Sixth Sunday of Advent

Sunday Messenger

December 27, 2015

A Very Happy & Healthy New Year to One and All

Sixth Sunday of Advent 

Commemoration of St. Stephen the Protomartyr and the first martyr

St. Stephen is one of the most beloved saints of the Universal Church, the first person martyred for the sake of Christ’s doctrine of love. According to the hagiographical sources he was from the royal dynasty of Judas and was the son of law-abiding parents. Still a young man he was the servant of the chief priest Kayipaya. According to the same sources when the Lord was taken to home, Stephen took off the cloth from his head and spread it under the Lord’s feet thus expressing his true and sincere love. This naturally annoyed the chief priest and he turned Stephen out. Stephen witnessed the death and burial of the Lord but rejoiced with the apostles for the Glorious Resurrection of Christ. According to St. Gregory of Tatev he went to the apostles Peter and John and was baptized. At the moment of baptism an aureole (crown) appeared on the water. After that miraculous event he was called “Stephen” meaning (crowned). From the Acts of the Apostles it is known that after the Pentecost apostles served the tables and gave subsidies to the poor. From day to day increased the number of those who believed in Christ. As the apostles were unable to meet the needs of everybody, asked their disciples to choose 7 persons of good reputation for serving the tables. According to St. Luke the Evangelist one of them was St. Stephen, “… a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). By the power received from Christ apostles ordained him deacon. Thanks to his God-granted virtues and power Stephen worked wonders. Many people tried to argue with him, but no one was as wise as Stephen. So, some people persuaded others to say that Stephen scolded God and the Prophet Moses. Inciting the people, the priests and the lawyers they took Stephen to the court. In his speech in his defense Stephen proved that Jesus was the promised Messiah, and reproached the Jews for their cruelty. He was stoned out of the city and his cloths were put before a man whose name was Saul and who later became the Apostle Peter. In the beginning he persecuted Christians but later he knew the true God – Jesus Christ, and became the most zealous preacher of the Gospel. St. Stephen was the first person martyred for the sake of Christ and that’s why he is called Protomartyr. According to the tradition Gamaliel, the teacher of the Apostle Peter, and Nicodemus, his brother, who were secrete disciples of Jesus, buried the saint’s body in their farm. Soon a priest named Lukianus discovered the relics. And Pontiff Hovhan of Jerusalem put them in St. Sion. In the V century Princess Juliane found the saint’s tabernacle in Jerusalem and took it to Constantinople, and later – to Venice and buried it in the Church of St. George (St. Gevorg) island.


  • Hebrews 7: 11-25 (pages 199-200) New Testament
  • Luke 19: 12-28 (pages 75-76) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)

REQUIEM SERVICES: Hokehankist today will be for:

  • CHARLES SISIAN (3rd Anniversary of his eternal sleep) requested by Alice and Denise Sisian.

ALTAR FLOWERS are donated today by Alice and Denise Sisian in loving memory of Charles Sisian.

PRAYERS REQUESTED: From the Book of James, we are taught that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Therefore, as you pray for your own family, we ask that you keep members of our Holy Trinity family in your prayers as well. Continue to pray specifically for those who are ill. Pray especially for the various ministries within our church and their leaders: our Church School, our faith-based programs, our youth. And mostly pray that Jesus Christ is a Living Presence in each and every person in our church community. You may also advise the church office if you would like to include anyone by name in this column so that we may, as a church family, pray for them.

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.
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.

POMEGRANATE BLESSING SERVICE: In the Armenian tradition, the pomegranate as a national symbol reflects the meaning of life, prosperity and abundance. In the Christian symbolism the pomegranate represents the blood shed by Jesus Christ, symbolizing also the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord and the diversity of God’s grace. In the interpretations of our church fathers, the pomegranate is presented that the church members are as diverse as the granules of the pomegranate but the pomegranate is covered by a solid peel, all being united in one Church. This new order of blessing was directed by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and should be conducted within 30 minutes of the New Year. However, for the sake of convenience, we will be conducting this thanksgiving service following Badarak today.

CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)

  • Tuesday January 5th: Armenian Christmas Eve 7:00 pm followed by House Blessing: Please bring food to share during the fellowship hour
  • Wednesday January 6th: Armenian Christmas Service 10:30 am
  • Sunday January 10th: Service 10:30 am followed by Blessing of the Water

NEW IN THE BOOKSTORE—Great gifts for kids!

The Pesky Bird by Marianne Markarian. Mariam loves to climb trees, but she is forbidden to do so now that she has come of age. It’s a temptation that is hard to resist, and she soon finds herself caught in a sticky situation. Children will laugh out loud at the clever way Mariam solves her problem. Set in a small Armenian village in the early 1900s, the book captures the countryside life of the Armenian people. The winner of the Best Juvenile Fiction Award at the 2003 Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, The Pesky Bird also includes a recipe for Armenian lavosh bread! Hardcover, 32 pages, $16.00

Mariam’s Easter Parade by Marianne Markarian. This is a children’s picture book that shares Armenian Easter traditions. It’s a light-hearted story of a young girl who might be too small to help with the Easter preparations, but she is clever enough to figure out a way to make her own special celebration! Learn how to dye Armenian Easter eggs and play the egg-fighting game. Using her grandmother’s life in “the old country” as inspiration, Markarian has crafted a story that displays with cultural accuracy how Armenians in the Ottoman Empire celebrated Easter. Hardcover, 26 pages, $16.00

COUNTRY STORE: The Country Store is open every Sunday after church services in the kitchen. All are welcome.

If you know of anyone who is a shut-in, or ill and would like a visit from Der Hayr, please call the office and give their name to Maggie our church secretary.

CHURCH ETIQUETTE: We wish to remind you, our faithful, to please maintain a quiet and contemplative manner as you approach the chancel for communion. We especially ask that you refrain from conversation while waiting your turn for communion as well as afterwards as you return to your pew. Thank you.

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.

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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.