St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Catharines, Ontario celebrated its 81st anniversary on Sunday, November 13, 2011 in a similar fashion to the celebration of its sister church St. Mary two weeks prior.
The parishioners of the church were eager to see the many priests and deacons, who were to lead them in prayers and supplications to the Lord on that auspicious day. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Eminence Bishop Bagrat Galstanian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Canada. He was duly assisted by Rev. Fr. Serop Azarian, Pastor of St. Gregory Armenian Church, and Rev. Fr. Myron Sarkisian, Pastor of St. Vartan Armenian Apostolic Church of Mississauga.
The deacons who were serving the Holy Altar were Deacons Albert Amato, Manuel Akjambazian, Harout Zakarian and Van Vanes. The choir was led by Deacon Garbis Zakarian. Present and assisting the choir was the Rev. Fr. Parsegh Vanlian.
During the Divine Liturgy the Primate ordained Mr. Harout Minoyan into the diaconate with the rich prayers and supplications to the Lord to make him a worthy servant to take upon himself the lovesome burden and yoke of Jesus Christ. The Primate along with Father Serop and Father Myron laid their hands on him and prayed to God for the same. Bishop Bagrat congratulated the newly ordained deacon, his family and all our parishioners for this day and wished them the dedicated service in the fields of the Lord.
The Parish also honoured the dedicated surviving veterans of the Second World War as Richard Hoogasian, Harry Petti and Andrew Chichakian, and one more disabled veteran Ashod Kuderian in Windsor received the honourable Holy Cross medal of the Diocese by the hands His Eminence Bishop Bagrat who congratulated them and prayed upon them for good health, long life and happy days. Mr. Ara Boyajian, Chairman of the Diocesan Council and Mrs. Apet Alpay, Treasurer of the Diocesan Council also congratulated the veterans for this unique and special day and wished them the best in life.
Following the sacramental celebrations, the congregation gathered at the Babayan Hall downstairs to complete the joy of the day. There were guests from Toronto, Hamilton, New York and other locations. The Master of Ceremonies was Arsen Kassabian. Deacon Harout Minoyan gave a speech, where recalling his beginnings in the Armenian church and to the current day, he thanked the Primate the Pastor and many participants for the trust and love exhibited to him and vowed to serve the church in humility and love to all parishioners.
Mr. Ara Boyajian the Diocesan Chairman advised all to stick together in a wise and mindful story and offered his congratulations. The children and their parents and parishioners gathered donated gifts and lighted candles on this occasion. Fr. Serop led all in singing for the church. He gave his pastoral word to all reminding them of the duties of a “” ‘Doulos’ The servant or slave to Christ Jesus, and encouraged all participants to enthusiastic dedication, participation, offering and taking part of the church. He encouraged the parents of the children to bring them to church and make them part of this holy establishment. He thanked the chefs Dcn. Vahan Boulganian and Yeghia Ohanian for a meal well prepared and wished them well.
At the culmination of the event, Bishop Bagrat thanked all the ladies who worked for the church and recognized their many years of service, he gave his benedictions and the parishioners departed in peace and joy. St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church remembers its 81 years of service to the faithful in humility, love and joy and looks forward to more years of service as the first Armenian established church in Canada.