Bishop Bagrat Galstanian led a traditional Divine Liturgy on August 21, 2011 at St. Mesrob Armenian Church of Ottawa, with the assistance of Der Gomidas, Pastor of Holy Cross Church of Laval Quebec, and Deacon Ivan Gyadayan. With a full congregation of the faithful of Ottawa in attendance and the melodic singing of the Holy Badarak by the church choir, the evening candle lit service was a particularly special occasion to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption, our Soorp Asdvadsazin, and also offer special memorial services for the souls who have departed.

In his sermon, Bishop Bagrat spoke of the mission of our Church and reminded the faithful that it is the Church of the living God. He encouraged the faithful to carry forth its work through service to God as each person is important to the life of the community. In speaking of strong faith and participation, he congratulated the choir for illuminating the Church as they led the faithful in the hymn singing. Serpazan spoke of Der Myron, our past visiting pastor and his new mission in Mississauga, Ontario and consequently introduced Deacon Ivan Gyadayan, a graduate of the Armenian seminary of St. James in Jerusalem, as the visiting Deacon to assist with St. Mesrob Church community.

Also on this occasion, the Primate was honored to welcome the newly appointed and recent arrival to Ottawa, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Canada, His Excellency Mr. Armen Yeganian, and his gracious wife Mrs. Maria Yeganian. Bishop Galstanian extended his deep and heartfelt compliments and greetings to the Yeganian Family and conveyed his enthusiastic and sincere hope that each Armenian in Canada would provide their fullest support to the efforts of the Embassy. In turn, Ambassador Yeganian offered his appreciation for the kind remarks of Primate Galstanian and expressed his strong commitment to continue and further the established important work of the Embassy of Armenia for the betterment of relations for Armenia and Canada.

Bishop Galstanian extended a special note of appreciation and gratitude to the tireless efforts of our Choir Master, organist, and vocal and instrumental soloists, who have been working tirelessly and diligently, to add the beautiful sacred music of our Holy Badarak to our Ottawa Church services.

The service for the Blessing of the Grapes was held highlighting a high holiday of our Church calendar. Grapes are known as the blood and tears of Armenia. Praying for a bountiful grape harvest is our tradition, as the wine made from grapes symbolizes the blood of Christ. As Bishop Bagrat invited all the children to approach the alter to take part in the Alleluia service for the blessing of the grapes, he reflected that perhaps the local Canadian grape growing regions like Niagara have benefited from the knowledge brought to the area by the early Armenian settlers.

Following Church Service, the community gathered to enjoy refreshments and hospitality hour. Thank you to the Parish Council and all the members of the community for offerings of delicacies for the sweet table for everyone’s enjoyment. We look forward to celebrating together throughout the coming new 2011 and 2012 Church calendar season.