By Alin Manukyan
St. Thomas Armenian Church had many reasons to celebrate on Palm Sunday weekend.
On the eve of Palm Sunday, March 19, three deserving altar servers were ordained to the rank of acolyte (tbir). Amid special prayers and blessings, Saro Tovmasian, Alex Giritlian, and Matthew Bourghol were ordained by the hand of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. Assisting the Primate was St. Thomas pastor the Very Rev. Fr. Papken Dz. V. Anoushian.
Sub-deacon Mark Bourghol was also ordained to the diaconate during the Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday, March 20. During this ceremony, also led by Archbishop Barsamian with Fr. Anoushian, the parishioners who filled St. Thomas church announced “Arjanee eh” (“He is worthy”) as Deacon Mark assumed the responsibility to continue his dedicated service to the church as well as to teach and prepare others. Deacon Mark was noted as someone who has “always loved the teachings of Christ,” and has “dedicated himself to the church to honor Him.”
The ordinations were celebrated at the annual St. Thomas Palm Sunday Banquet following the Divine Liturgy. As parishioners headed to the banquet, they received information about the robust activities at the St. Thomas Sunday School. They had an opportunity to purchase palm crosses and chocolates handmade by members of the ACYOA Juniors. The Kirikian Armenian School was selling beautiful scarves and homemade choregs. The church was alive with families and excitement for the day.
The banquet—generously underwritten by Haci and Nadya Garipian and Karnig and Ipek Garipian, in memory of their sister Yeter Cigercioglu—was very well attended, with Mekhjian Atrium full of Palm Sunday parishioners marking the 51st anniversary of the church’s consecration. The crowd was treated to a delightful performance by the St. Thomas Youth Orchestra.
Many members of St. Thomas were recognized for their service and loyalty to the church, including Diana Bourghol for beginning and directing the Youth Orchestra, and Mr. and Mrs. Hayg and Nadine Ariyan for chairing the annual Cake Sale.
Deacon Viken Dermijian was the recipient of this year’s “St. Thomas Award” for his faithful and devoted service to God and his church. In his speech he humbly said that “in the end, it’s the Lord who gives us our true reward…and we should all strive to be in his good graces, use our abilities to praise him, and never be discouraged.”
Members of the ACYOA Juniors presented Fr. Anoushian with a $1,000 donation to the church.
The newly-ordained acolytes and deacon were presented with certificates. Mrs. Sylva Torosian was mentioned for her “angelic touch” and joyful service that made the banquet such a success.
In the words of Archbishop Barsamian, it was “an inspiring day” where the “legacy of our martyrs is being continued.”