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Saintly Women’s Day Observed in Massachusetts

Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford, Mass., hosted a statewide Saintly Women’s Day observance earlier this month, with a service and program commemorating the oil bearing women at Jesus’s tomb. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), presided over the day’s activities.

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Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 686-0710; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: chrisz@armeniandiocese.org
Website: www.armenianchurch-ed.net
March 11, 2013
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Saintly Women’s Day Observed in Massachusetts
Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford, Mass., hosted a statewide Saintly Women’s Day observance earlier this month, with a service and program commemorating the oil bearing women at Jesus’s tomb. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), presided over the day’s activities.
Following a service in the sanctuary on Saturday, March 2, some 100 guests gathered for a dinner and program organized by the Chelmsford Women’s Guild. Participants included clergy and Women’s Guild members from the following Massachusetts churches: Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, St. James Church of Watertown, Church of Our Saviour of Worcester, and the Armenian Church at Hye Pointe of Haverhill. In addition, Women’s Guild members from Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of Providence, R.I., and the pastor of Holy Translators Church of Framingham, Mass., took part in the commemoration.
Keynote speaker the Honorable Mary Anne Sahagian, Essex Probate and Family Court First Justice and a Sts. Vartanantz Church parishioner, reflected on how her faith guided her throughout her career, and how it helped her handle difficult cases surrounding children and families.
Judge Sahagian also spoke of her grandmother’s influence on her as a child, and described personal faith experiences. She added that women play an important role in carrying forward the mission of the Armenian Church, and serve as role models for their families.
Remarks were also made by Milka Jeknavorian, chair of the Chelmsford Women’s Guild chapter; parish council chair Carol Hildebrand; and Zita Butler, vice chair of the Women’s Guild Central Council.
“It is inspiring to see women of faith from our parishes come together in prayer and fellowship,” said the Rev. Fr. Khachatur Kesablyan. “We not only learn from the example of the pious women at Christ’s tomb, but also from the many dedicated servants of the Lord among us today.”
Archbishop Barsamian expressed his gratitude to the Chelmsford Women’s Guild for organizing Saturday’s commemoration (the luncheon was served by the Men’s Club). “May God continue to strengthen our Women’s Guild chapters across the Diocese,” he said. “Following in the example of the oil bearing women, they bring the light of Christ into our homes and communities.”
On Saturday evening, the Primate met with members of the parish council and Diocesan delegates to review recent and upcoming parish activities. Archbishop Barsamian also outlined resources available from the Diocese for the parish’s various ministries.
On Sunday, March 3, Fr. Kesablyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy, with Archbishop Barsamian presiding. A 40th-day requiem service, or karasoonk, in memory of the Very Rev. Fr. Ghevont Samoorian followed services.
In his sermon, Archbishop Barsamian spoke about the period of Great Lent, emphasizing the parable of the Unjust Steward, which was observed on March 3. He reminded the faithful that we are called to be good stewards in the vineyard of our Lord.
The Primate also spoke about the life of the late Fr. Samoorian and the special role he played in the Chelmsford parish.
“Fr. Ghevont was one of the earliest American-born Armenians to enter the priesthood of our church,” Archbishop Barsamian said. “In many ways he showed that a new generation of our people, born in a new land, could indeed feel at home in an ancient heritage. Through his efforts, he even managed to bring that heritage to others—as he did most visibly through this church, Sts. Vartanantz Church in Chelmsford, which he affectionately called ‘Little Ani.'”
Later on Sunday, Archbishop Barsamian joined a group of ACYOA Juniors, led by Fr. Kesablyan, on a visit to the parish’s most senior member. The group surprised Tatios Tom Magarian with a cake and warm birthday wishes on the occasion of his 99th birthday.
Archbishop Barsamian said a prayer for Mr. Magarian and blessed him on this special occasion. The visit was organized by Fr. Kesablyan as part of the ACYOA’s ongoing effort to visit elderly parishioners.
“Our visit with Mr. Magarian was a touching ending to an enriching weekend,” said Fr. Kesablyan. “The Primate’s visit always injects our community with new energy. It is in this spirit of renewal that we look forward to the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord.”   
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Photos attached.
Photo 1: From left: Milka Jeknavorian, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Honorable Mary Anne Sahagian, and Rev. Fr. Khachatur Kesablyan.
Photo 2: The Saintly Women’s Day service at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Chelmsford.
Photo 3: The ACYOA Juniors wish Mr. Tatios Tom Magarian a happy 99th birthday.
PublicRelations [publicrelations@armeniandiocese.org]

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