Easter is the central holy day of our church calendar, as it commemorates the discovery of Christ’s empty tomb and the news of his glorious resurrection. This year, the Ottawa Armenian community celebrated Holy Easter Divine Liturgy, at St. Mesrob Armenian Church, on April 15, 2012, which coincided with the Orthodox Easter celebrations in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem.
On this joyous occasion, Rev. Fr. Myron Sarkissian, Pastor of Mississauga’s St. Vartan Church, returned to Ottawa to celebrate the Soorp Badarak in an evening service, with the assistance of the acolytes of the Church, Yeghia Sarkissian, Kevork Atamian, and Arsen Ovsepian, a recent arrival to our Diocese from Armenia. Also present in Ottawa, and assisting in the service with participation in the choir, was Mr. Varujan Margarian, Choirmaster of the Montreal Armenian Cathedral’s Gomidas Choir. The Church was full of the faithful of the community, who had come together on this high feast day, to share in the exceptional moving and heartwarming atmosphere of communal worship. Our choir, the vocal and instrumental soloists, the overhead projection of the Holy Liturgy to guide the congregation in prayer and hymn singing, provided all the opportunity to join in the spirit of the day. A particular moving moment to highlight in the service, was the harmonious recitation of “Havadamk;” as the words were viewed on the projector, each one of the faithful, repeated the words with exceptional thoughtful and solemn understanding of our creed.
Der Myron began the homily, with expressions of his heartfelt joy to be back with the St. Mesrob Ottawa community. His sermon continued with the lesson of the Glorious Resurrection of Christ affirming the miracle of the Resurrection as the source of all miracles. The empty Tomb of Christ is a testament to Christ’s Glorious and Victorious Resurrection and to His everlasting divine light that has found shelter in the hearts of Christian faithful. In his homily, Der Myron stressed that as Christians we must cleanse our hearts to allow Christ to come in. We must recognize that in our lives, after every suffering, there is the Resurrection. After the darkness and suffering of Good Friday, is the coming of the Glorious Easter, and the light it brings to us. This is to remind us that we must trust God, and allow the time for God to bring us the light and hope into our lives.
In accordance with our Church Calendar, the Monday following Holy Easter is a Memorial Day when a Requiem Service is held for all our beloved departed souls. On this occasion, in memorial to the upcoming commemoration of April 24, we offered our prayers for all the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. Special hokihantes services were requested and offered in memory for the souls of members of the Iskedjian family.
At the conclusion of the service, Der Myron invited all the children and the youth to approach the alter and take part in the processional around the Church. Der Myron, the acolytes carrying the banner of the Glorious Resurrection of Christ, and the children circled the Church in a festive processional.
After thanking the Parish Council, the choir, organist, the acolytes and Mr. Varujan Margarian and those all present, Der Myron extended an invitation on behalf of the Parish Council to take part in the reception prepared for the occasion. The faithful then headed to the Church auditorium to see friends and meet with new members to the community for a celebration of d traditional game of egg-breaking, havgitakhagh, and other Easter treats which was enjoyed by all and most especially the children.
St Mesrob Church community extends our greetings to our Deacon in Charge Ivan Gyadayan who was not present with us in Ottawa on this day, as he was traveling with Bishop Galstanian and a group of Canadian Armenians on a pilgrimage in Jerusalem on the occasion of Holy Easter. “Krisdos Hariav ee Merelotz” Deacon Gyadayan.
Next St. Mesrob Church service is scheduled for: May 20, 2012