Sunday of the Judge

Sunday Messenger

March 31, 2019

Sunday of the Judge

How Do You Bear Witness to Your Faith?

On February 15, 2015, the terrorist group ISIS released a video showing the beheading of 21 of our Coptic Orthodox Christian brothers. When the names of the martyrs were published it was revealed that 20 were Egyptian Copts but the 21st martyr was Matthew Ayariga, a black African from Ghana. It was reported at the time that he was not a Christian but was deeply inspired by the faith of his Coptic friends. When asked by the terrorists what his faith was and whether he denounced Jesus he answered: “Their God is my God,” and thus embraced his martyrdom. A few days later the group was canonized as saints by the Coptic Orthodox Church as the 21 Martyrs of Libya.

The horrific martyrdom of the 21 Coptic men has its precedence in history. The Forty Martyrs of Sebastia, whose feast day is on the fourth Saturday in Lent (March 30 this year), were soldiers in the Roman Army during the persecutions of Emperor Licinius in the fourth century, stationed in Sebastia in Armenia Minor. When their Christian faith was revealed they were ordered to renounce their faith or face death. Neither persuasion, nor promises, nor torture obtained their apostasy. The local governor ordered them to be exposed naked all night on a frozen lake outside the city. A fire and a warm bath were prepared on the bank of the pond to entice them to deny their faith. Out of the forty thirty-nine remained steadfast and died of exposure. Only one was unable to suffer the pain and jumped out into the warm bath. Forty crowns of light appeared over the lake descending over the heads of the martyrs. One of the soldiers on guard jumped into the lake to take the place of the apostate soldier and to complete the number forty.

The celebration of the martyrdom of the Forty Martyrs of Sebastia became one of the most widespread in the East. Their valiant martyrdom is praised in homilies by St. Basil of Caesarea (329-379), St. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373), St. John Chrysostom (347-407), and St. Gregory of Nyssa (330-395). In the Armenian tradition, we have the 11th-century homily by Sisianos Vartabed of Sebastia, spoken in the church with 40 domes dedicated to the forty martyrs. The church was standing until the invasion of Timurlane in the 13th century.

The commemoration of saints and the celebration of their martyrdom serves both as a remembrance of their witness to the faith and as an inspiration for us to witness our faith in our own life circumstances. Pondering on the witness of faith of the Forty Martyrs of Sebastia and their modern equivalent of the 21 Coptic Martyrs of Libya, what would you do if faced with a similar challenge of faith? Would you jump into the frozen lake to take the place of the apostate soldier? What would be your answer if, like Matthew Ayariga, you were asked who is your God and whether you denounce Jesus?

The Laudate Hymn for the Forty Martyrs of Sebastia

This day hosts of angels rejoice, for your names are entered into the book of life, holy forty [martyrs]; with whom we also sing praises to Christ.

Rays of joy, by divine power you warmed the frozen waters of the lake; and through your prayers filled the vacant spot of the fourth ten.

Saints and beloved ones of Christ, enlighteners of the world, joy of the Church; intercede with the Lord for our souls.

Rev. Fr. Arshen Aivazian


Philippians 3: 1-4:9 (pages 180-181) New Testament
Luke 17: 20-18:14 (pages 73-74) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 65: 8-25 (pages 740 – 741) Old Testament

REQUIEM SERVICES: Karasoonk (40th Day memorial Service) today will be for:

– LOUISE MANOOGIAN SIMONE on the 40th Day of Her eternal life requested by Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church.

Hokehankist today will be for:

– NED N. SANTERIAN on the occasion of his 95 Birthday (3/27) and 25th year of his eternal life requested by Merle Santerian and family.
– RONALD N. GOOSHIAN on the occasion of his 80th Birthday (3/27) and 5th year of his eternal life requested by Ani Gooshian for her husband.

“Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place” (2 Chron 6:40). Please pray for Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin, Alice Charles, Pearl Jamgochian and Tyrome Thompson for a return to improved health and to feel the presence of God in their lives. Pray for those who were killed and injured in the massacre that took place in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and for their grieving families as well. Please continue to pray for our country and her leaders so that peace and kindness can prevail.

A RARE COINCIDENCE: If you are a regular churchgoer, you know that it is the practice of the Armenian Church to not distribute Holy Communion during Great Lent. As it happens, the Feast of the Annunciation to St. Mary, the Mother of God, which is always celebrated on April 7, this year falls on a Lenten Sunday. This is a very unusual occurrence. But because a church feast has precedence over Lent, Holy Communion WILL be distributed during Badarak on Sunday, April 7. We invite our faithful to respond to the invitation to “draw near to the Lord.” Our Church School students will also be receiving communion.

EAT SOUP AND FEED THE HUNGRY: According to the World Health Organization, if children do not receive proper nutrition in the first 1,000 days of their lives, their physical, cognitive, and emotional development is seriously compromised into adulthood. Thus, combating child malnutrition in Armenia is a major effort and a special passion for FAR. We’re pleased to announce that our Church School is embracing this cause during the Lenten season. For a donation of $10, you can eat at our “Soup Kitchen,” open today only—March 31. You may go home a bit hungry, but think of the little ones who will be fed by your gift.

PALM SUNDAY BANQUET: Sunday, April 14, 2019, is ACYOA DAY. Immediately following Church Services, ACYOA is sponsoring a Banquet. Donations: Adults $25.00 – Children ages 7 to 12 yrs. $8.00 – Children 6 and under Free. No tickets will be sold at the door. For reservations, please send in your check by the Deadline: April 7, 2019.

FRIDAY NIGHT LENTEN PROGRAM: The last of our four-part video series on “Wrestling with Angels” will take place next Friday, April 5 with a presentation entitled DOUBT: HOW CAN I QUESTION AND STILL BELIEVE? ACE member Joyce Hoyle will introduce the video and facilitate a short conversation afterwards. The evening begins with worship at 6:30, followed by a traditional Lenten dinner prepared and hosted by Anne and George Terkanian. For more details, pick up a flyer available in the narthex or in the lobby.

A NEW ROLE FOR OUR PASTOR: Tour Guide! While at Badarak, from time to time, your eyes may have wandered around our sanctuary and taken in the visual beauty of our stained-glass windows and paintings of saints and scenes and symbols of our faith. You may also have wondered who or what they represent. Next Sunday, April 7, Fr. Hakob will use his sermon time to give us an informal “tour” of the sacred space that is our light-filled sanctuary

SAVE THE DATE: Ladies, Save the date for our annual spring lunch, Saturday, May 11 at 11:30AM. We are going to the Denim American Bistro located in Cherry Hill, NJ. Reservations are limited. Check the flyer in the hall & contact Liz Barone.

COFFEE HOUR: This year we are looking for individuals or families, to run a Coffee Hour each Sunday. (Those who have been running it, are overloaded with doing more than one job on Sundays.) There are sign-up sheets for the next 4 month of Sundays. Anyone wishing to sponsor a special Coffee Hour (Birthday, Anniversary, 40 Days or more, etc.) other than the normal Coffee Hour must contact Merle Santerian 215-205-1507, to make arrangements 2 weeks ahead of time. Under the new scheduling, if a Sunday has no one signed up on the Board, to run the Coffee Hour, there will be no Coffee Hour that Sunday. So, please volunteer and let’s fill all the Sundays in on the Schedule. It is not that involved, and Merle will explain what you have to do to run one. Any questions just see her on any Sunday or call her at the above phone number. Thanks, for your cooperation! We know how much everyone enjoys the Fellowship Hour and we would like to keep it going.

2019 Attendance: Plate/Candle Collection:

3 – 82 people $290.00
10 – 70 people $340.00
17 – 94 people $427.00
24 – 122 people $669.00

3 – 91 people $510.00
10 – 94 people $529.00

Weekly Expenses: $6,000.00

CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)

Friday March 29th: Lenten Evening
Sunday March 31st: Church School sponsors “Soup Kitchen”

Sunday April 7th: A “tour” of the sanctuary guided by Fr. Hakob
Sunday April 14th: Palm Sunday: ACYOA Day/ Palm Sunday Banquet
Thursday April 18th: Holy Thursday: Washing of the Feet Service and Vigil
Friday April 19th: Holy Friday Burial Service
Saturday April 20th: Easter Eve Liturgy / Community Fellowship Meal
Sunday April 21st: Easter Sunday

PARISH DIRECTORY: The 2019 update of the Parish Directory is available in the Narthex and the Parish Office. Please pick up a copy. If you find that your information is not what you expected, please submit corrections to or call at 301-351-7669 and copy the Parish Office.

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 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:

– receive this Bulletin on Friday via email?
– request a Hokehankist, house blessing or hall rental information?
– find in-depth information on our faith, our parish and our activities?
– sign up for an event online?
– If the answer to any of these questions is YES, please visit our parish website at

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.