Paregentan of the Fast of the Holy Cross of Varak

Sunday Messenger

September 22, 2019

Paregentan of the Fast of the Holy Cross of Varak

To the Victor Goes the Crown

The crowning is the central symbol and ritual of the entire sacrament of marriage in all of its several rituals. In fact, the sacrament in the Armenian Church for marriage is not “matrimony,” but the “Rite of a Maiden’s Crown.” In Armenian, «Կանոն Պսակ Օրհնելու:» Why the emphasis on crowning? It’s the triumph of Jesus Christ, the victory of the Cross! One of the required roles in the wedding ceremony of the Armenian Church is not a “best man,” but a “Godfather of the Cross” or խաչեղբայր. The image is clear. The խաչեղբայր stands behind the bride and groom holding a cross that hovers over them. It’s the sign of God’s infinite, unconditional, sacrificial love, a sign to give oneself fully to the other person.

In the Church, martyrs are also said to be crowned. Why? Because they are living witnesses of the victory of Christ. The crown of thorns that Jesus wore as he hung on the Cross was meant to serve as a mockery of the crown, but for Christians, it came to represent life in the Kingdom of God: victory over sin, suffering, and death. Surprising as this may seem, rather than romantic love, the tradition of Christian marriage belongs to the genre of martyrdom. In fact, this is the opposite of how marriage is commonly perceived. Rather than a fantastical cure to the boredom or illness of being single, marital union matches what Jesus demonstrated on the Cross: self-consecration, self-sacrifice, suffering, and martyrdom. The things we should truly value in marriage are what Jesus embodied in his ministry and on the Cross, and it is the qualities of a martyr from which Christian marriage derives its strength and glory: patience, endurance, sacrifice, selflessness, generosity, kindness, steadfastness, loyalty, and of course, holiness, none of which are possible without the presence of suffering.

Christ and the Cross are the center of the marital union and where Christ is the Kingdom of God is present. To be a part of God’s Kingdom, to join the lineage of that royal family is to wear the crown of victory and splendor. But that crown is more than just victory in the ordinary sense. The crown of marriage means victory through suffering, strength in weakness, becoming a martyr to oneself for the sake of the other person. A husband sacrifices himself fully for his wife, and the wife dies to herself for the salvation or good of her husband. This is what it means to be crowned and live as King and Queen in the Kingdom of God. Do we, as married couples, follow the example of Jesus, do we follow the example of the martyrs? Does the Cross stand at the center of our marriage? Does the Cross join us all together, our parish community, as martyrs for Christ laying down our egos, agendas, our very lives for one another, for the salvation of the community?

Marriage, like martyrdom, is the ultimate sacrifice, giving up one’s own life for someone else, and just as martyrs are in full communion with God having become champions over the worst thing this world can dish out – death – through the Cross of Jesus Christ, a husband and wife grow deeper in communion with God and with one another.

By Dn. Eric Vozzy


2 Corinthians 10: 18-11:10 (page 168) New Testament
Mark 10: 1-12 (page 42) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 14: 3-17 (pages 693-694) Old Testament

REQUIEM SERVICES: Hokehankist today will be for:

– HAROUTYOUN AZNAVURYAN (11th Anniversary of his eternal life) requested by his wife Armenoui, son Carlo , Polina and his family, daughter Lolita Babikian and her family, grandchildren: Aram, Shant & Sara, Raffi, Armineh Babikian and Arthur & Benthley Aznavuryan.

– ONNIG BABIKIAN (16th Anniversary of his eternal life) requested by Lolita Babikian and her family and the Aznavuryan Family.

“I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” (Psalm 116:1-2 NLT). Please pray for Robert Barone, Merle Santerian, Steve Hovnanian, Alice Charles, Armen Mirakian and Pearl Jamgochian for a return to improved health and to feel the presence of God in their lives. Please also keep in your prayers the leaders and well-being of both the United States and Armenia.

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

Coffee Hour today is hosted by Armenoui Aznavuryan and Lolita Babikian in loving memory of their husband and father, Haroutyoun Aznavuryan.

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.

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. The drop off area will be in the hall next to the bar area. Also, we are only accepting items for two weeks, beginning on the Sunday of Church School registration (9/15) and the following Sunday (9/22). The contact number is Sue DerHagopian at 609 280-6047. Were not picking up from people. There won’t be any returns of donated items. Unsold items will be donated to charity.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD – it’s not too soon to start shopping for great fillers for your shoeboxes. You’ve done it before and you know how it works! More details will be forthcoming. So….On your mark, get ready, start shopping!!!

GIFT AUCTION: We are in need of donations for the Harvest Bazaar Gift Auction and are asking for your help. We will again feature our Raffle ticket items valued at over $100 and our silent auction for special items. Our goal is to obtain new gifts each in value of $100 or more but we are happy to accept gifts of various values that we can combine in our baskets. Gifts can be geared toward younger children like Star Wars, Spiderman, Pokemon, or other trending items for kids. For teenagers (movie theater basket) or adults (golf, tennis, restaurants, massage/beauty or home). Gift baskets and gift certificates are most appreciated. We also will have letters you can take to various businesses to see if they would provide a $20 to $30 gift certificate for free. If you own a business and are willing to donate, please let us know. Wine or liquor are popular items that we can combine with other items. For the special items we would look for large value items (over $200), liquor, jewelry, oriental rugs for home and vacation houses. In addition, if anyone could lend us their beach house for a weekend or week, that would help to generate funds. Cash will also be appreciated to purchase desirable items. Please call or email Cece Garibian at 215-884-9292 or OR Tanya Paretchan at 215-947-4394 or, for more details. Thank you in advance for all your generosity and support.

2019 Attendance: Plate/Candle Collection:

4 – 92 people $457.00
11 – 85 people $366.00
18 – 90 people $495.00
Weekly Expenses: $6,000.00

CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)

Saturday September 28th – Fall Into Philly Kef @ Holy Trinity.  You can still purchase tickets at

25, 26 & 27: Harvest Bazaar

NEW IN BOOKSTORE: With pride, we are pleased to announce “Acoustic Armenia,” a CD by a devoted member of the Holy Trinity family, Karinné Andonian. The music of this album is meant to revere the spirit of Armenian music. The Armenian heart has always sung, and here it sings simply and organically, intending to bring a sense of togetherness and home just as it was when it was created generations ago. Available in Bookstore $12.

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.