On Sunday, September 11, 2016, St. John Armenian Church celebrated The Feast of Exaltation of the Cross which is the last of the five major feasts in the calendar of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It was a memorable day in the life of the parish not only becaues the profound victory of the Holy Cross was celebrate, but because it brought the community together to honor several important milestones.
It was also the 15th anniversary of the most fatal terrorist attacks that took the lives of more than 3000 innocent people, and special prayers were offered during the hymn Der Voghormya or Lord Have Mercy.
This Sunday also marked the reopening of the St. John Sunday School. The registered students, teachers, and parents attended Divine Liturgy to receive Holy Communion and to hear a special spiritual message delivered by Fr. Mesrop Ash.
Following the service Fr. Mesrop blessed the basil (a symbol of royalty) and invited everyone to gather in the parking lot where he conducted Antasdan service which is the blessing of the four corners, in conjunction with the dedication of the mosaic mural installed on the eastern wall of Ashjian Room.
Thanks to the generous donation from Rev. Fr. Artoon Sempadian's Memorial Fund, the beautiful Tree of Life concept created and installed by artist Kim Larson, with the help of Sunday School Students and Ladies Society, was able to come to life. Fr. Mesrop Ash, praised and thanked all the former parish priests especially, Fr. Artoon who was the first parish priest of St. John Armenian Church at its current location. He had a special love for children and gardening, which made the content of the mural all the more appriopriate. Fr. Mesrop also thanked Cissy Baloian for overseeing the project from the beginning till the end. He invited Fr. Artoon's wife, Yeretsgin Betty Sempadian to cut the ribbon and thanked her for dedicating her life the church and supporting St. John Armenian Church for more than 30 years along with her husband.
The ceremony concluded in the courtyard where Fr. Mesrop blessed the newly installed benches and decorative landscaping, donated by Sona Thomasian in honor of her family.