A historic chapter was written in the life of the Western Diocese on October 20, 2013 as H.B. Abp. Nourhan Manougian presided over the solemn celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral. The celebrant was the Very Rev. Fr. Norayr Kazazyan, member of the monastic Brotherhood of St. James who accompanied the Patriarch on his inaugural visit to the Western Diocese.
Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Presides Over Divine Liturgy Service at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral
Participating in the service were the Primate, H.E. Abp. Vatche Hovsepian, H.E. Abp. Yeprem Tabakian, the Very Rev. Fr. Baret Dz. V. Yeretzian, the Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Dz. V. Yardemian, the Very Rev. Fr. Norayr Zargaryan (visiting clergyman from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin), Archpriest Fr. Dr. Zaven Arzoumanian, Archpriest Fr. Sipan Mekhsian, Archpriest Fr. Datev Tatoulian, Archpriest Fr. Vartan Kasparian, and the Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan.
During the service, prolific writer and author Nahabed Melkonian was honored by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenian for his contribution to the cultural life in the Diaspora. Approaching the nave with his wife Ani, Melkonian received the St. Sahag – St. Mesrop medal.
Archbishop Derderian congratulated the honoree and commended the dedication with he has served the Armenian Church and the community. The accompanying Pontifical Encyclical was read by Cathedral’s Pastor Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan. His Holiness reflected on Melkonian’s leadership as the President of Jerusalem’s Holy Translators’ Alumni Association and his loyal support of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
During the service, the Armenian Patriarch and Primate consecrated a Cross Stone in memory of the late H.B. Abp. Yeghishe Tourian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem. The “khatchkar” was dedicated by the Alumni Association of The Holy Translators Armenian School of Jerusalem.
His Beatitude thanked the Diocesan Primate for the cordial welcome and for the opportunity to address the faithful of the Western Diocese. “From the Holy City of Jerusalem, I greet you with the love and peace of our Resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and extend to you my pastoral blessings,” said the Patriarch addressing the congregation. “For centuries, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the monastic Brotherhood of St. James has safeguarded the treasures of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the Holy City. We have preserved the Armenian identity and have adhered to the Christian values and principles conveyed to us by Christ, the Savior,” said His Beatitude.
In his homily, the Patriarch stressed the importance of the Cross of Christ in the life of each Armenian Christian. “In the Cross of our Savior, the Armenian nation sought refuge and resurrection. We, as a nation, have believed in the cross, for it serves as a source of spiritual strength and inspiration,” said the Armenian Patriarch.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, a Requiem Service (Hokehankist) was held for the departed soul of H.B. Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, 96th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, on the occasion of the first year of his passing.
Following the service, the faithful greeted the Armenian Patriarch at a reception in the Hampar Family Room.