of St. Andrew Armenian Church, presided and would offer the Spiritual Message on the occasion. Rev. James Kizirian, of the Bethel Congregational Church attended and offered the reading from the epistles. A short intermission followed the sacrament in order to prepare for the Ecumenical Service.
As the Ecumenical Service commenced religious leaders from throughout the Bay Area joined the all the Bay Area Armenian Church clergy to pray and remember the Saints of the Armenian Genocide. The newly established Holy Icon of the Saints of the Armenian Genocide as presented on the Holy Altar decorated with beautiful flower arrangements.
Fr. Mesrop Ash welcomed the clergy and the faithful and expresses his gratitude to all the religious leaders for their support and participation to this historic event, as well as the hard work of the parishioners of St. John, and all those who devoted their service to the Centennial Events. The service started with the glorious hymn Krisdos Haryav ee Merelotz followed by the Blessing of the Lamp. Three of St. John Sunday School students dressed in traditional Armenian costumes in the colors of the Armenian flag brought the light to the altar while the choir sang Oorakh Ler, Rejoice Holy Church. A Special service of the Remembrance of the Saints was conducted, and Fr. Hovel Ohanyan sang the special Hymn of Remembrance.
A series of remarks were offered by guests. Rabbi Pamela Frydman, offered remarks on behalf of the Board of Rabbis of Northern California as well as Yazidi International. Rev. Fr. Michael Barota spoke on behalf of the Assyrian Community. Finally Rev. Fr. Stephen Kyriacou spoke on behalf of the Bay Area Greek community. Each of these speaker represented a community which has or currently are suffering greatly for the sake of their faith.
Fr. Datev Harutyunian delivered the moving spiritual message on behalf of the Armenian Clergy and expressed his gratitude to the community that honored the Saints of the first Genocide of the 20th century.
The service ended with the Lord’s Prayer sang in Armenian.