THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
June 21, 2020
Third Sunday After Pentecost
St. Nerses the Great
Whether it was in one significant moment, or demonstrated over the course of their lives, the saints of the Church are those individuals who learned what Jesus meant when he said, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” Sts. Nune and Mane, both of whom arrived as companions of St. Hripsime, sacrificed marriage and family life in order to devote their lives to God and the ministry of others. Their faith was an authentic faith, not one that went through the motions. Rather than spending time on petty nitpicking, they prayed, obeyed God’s will, converted others, and got to know their God.
To this day, St. Nerses the Great (Սուրբ Ներսէս Մեծ), the great-grandson of St. Gregory the Enlightener, remains as the Armenian Church’s model of charity and mercy. St. Nerses was asked to become Catholicos while he was still a layperson. In the year 353, within a few months, he was ordained as a deacon, priest, bishop and elected Catholicos at the young age of 24. St. Nerses connected the Church with the common people by providing assistance apart from the government, using resources and land from the Armenian Church. From 364-365, St. Nerses convened the Council of Ashdishad, the first council of bishops in Armenia, at which he addressed numerous concerns regarding family life, marriage laws, social conditions, and monasticism. Over his lifetime, he had over two thousand monasteries built. Out of compassion for the needs of his people and based on biblical principles and teachings, St. Nerses established schools, hospitals, orphanages, shelters for the poor, homes for the elderly, and guesthouses for pilgrims. Like Jesus, he would spend time and eat at the same table with the poor and socially dejected. He even invited the elderly, sick, and poor into his own home for refuge and to be cared for by him personally. He stood against any threat that would try to usurp or remove the Christian faith of Armenia.
Through his unprecedented efforts as Catholicos from 353 – 373, St. Nerses drastically changed the livelihood of the Armenian people for the better, and paved the way to the Golden Age initiated by Sts. Sahag and Mesrob. What compelled St. Nerses to achieve these accomplishments? His priority was mercy for others. He obeyed what Jesus taught about mercy and sacrifice, imitating his ministry. How do we measure our accomplishments in the Church? As members of the Armenian Church, as members of a parish community, how can we follow the example of St. Nerses the Great? What are the needs that need to be addressed in our local community, in the families that make up our community? With works of mercy, what can we build together in order to build the Church for peace and unity in Christ? Start small if needed, with much prayer, and through us God’s boundless mercy will touch the world.
By Dn. Eric Vozzy
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
Romans 6: 12-23 (pages 141-142) New Testament
Matthew 12: 1-8 (page 11) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 1:1-15 (page 682) Old Testament
“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night….” (Nehemiah 1:5–6). Prayers are requested for Rose Minassian, Ethel Terzian, Taron Poghosyan, Alice Charles, Armen & Theodora Mirakian and Genevieve Miller.
CALLING ALL GRADUATES
The next issue of the LOOYS will feature information about our graduates and we are hoping that you will submit your own details so that you can be included. Write-up should include: full name, parents’ names, name of institution, grade level or degree achieved, activity involvement, and future plans (further education/ work). Please include a picture (in high resolution color), if possible. Everything should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by an ABSOLUTE deadline of July 20, 2020.
UPDATE: FAR Provides Assistance to 82 Additional Families in Need
FAR recently delivered support packages of food and hygiene supplies to 82 families in four different provinces in Armenia, as well as in Yerevan. Families who received support have previously been supported by the FAR Children’s Center, a haven for vulnerable children. Food packages included non-perishable staples like flour, rice and buckwheat, as well as things like facial masks and hand sanitizer.
They benefitted women like Alvina Petrosyan, 37, and a single mother of three. Alvina has since been juggling two to three jobs to make ends meet. Two years ago, she brought her youngest daughter, Agnessa, to the Center for a period for psychological support and stability when Alvina was struggling. After the start of Armenia’s lockdown, Alvina lost her job as a cleaner at one of Yerevan’s fitness centers, and was unable to find another one. Over the past two months, she has had to buy food on credit from the local grocery stores to feed her children. Additional support to Alvina and the other 81 families was made possible by a donation from The Mardigian Family Foundation. To read more, go to: https://www.farusa.org/post/far-provides-assistance-to-82-additional-families-in-need To support FAR’s emergency assistance projects, go to: https://www.farusa.org/2020