THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
February 11, 2024
Scripture and Feast Day Notes
From Today’s Readings
Matthew 6:1-21 In His ‘sermon on the mount,’ Jesus teaches the virtue of humble, private acts of righteousness: giving without fanfare; praying privately, using humble words Jesus provides (the Lord’s prayer); being generous in forgiveness; fasting without anyone knowing; and treasuring what is eternal in value, not what will rot and rust. Discuss/reflect: Jesus calls us to a higher morality, one that asks us to do the right thing not for public approbation, not to please people, but to please God. In what specific ways can doing this make for a better, happier life?
Romans 13:11-14:25 St. Paul urges his listeners to clothe themselves in Christ, living in ways that honor Him. And whatever holy disciplines they choose, whether it is setting aside a day as holy, fasting, or even not fasting, they should do so respecting others’ feelings and needs. “Let’s stop passing judgment on one another or putting obstacles in another’s way…” (14:13) Discuss/reflect: Instead of judging, what should occupy our energy? Review 14:13, 17-18 and look ahead to 15:2 for answers.
Is 58:1-14 With a typical prophet’s passion, Isaiah shares God’s ire with a people who approach Him “as if they were a nation that does what is right…” (v.2) God demands an answer: Is fasting just a matter of sackcloth and ashes? Or is true piety about lifting up the oppressed, feeding the hungry and clothing the poor? This piety will touch God’s heart and then you will find “joy in the Lord…and He will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land.” (58:14) Discuss/reflect: What a ride that will be! Are you engaged in the god-pleasing acts of verses 6-7? If not, what can you begin to do so that your faith is more than ‘empty pious gestures?
Presentation of the Lord to the Temple
On February 14, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Lord’s Presentation to the Temple. Dyarn-unt-arach, or Candlemas as it is known in the West, symbolizes the presentation of the 40-day-old Christ Child to the Temple in Jerusalem.
In accordance with the Law of Moses, the infant Christ was brought to the Temple by Mary and Joseph and presented to God. A man named Simeon was there, to whom it had been revealed that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord. Simeon held the infant in his arms, blessed God, and said, “Lord, let your servant now depart in peace, for my eyes have seen your Salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people. A Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of Your people, Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)
In the tradition of the Church, Evening Services (Nakhatonak) are conducted on the night preceding the Feast Day. At the conclusion of the service, the priest lights a candle from the Holy Altar, and distributes the flame to all present. With great care, the faithful take the lit candles home to their families.
The morning of the Feast Day, Divine Liturgy is celebrated in Armenian Churches throughout the world. The hymn offered during the Liturgy commemorating Dyarnuntarach glorifies Simeon’s articulation of “a Light to lighten the Gentiles”. The hymn praising Simeon also lauds the Mystery of the Incarnation.
Many additional customs have been inherited from the past, including the blessing of the four corners of the world in the Andastan Service, the blessing of newlywed couples, as well as offering prayers for the crops and fertility of the fields.
One of the traditions of this Feast Day is “Jumping the Fire” and will take place following Badarak, weather permitting.
Today is Poon Paregentan! Tomorrow is the first day of Great Lent
Poon Paregentan does not actually fall in Great Lent. However, it is traditionally counted as the first step on the Lenten journey. Poon means ‘real’ or ‘true.’ Since every fasting period begins with a festival day or paregentan, this one is marked as the ‘true’ one, the most important, since it precedes the greatest feast of the church, Easter. This ‘day of good living’ is often observed with festivities, dancing, and a carnival atmosphere to remind us all of the joy and vitality of Paradise and life itself. It also was the day to feast on and finish up all non-Lenten foods such as meat, dairy products, and fish. The sharagan (hymn) of the day sings of our earthly nature made glorious in the ‘garden of delight’ but also reminds us that even Adam and Eve had to exercise control and, sadly, failed to do so. Great Lent begins in the Armenian Church on Monday, the day after Poon Paregentan.
Department of Christian Education/ Diocese of the Armenian Church of America/ (Eastern)/email@example.com
REQUIEM SERVICES: Hokehankist today will be for:
Anna Annuvzro requested by Mary Jamgochian.
The Ladies of Holy Trinity continue to honor the women who came before us. This Sunday we request Hokehankist for Zarmine Alexanian, Deskouhie Attarian, Mary Haigazian, Berjouhy Haigazian, Anita Mirijanian and Betty Arslanian
Fellowship Today – In light of the Poon Paregentan party, there will not be a coffee hour today.
2024 Lenten Series Begins February 16: Our Adult Christian Education ministry has planned an enlightening and diverse program for its 2024 Lenten series; flyers with details about the hybrid (Zoom and In-Person) initiative are available in the narthex. As in the last three years, the series begins with a Zoom Rest Service featuring the penitential and eloquent “I Confess with Faith” prayers of St. Nersess Shnorhali. The 24 prayers will be read by several young adult members of our community. The service will be held via Zoom on Friday evening, February 16 at 7:00. Those who wish to attend the program are asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org in order to receive the link.
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 2024. For any questions regarding your status, please call the church office.
Annual Parish Assembly – Scheduled for February 25, 2024. If an alternative date is needed, it will be scheduled for March 2024.
Poon Paregentan Carnival: TODAY following services in the church hall. Please plan to join us for food, music, crafts and games. Adults are $15.00 per person, Church School children and siblings under age 18 are free, all other children are $5.00 per person. Everyone is welcome.
Men’s Club News – The February drawing for the 200 Club was completed 2/4/2024. Please visit the HTAC Web site and click on Men’s Club for details on the winners. (2/11)
Saintly Women’s Day – The Women’s Guild of St. Sahag & St Mesrob have invited us to participate in celebrating Saintly Women’s Day. This is the first time since COVID for this program. The details are in the flyer available in the Narthex & the hall. All Armenian women in the area are invited. Please join us.(02/18)
Blessing of Marriages: Sunday February 11, married couples of all ages are invited to participate in a brief blessing service after Badarak. The ceremony, which has become an annual tradition at Holy Trinity, is intended to honor the relationship of husband and wife and is an opportunity for couples to rededicate that relationship to God and his sacred purposes. We look forward to seeing our entire church family present to witness the ceremony.
Stay Connected with our New Church Portal
Over the past several months Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church has changed to a new Church Management System called One Church. The new software puts you in control of your information (email, phone number, giving information, etc.), allows us to communicate with you more effectively, facilitates online, text, and app donations, and provides greater connectivity throughout our community. You should have received an email. If you have not gotten one (please make sure to check your spam folder), then reach out to the church office.
FAR’s Ayo! Platform is excited to launch a new project in partnership with Teach for Armenia (TFA). TFA is committed to improving education for children all over the country by enlisting exceptional university graduates to teach in under-resourced village schools for two-year terms. When Azerbaijan was attacked last September, Ayo! was partnering with TFA to fund teacher-leaders in Artsakh, who were committed to teaching children under blockade. Following the forced displacement, Ayo! put the project on hold. Now they are restarting the campaign and funding two displaced teachers from Artsakh ($5000 for each) for one year. Ayo!’s goal is to raise $10,000 by the end of February. Support Tigran and Alise (and the students they serve!) here: www.weareayo.org
Humanitarian Support for Artsakh Ongoing From The Knights And Daughters Of Vartan – As the Azeri government still cracks down on the Armenian people in the nation of Artsakh, the people are not giving up! Please consider making a donation to the Knights and Daughters of Vartan Call to Action Committee! Donations will go towards humanitarian aid. For further information please visit the Knights and Daughters of Vartan website @ https://kofv.org/a-call-to-action-from-kdv-for-artsakh/
Mail your donations to Knights of Vartan, Mr. Ronald Nazeley, Treasurer, 558 Kentwood Bluffs Drive, Los Angeles 90045.
Checks should be made to Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Memo: Artsakh, and brought or mailed to church. Online donations can be made by going to www.holytrinity-pa.org, go to donations, scroll down to Open Donation and enter Artsakh.
Seeking Part-time Organists – the Choir of Holy Trinity continues to seek multiple talented musicians who would be seriously interested in playing the organ for the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy (Badarak) on a rotating schedule. Organ lessons will be provided to the interested candidates, along with one-on-one direction from a senior choir person. For further information, contact Karinne Andonian @ email@example.com.
Blessing of Married Couples
Church School Open House and Poon Paregentan Carnival Party
Feb 12 – Lent begins
Feb 18 – Vartanantz Program
Feb 24 – Saintly Women’s Day @ St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Church (see flyer in our Narthex) Cost $25 must RSVP by Feb 10th
Feb 25 – Annual Parish Assembly
Mar 10 – Mitchink Luncheon