For the first time at St. John Armenian Church, a new tradition was celebrated on the occasion of the New Year. On January 1, 2017, following the Divine Liturgy, pomegranates were blessed in accordions with the right established by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholics of All Armenians, just a few years ago. The blessed fruits, which are of great symbolic important to the Armenian people, were distributed to the faithful to enjoy with their families, or take home to loved ones were are unable to attend church.
The faithful of the St. John community gathered together in the true spirit of the Christmas season on December 24, 2016, to experience the long-standing tradition of the Candlelight Service, which features hymns, Christmas carols, and the Children's Nativity pageant.
During the Holiday season, and throughout the year, Christians are called to be generous for the benefit of those in need. As Christ said, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40). In that spirit, several parish families, led by the Karamyan family worked together to prepare several Turkey meals that were delivered to local shelters.
On the evening of Sunday, December 11 St. John joined other member parishes of the Eastern Churches of the Bay Area (ECoBA), for a celebratory Christmas concert featuring One Voice, a band consisting of members across many denominations and communities.
St. John Parish was proud to participate in this event, represented by Garo and Nadima Avakian, who sang a selection from popular Armenian fold musicologist Komitas.
With Christmas quickly approaching, the faithful of St. John Armenian Church gathered for the Annual Christmas Party, an occasion when the parish hosts a common meal and welcomes the community at large to have a pleasant time in the spirit of the Christmas season, conditioning our hearts to receive the love-filled and glorious birth of Jesus Christ.
During the Divine Liturgy, the children of the parish were invited to come forward and receive a special Christmas message about the importance of generosity.
On December 4, 2016, the families of St. John gathered together to decorate the parish complex for the Christmas season. This annual activity instills unites the parish community in a festive sense celebration, as we prepare ourselves to mark the miraculous birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Priest.
Sunday, November 13, 2016, following the church service, a poetry reading and book signing event was held at Paul Family Fellowship hall organized by St. John Armenian Church. Poet James Baloian read poems from his newly published poems called “Photo of an Unknown Ancestor” accompanied by live music with Max Baloian and friends.
James was not reciting his poems, but living them. He read them slowly and naturally, with affection and emotion.
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.
The much anticipated Summer Benefit Concert was held on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at St. John Armenian Church, Paul Family Hall. The three talented and promising young Armenian artists, Nadima Avakian, soprano; Karo Avakian, tenor; and Astghik Sakanyan, pianist, captured the audience by their outstanding performance. Fr. Mesrop Ash welcomed and thanked everyone for not only supporting these artists, but also supporting the Mer Houys organization.