First Sunday after the Octave of Theophany

Sunday Messenger

January 19, 2020

First Sunday after the Octave of Theophany

Marriage, the Great Mystery of God’s Love

When we come to the New Testament, we find that marriage is elevated to a level not even known among Jews. John, in his Gospel, tells us the famous the story of Jesus at the wedding in Cana. As the wedding celebration is moving along, something disastrous takes place. The wine runs out! But Jesus rescues the situation. He instructs them to fill six large jars with water, then draw some out, and take it to the host. That party not only resumed, but was dignified, and not with just any wine, but an exquisitely fine wine.

Jesus’ presence at the wedding in Cana affirms marriage as a good thing, a holy thing. When the wine runs out, it is Jesus who perpetuates the celebration! Furthermore, it’s notable that Jesus chooses a wedding as the occasion for his very first miracle, which underlines the importance, beauty, and centrality of marriage from a Christian perspective. By changing common water into the finest wine, Jesus elevated marriage from a common, utilitarian practice, a civil affair into a profound sacrament. In fact, marriage is the only sacrament of the Church that is referred to as a “sacrament” in the Holy Scriptures. In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul refers to marriage as a great “mystery.” The word mystery— khorhoort—means “sacrament.” (Traditionally, the Orthodox Churches refer to Sacraments as “Mysteries”).

The marriage of a man and a woman is nothing less than a reflection of God’s love for his people, a force that is so potent that its end result is unity, oneness. In that same passage from Ephesians, which we read at every Armenian wedding service, St. Paul explains that the mystery of two becoming one flesh refers to Christ and the Church. When we celebrate the crowning of a man and a woman, we celebrate Christ’s marriage to the Church. So marriage is a Holy Communion. In other words, Holy Communion is not just something placed on your tongue during Badarak. It’s the essence of the Gospel: “Emmanuel, God with us.” And that is to what the miracle at Cana points. Jesus himself is the wedding, marriage, unity of heaven and earth, divinity and humanity. God has come to earth in the person of Jesus Christ as the bridegroom to wed his bride, the Church. The Kingdom of God is here, present, in a person, in whom and with whom we become one – and also with each other, the Church, the Body of Christ.

How can God’s relationship to the Church help us understand the holiness and goal of marriage? Is marriage something that can help us draw closer to God and come to a better knowledge of him? Perhaps we know of an example of a marriage that points us to Christ. Do we understand marriage as spending the rest of our lives with a best friend, or as something more? Do we understand it as salvation, as life-giving, as drawing us closer into life in God, thus choosing a spouse accordingly?
By Dn. Eric Vozzy


1 Timothy 1: 1-11 (page 188) New Testament
John 2: 1-11 (page 85) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 54: 1-13 (pages 730-731) Old Testament

REQUIEM SERVICES: Hokehankist today will be for:

– ARYSIAK & ROBERT BADISHYAN requested by Lucy and Jessica Badishyan in loving memory of parents and grandparents.

“LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night….” (Nehemiah 1:5-6). Prayers are requested for Edward Tatoian, Rose Minassian, Ethel Terzian, Taron Poghosyan, Jan Mirijanian, Alice Charles, Armen Mirakian and Pearl Jamgochian.

NEW COMMUNION PROCEDURE – Before gathering for confession, please allow time for the Choir Members to come down and join us before we begin.

ALTAR FLOWERS are donated today by Albert Dandegian and Alice Karabian in loving memory of FLORENCE DANDEGIAN.

ALTAR CANDLES are donated by Jeanette Der Hagopian and Family in loving memory of parents and grandparents, ANN and DERAN CHOPOORIAN.

Coffee Hour is sponsored today by Lucy and Jessica Badishyan in loving memory of Arysiak and Robert Badishyan. Coffee Hour is also sponsored by the family of Annabelle Alexanian in loving memory on the 1st anniversary of her eternal life. All are welcome.

Did you know that when we participate in Soorp Badarak (Divine Liturgy), we are also being invited to a meal (communion) offered by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As such, we should dress in a manner worthy of that invitation. We ask our faithful to dress appropriately for worship. Please, no very short dresses, shorts or bare shoulders. Thank you.

January is designated FAMILY WORSHIP MONTH! Under Fr. Hakob’s leadership, our Adult Christian Education (ACE) ministry will be sponsoring several learning opportunities in January. On January 19, a SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION of selected sharagans will be presented thus enabling our faithful to appreciate and grasp, not only the beauty of our music, but also the theological depth of the lyrics. At the close of Liturgy on that date, our annual SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE and Lighting of Candles, honoring those who passed away this year, will be offered. And on January 26, a Question-and-Answer session will replace Fr. Hakob’s sermon. For more details, see the flyer available in the narthex and the church lobby.

CHURCH SCHOOL GOES TO BADARAK: Our Church School will be observing Family Worship Month by inviting families to participate in the Divine Liturgy together. Formal class instruction will not be offered during the month, but will resume in February.

Home Blessings It is part of the Armenian Church tradition to have our homes blessed regularly and especially during the seasons of Christmas and Easter. Please consider bringing this age-old practice to your home in 2020. Having this short service done in your own home will bless you and create a sense of peacefulness for you and your family. If you would like to partake of this beautiful custom, contact the church office (215-663-1600 or and request a home blessing visit from Der Hakob. Please have a piece of bread, dish of salt and glass of water prepared for the blessing service.

THE GOLDEN BOX: As part of our Family Worship Month learning initiatives, Fr. Hakob will conduct a Question-and-Answer session with the faithful during his usual sermon time on January 26. We are invited to submit questions and place them in the Golden Question Box in the narthex during the next few Sundays. This is the perfect opportunity to get answers to those “why-does-the-church” or “why-doesn’t-the-church” faith questions you’ve been wondering about. Be sure to pick up a flyer in the narthex for more information on our other Family Worship Month activities!

ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY: Scheduled for February 16, 2020 with alternate snow dates of March 1 or March 8, 2020.

REMINDER: According to the Diocesan Bylaws, membership dues are to be paid no later than December 31st each year in order to be a member in “good standing” and to be eligible to vote at the annual assembly. Any monies received after that date will be applied to the new year. For any questions regarding your status, please call the church office.

EMERGENCY CLOSINGS: In an effort to inform parishioners and guests when a Holy Trinity church service or program needs to be canceled or delayed due to inclement weather or other reasons, we request that you check our website ( or facebook page ( for the most accurate information.

HELP WANTED: Jan Mirijanian is looking for someone who can cook and do light house keeping 3 days a week in the South Jersey area. If interested contact him at 856-848-1504 or cell 856-295-3119.

CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)

Sunday January 19th: Remembrance Sunday AND Simultaneous Translation of Hymns
Saturday January 25th: Marriage Evening Retreat (5 to 9 pm): RSVP by 1/20/20
Sunday January 26th: Q and A with Fr. Hakob

Sunday February 16th: Annual Parish Assembly (snow dates 3/1 & 3/8)

2019 Attendance: Plate/Candle Collection:

1 – 69 people $309.00
8 – 122 people $623.00
15 – 66 people $559.00
22 – 81 people $372.00
29 – 76 people $401.00
Weekly Expenses: $6,000.00

FAR Helps Ambitious Young Woman to Attend Medical School – Maria Sargsyan is currently in her first year at Haybusak Medical University. “I have goals and my priority now is to study to become a competent professional,” said the 20-year-old who already holds a nursing degree and who wants to eventually become an obstetrician. Growing up in an orphanage, Maria had to make tough decisions from early childhood, which shaped her into the strong young woman she is today. Maria is supported by FAR’s Gulamerian Scholarship Program, which helps young people who have aged out of orphanages to pursue university or vocational training. The scholarship primarily covers tuition and provides a monthly stipend. She currently lives in the dormitory at Mer Doon, a local NGO that helps young women to take classes in things like ethics, Russian, English, art history and design, as well as cooking. FAR’s Gulamerian Scholarship is supporting a total of 65 students this year. To read more, go to:

Using the Pew Book: In order to enrich understanding of the Divine Liturgy, we encourage our faithful to follow along in the large two-part Pew Book. Part One includes the classical Armenian used in the Liturgy; the facing page is the translation in modern Western Armenian. Part Two contains the transliteration of the classical Armenian; the right-hand page has the English translation. This Pew Book includes the prayers of the celebrant usually offered inaudibly. The prayers offered aloud are indicated in boldface type.

THE NICENE CREED/ HAVADAMK – This is the Profession of our Faith which is often sung after the Gospel is read from the altar. Occasionally, it will be recited by the Deacons and/or the Choir. We invite you to affirm your own “Profession of Faith” by reciting along with us. God longs for all of us to express our faith and devotion to Him.

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 greetings 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.

Anyone who wishes to request any Requiem Services MUST inform the office by 1:30pm Wednesday the week before. If you also want to sponsor the Fellowship Hour you MUST call Jeanette Der Hagopian at 215-672-4188.

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WE ASK THAT EVERYONE KINDLY TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES and all other such electronic devices prior to entering the sanctuary out of respect for the sanctity of our services.