Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, visited Soorp Haroutiun Church of Orlando, FL, last weekend, as the community celebrated the parish’s 30th anniversary, and the fifth anniversary of the church’s consecration.
On Sunday, January 17, Archbishop Barsamian celebrated the Divine Liturgy and blessed the church’s newly installed stained glass windows. In his sermon, the Primate looked ahead to the Diocese’s theme for the coming year: “The Legacy of Our Martyrs: A Gift to Carry Forward.”
“As we step forward into this new year of 2016, we should reflect that even the most worthy legacy has to be freshly appreciated by those who inherit it,” he said. “Each succeeding generation is called to renew the precious legacy we inherited from the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. We are called to make it vital and alive in our own day; to re-connect with it, and let it shine through us to illuminate the world.”
Over the course of several years following the consecration of Soorp Haroutiun Church in 2010, parishioners have been raising funds for the stained glass windows. The windows were completed and installed in the fall, and blessed by the Primate during the celebration this month.
At a luncheon following services, parishioner Lucine Mardirosian-Harvey, who has been involved with the parish since its earliest days, spoke about its history and growth. Young musician Sara Nazarian performed musical selections on the flute.
Archbishop Barsamian noted that the parish has come a long way since its humble beginning in the 1980s, but stressed that the community must continue to look to the future with new plans and ambitions. He also met with the membership committee to discuss ways to grow participation in church activities.
On Saturday evening a dinner was held with the Primate, members of the parish council, and the families who donated the stained glass windows. The latter include Harry and Suzanne Toufayan, Judge Theodore and Ann Takvorian, Michael and Sonia Ohanian, Richard and Cheryl Bagdasarian, and Lucine Mardirosian-Harvey; donors Steve Nargizian, Dorothy Hoagland, and Arlene Viafore couldn’t be present for the occasion.
Also on Saturday, Dn. Vahe Baghdasarian worked with local acolytes in preparation for Sunday’s service. Guest organist Louise Yardumian and her husband Haig, from St. Hagop Church of Pinellas Park, FL, practiced with the choir.
Aram Nazarian, parish council chair, said the parish looks forward to having a full-time pastor serve the community in the near future. In the meantime, services are held three times a month by visiting clergy, including the Rev. Fr. Mampre Kouzouian, Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, and Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian.