His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, accompanied by Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church of Ridgefield, NJ, and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York, paid the traditional Easter visit to Hovnanian School for the first time in two years after the pandemic outbreak.
After being received by the Head of School, Mr. Chris Sarafian, the Prelate was accompanied to the auditorium, where he spoke in plain language to the students about the celebration of the Holy Week and its significance. He particularly stressed that the Resurrection of Christ is the foundational pillar of our faith and serves as a guiding principle in our life, leading us to eternal life. The Prelate also explained the meaning of water, bread, and salt, saying that these three elements are vital for the preservation of mother nature and our own, and he blessed them.
An engaging Q&A session followed. The Prelate encouraged students to participate in this constructive conversation. The clergy, as well as the school staff and some parents who were present, were pleasantly surprised by the knowledgeable questions asked
by the students about Jesus, the Cross, and the last words recited by Jesus on the Cross; differences between Catholic and Orthodox churches; about the black priestly garments, as well as the blessing of the water, bread, and salt. The Prelate and the accompanying priests were pleased to answer students’ questions.
In praise of the students’ mature questions, the Prelate quoted his seminary teacher Bishop (later Catholicos) Karekin Sarkissian of blessed memory, who used to say: “For me, students’ questions are as important as written and oral exams to appraise them, because they show their intellectual capacity and interests, as well as their self-confidence and daring.” Therefore, the Prelate concluded, he felt the highest appreciation for Hovnanian’s students based on their questions, which also reflected the valuable input by teachers and parents in their education.
The traditional visit concluded with a group photo, following which the Prelate and the clergy visited the child care center for 6- to 24-month old children. The clergy then met with Chris Sarafian, Head of School; Hera Makhoulian, Dean of Faculty, and Silva Mesrobian, Head of Armenian Studies, who gave them information about the student body, which counts 140 this year, and extracurricular activities.