Sunday Messenger

September 17, 2023

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Scripture and Feast Day Notes 

From Today’s Readings

John 3:13-21 The Pharisee Nicodemus has privately sought Jesus to learn more and just heard what it means to be born again in the Holy Spirit, into a new life. Here Jesus tells him that God the Father sent His Son into the world not to condemn it but to save it, so that all who believe in Him might have eternal life.  Light has prevailed over darkness and all are invited to live in that light for God’s glory. Discuss/reflect: Imagine that who you are is like a dark room and God’s bright light reveals all its hidden places. What would it disclose?

Galatians 6:14-18 St. Paul declares that the cross is the only source of pride and joy to him and that in Christ the world has been crucified to him. His past, his “tribe,” his earthly affiliations mean nothing – he has been made new in Christ (v.15). Discuss/reflect: Prayerfully read verse 14 as if you were making this declaration. Read and re-read. Is it as true for you as it was for St. Paul? If not, describe what it would mean in your life if it were.

Isaiah 49:13-23 A refrain of joyous comfort from God who declares that His people will never be forgotten. “Lift up your eyes and look around” the Lord declares (v.18). Even if they feel forsaken, in ruin, God reminds them that His love is more powerful than that of a mother for her child. The analogy of a mother’s love in verse 15 is another example of God’s tenderness expressed in female imagery Discuss/reflect: Why is it hard to remember God’s love and blessings in the midst of difficulty? What might it take for you to “shout for joy”?

Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross is one of the five major feasts (daghavars) of the Armenian Church, observed on the Sunday nearest September 14. On that day, there is a procession and an antasdan service, which is the blessing of the fields, popularly known as the four corners of the world.

In early times, the most important church in Jerusalem was named the Church of the Holy Cross. It had been built over the place where Jesus was crucified. Every year, the bishop would take out a relic of the cross and elevate it over his head for the people to honor and venerate. This ceremony is the origin of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Traditionally, we connect another story to this Feast Day. In the 7th century, the Persians captured the cross of our Lord after devastating the city of Jerusalem. Emperor Heracles fought a battle against them (in which Armenian troops participated) and liberated the cross. Upon his return, he exalted it in Christian lands, including Armenia, through which the victorious army carried it back to Jerusalem. Activity: On this feast day, put a small cross in your pocket and reflect reverently throughout the day on Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice changed your life now and for all eternity.

Support Artists from Armenia: This year’s Harvest Bazaar will feature an encore of our Armenian Gift Market – Vernisage – with a variety of merchandise from Armenia which will surely delight those who visit our booth to view the products. We are seeking donors who will underwrite the purchase of these items and by doing so will, in turn, help support the work of the artists. For more information, contact Cece Garibian (267-210-0670), Tanya Paretchan (215-530-7847) or Gena DerHagopian Willard (215-805-6559).

Coming In The Fall – New Mission Sponsored by ACE
Please join us this Fall to create a “sisterhood” for the women of our church who have lost their husband or life partner.  Whether your loss is recent or long ago, we want to learn from one another for spiritual, social, and informational growth to enrich our lives despite our losses.  More information will follow.  For questions, please call Lucy Aghazarian, 215-901-7642 or email her lmardikian@hotmail.com.

Intriguing News From FAR
Have you ever pondered what could be created from pig intestines? It’s an unconventional focus, but that’s the daily work of Zaruhi Karabekyan, an award-winning Armenian scientist leading a groundbreaking effort to revolutionize wound treatment. Motivated by the 2020 Artsakh war and the scarcity of artificial skin models in Armenia, she and her team are crafting a unique skin substitute from pig intestines. As a first-time recipient of the Fund for Armenian Relief’s (FAR) Yervant Terzian Armenian National Science and Education Fund (ANSEF), Ms. Karabekyan’s innovative project aims to provide an affordable, locally sourced alternative to imported skin substitutes. Her team’s pioneering approach promises to reshape wound healing by turning challenges into stepping stones on the path to progress. And she’s just one of the many stellar researchers receiving vital funding from FAR. Read more here: https://www.farusa.org/post/engineering-science-for-healthcare

September 24: Church School opening: We are thrilled to inform our faithful, especially our young families, that Church School is back and IN PERSON!  Both the Language Education and Christian Education divisions of our school will hold Registration on Sunday, September 24 starting at 10:30 in the church lobby—there is no registration or book fee. Help us spread the word—every child is welcome. After Badarak, our faithful are invited to join us for a pizza party!

The Kiss Of Peace: After the gifts of the Eucharist are brought to the Altar Table, the deacon proclaims, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”  The person giving the greeting says, Kristos ee mech mer Haydnetsav – Christ is revealed amongst us.  The recipient would respond, Orhnial eh Haydnootiunun Kristosee – Blessed is the revelation of Christ.

Attic Treasures – Bazaar 2023: We are ready to accept your donations for Attic Treasures. Please bring your new or gently used items, and place them in the bar area.   Thank you.

Lost & Found: Please take a look at the coat racks in the hallway as we have begun to accumulate miscellaneous pieces of clothing.  We will be donating any remaining items to charity in November.

Sept 21 – Armenian Independence Day
Sept 21 – Zoom Book Club
Sept 24 – Church School Begins
–10:30 am – Registration for Christian Education Classes and Language Education Classes starts in the Fellowship Hall lobby
–11:15 am – Christian Education Classes begin.
–12:15 pm – Pizza Party for students
Oct 1 – Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak
Oct 1 – 10:30 – Armenian Language Classes begin
Oct 1 – 11:15 am Christian Education Classes continue
Oct 1 – ACYOA Car Wash Event after service today