On Sunday, November 15, St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the current sanctuary.
The Rev. Fr. Diran Bohajian, pastor of St. Leon Church, celebrated the Divine Liturgy. Bishop Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate of France and Pontifical Legate to Western Europe and former pastor of St. Leon Church, ordained parishioners Andre Aiazian and Jack Hamparian to the rank of acolyte.
Following services, Bishop Hovhanessian blessed a khatchkar placed at the base of the altar bema. The khatchkar was donated by parishioners Tom and Carol Ashbahian.
At a banquet later that evening, the community honored the vision of its founders and looked ahead to the next chapter of its history.
The Rev. Fr. Carnig Hallajian, former pastor of St. Leon Church, spoke about the importance of securing the parish’s future through endowment funds. He and Yn. Arpena have been generous supporters of the St. Leon Church.
Bishop Hovhanessian recalled his years as pastor of St. Leon Church and paid tribute to departed parishioners who were instrumental in the parish’s growth. He noted that the St. Leon community takes great pride in its church and is invested in its future.
Master of ceremonies Zareh Beylerian accepted contributions to the church’s time capsule. Each organization took part in the effort-from the Women’s Guild, which contributed its choreg recipe, to the Sunday School, whose teachers composed a special prayer for the occasion. The time capsule will be buried in the church’s “Reflection Garden,” where it will remain until the church’s 75th anniversary.
A video highlighted the parish’s history. Originally established in Paterson, NJ, by survivors of the Armenian Genocide, the parish of St. Leon Church relocated to Fair Lawn, where a new sanctuary was built and consecrated in September 1965.
“The celebration of the 50th anniversary of St. Leon was for me a day of joy and happiness as we reflected on all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us,” said the Rev. Fr. Diran Bohajian. ”
I am thankful to God that He has given me the opportunity to be part of this milestone in the life of the St. Leon community. As I witness the dedication of the past members, this celebration has strengthened my faith to continue my ministry with humility and dedication as we serve Christ and His Church.”
The celebration was organized by the following committee members: Margaret Ajamian and Lynn Pinajian Beylerian, chairs; Diane Dadekian and Joyce Ishkanian, banquet; Lorig Chorluyan and Suzanne Kasabian, booklet; Serda Belekdanian and Nvair Beylerian, reservations; Corinne Kachigian, centerpieces; Linda Keshishian, program; Levon Boyajian and Stephen Dadekian, endowment fund.