THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
June 17, 2018
Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
The Final Years of St. Gregory and the Discovery of His Relics
As St. Gregory grew old and became more involved in solitary life, King Drtad asked him to ordain his younger son Arisdagés a bishop, and to take him on as Gregory’s assistant. Gregory had already retired by a.d. 325, when the Holy Council of Nicaea took place, and he sent his son Arisdagés in his place to participate in this first ecumenical gathering of bishops of the Christian Church. In his retired state, however, Gregory continued his pastoral work by preaching and writing homilies, employing a simple language so that people could understand.
St. Gregory’s favorite spot as a solitary was a site called “the Caves of Mané,” located on Mount Sebuh near Erzinjan, now in eastern Turkey. This place had previously been the residence of the Virgin Mané, one of St. Hripsimé’s companions. It is unclear how long St. Gregory lived there, and when exactly he died. After some time had elapsed, shepherds chanced upon his body and buried him at the spot where they found him, not knowing who he was.
During the fifth century, a hermit named Karnig was guided by a vision to the grave of the saint and discovered his relics. It was customary in those days to distribute relics of saints to various churches in different parts, and it seems that the same practice was implemented in St. Gregory’s case. Karnig took the body of the saint to the village of Tortan, located to the east of Mount Sebuh, and buried some of the relics there; the rest were taken elsewhere. On or near St. Gregory’s unmarked grave there stood a church, built at a later time and still extant in 1915. The exact site of St. Gregory’s grave in Tortan was not known even to visitors in the tenth century; but nine other graves existed inside the church, and were said to belong to King Drtad, his queen Ashkhén, his sister Khosrovitukhd, and other members of St. Gregory’s family. These were still extant as late as 1915.
The remaining relics of St. Gregory were later taken to the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Pakavan, where St. Gregory had baptized King Drtad and the Armenian people in the Aradzani River. The relics were kept in a box and taken out on important occasions. In a.d. 450, when a rumor arose in Armenia that St. Vartan and the Armenian magnates had accepted the Persian religion during their visit to Persia’s royal court, the returning magnates were met by a gathering of priests, noblemen and common people, who held forth the box of St. Gregory’s relics as a reminder of their Christian roots. Similar incidents occurred at times of turmoil and joy.
The relics of St. Gregory were later taken and laid beneath the massive columns of the Holy Zvartnots Church, whose ruins are still visible near the airport of Yerevan. The saint’s skull was kept separately in a box. At some point the skull was transferred to the West and is now kept in the church of St. Gregory the Armenian in Naples, Italy. (Some other relics of St. Gregory deposited in that location were recently transferred to the Armenian Church by the Roman Catholic Church, as a tribute to the 1700th anniversary of Armenia’s conversion to Christianity.)
Today, relics of St. Gregory may be found at Holy Etchmiadzin, Holy Jerusalem and Antilias. The relic at Holy Etchmiadzin, encased in an arm-shaped reliquary, is used to bless the Holy Chrism (Muron) once every seven years. It is on display in the treasury of the Holy See.
In the calendar of the Armenian Church, the discovery of the relics of St. Gregory is an important feast and is commemorated on the Saturday before the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost. King Drtad, Queen Ashkhén and Princess Khosrovitukhd were originally commemorated on the Monday following the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, but since the calendrical revision of Catholicos Simeon in 1774-75, that feast falls on the Saturday following the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.
King Drtad, Queen Ashkhén and Princess Khosrovitukhd are regarded as saints of the Armenian Church because of their role in the conversion and spread of Christianity in Armenia. It is obvious that St. Gregory could not have succeeded in his mission without help from the royal family. It is also important to note that from the very beginning, there was lay participation in the founding and administration of the Armenian Church. While St. Gregory serves as an example of a fatherly figure for all Armenians, King Drtad, Queen Ashkhén and Princess Khosrovitukhd stand out as the forerunners of lay benefactors. The church cannot function only with priests and bishops. Without lay participation very little is achieved. No matter what our station in life, we must make ourselves humble before God and do our share to achieve Christ’s mission.
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
Romans 7: 25-8:11 (page 143) New Testament
Matthew 12: 38-45 (page 12) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 1:21-31 (page 683) Old Testament
“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant…” (Daniel 9:17a). Please pray for Anto Vartanian, Butch Kumkumian, Annabelle Alexanian, Alice Charles, Pearl Jamgochian, & Albert Santerian for a return to better health and to feel the presence of God in their lives. Pray also for our country and her leaders during these trying times; and let us ask the Lord to keep our children in their schools free from further violence and hatred.
FELLOWSHIP HOUR: You are invited, long time parishioners, new members, and first time visitors, please join us after Badarak in our lovely hall for Christian fellowship, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and greet fellow parishioners and Der Hayr. The coffee hour begins when Der Hayr blesses the table. There are containers available to deposit your trash before leaving the hall. We appreciate your patience, cooperation, and support. Thank you.
HELP FOR CASP (Children of Armenian Sponsorship Program): Last Sunday was “CASP Collection Day” and we enjoyed seeing an update on the enumerable services that CASP provides to orphaned children. If you were unable to be present that day, we are extending our Outreach To CASP until today. If you would like to support this worthy endeavor, please bring or mail checks made out to: Holy Trinity Armenian Church with “CASP” on the memo line. Your support is critical to help improve the lives of the CASP children and every dollar collected is important! For any questions, contact Jeanette Der Hagopian at 215-672-4188 or email@example.com
FELLOWSHIP HOUR: Starting June 17 through Labor Day, our Coffee Hour will change for the Summer. We are going to have a “POT LUCK” Coffee Hour. The church will provide the coffee but we are going to rely on those who wish to enjoy refreshments with their coffee and chat with friends to please bring something for the buffet table (enough to serve 8 people), either homemade or store bought. You will not be asked to make a donation if you are kind enough to bring refreshment on any given Sunday. This is being done in order to relieve the burden of the same few people making sure that we have refreshments every Sunday. We hope you will take this opportunity to share your bounty with our church family on these Sundays.
(REMINDER) – Anyone bringing something to the Pot-Luck Table starting this Sunday, must bring it plated or plate it at church. All that will be supplied is the Coffee, tea, milk, and paper goods. Everyone is to do their own cleanup. Those who donate something will not be asked to donate to the basket; but for those who don’t participate, there will be a charge; so please bring something for 6-8 people to enhance our table this Summer. Thank you!
Any questions please ask or call Merle Santerian at 215-947-3777.
FAR UPDATE: Roughly 460 orphans and children of single-mothers recently received their spring stipends through the FAR’s Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program (CASP). For many of these families, CASP is the crucial support they need to overcome social and financial hardships and the help through which their children’s lives can be improved. “With this stipend, I was able to buy the firewood we needed to heat our house last year. I spent the rest on the children’s needs, like school supplies, warm clothes and food. It’s hard to raise three daughters without a consistent income,” said Meri Shahzadyan, 31, whose husband died in a car accident in 2011. To read more, go to: http://farusa.org/2018/06/04/casp-springtime-round-of-casp-stipends-are-distributed-to-vulnerable-children-and-families/ To support projects like CASP, go to: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/armenianrelief/
Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk: Well it’s here! I am walking for my mom, who has suffered from depression for years, I’m walking for our military men and women, past and present, for those who gave in and for those who still battle, I’m walking for some young ones, some could not see the light and the others I hope they will realize just how precious they are to so many people in their lives. Unfortunately, too many can’t see just how important they really are. I did not yet meet my fundraising goal but do have a little more time to do so. So please help end the silence surrounding suicide and depression. I have donation forms in my office that can be mailed in or you can send me a check or cash and I will make the donation for you in your name. Please consider helping me reach my donation goal for this very important event. ToDonateVisit:TheOvernight.org/participant/Maggie Miller Thank you! Maggie
NEWTOWN SQUARE BIBLE STUDY—JUNE 20: If you’ve been unable to participate in our Adult Christian Education initiatives because of travel distance or scheduling conflicts, this opportunity is for you. For the third consecutive year, we are sponsoring Bible studies in three regions of our parish—this Wednesday evening, June 20, we will be at the home of Dn. Albert Keshgegian in Newtown Square. Join Fr. Hakob and your neighbors for an informal evening of learning and fellowship. For more information, just pick up a flyer in the narthex or the lobby.
ATTIC TREASURES will return again to the Harvest Bazaar this fall. With limited storage space available at church, we are more focused on items we can accept to be sold at the Attic Treasures table. Gently Used Items must be CLEAN & UNDAMAGED. Desired items are jewelry, women’s accessories, housewares, and small furnishings. Toys, clothing, books straw baskets & florist vases will not be accepted this year . Attic treasures can be left in the 1st room on the right down the Sunday School hall. Call Ayshe Chakmaklian for more info. at 610-828-2411. If you need a New Jersey pick up call Grace Meranshian at 856-217-9333.
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.
CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)
June 20 7:00 pm Home Bible Study in Newtown Square
June 27 7:00 pm Home Bible Study in South Jersey
July 8 Feast of the Transfiguration
July 10 10:00 am Summer Study: Scripture and Shnorhali
July 17 10:00 am Summer Study: Scripture and Shnorhali
July 24 10:00 am Summer Study: Scripture and Shnorhali
July 31 10:00 am Summer Study: Scripture and Shnorhali
PARKING REMINDER –
> Non-Disabled Persons parking spaces are designated with white lines.
> Disabled Persons Parking spaces are designated with blue lines and are reserved for vehicles with a State-authorized disability placard or license plate.
> No parking is allowed in the driveway nearest to the kitchen door.
THANK YOU for your cooperation!
THE NICENE CREED/ HAVADAMK – This is the Profession of our Faith which is recited every Sunday moments after the Gospel is read from the altar. Sometimes it is sung, but more often it is 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 Merle Santerian at 215-947-3777.
Would you like to:
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– sign up for an event online?
– If the answer to any of these questions is YES, please visit our parish website at www.holytrinity-pa.org
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.