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His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, presided over the Divine Liturgy at St. Sarkis Church, in Douglaston, NY, on Sunday, Dec. 25. The celebrant, Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Pastor, gave a tweak to the Bible reading of the day, saying every faithful must put to use the talent and grace given by God without fear, led by his love for God.  

Following the Divine Liturgy, the traditional St. Stephen’s ceremony took place, with deacons Bedros Kalayjian, Zaven Varjabedian and Razmig Nenejian giving incense to the holy altar and receiving the Prelate’s blessing. Archbishop Anoushavan extolled them, as well as the choir, for their service. He also praised Fr. Nareg for contributing to the development of the spiritual, cultural, and social life of the parish. 

In words addressed to the faithful, the Prelate told them not to consider St. Stephen’s feast only for its symbolic value but see an existential message in it. When the first martyr was being stoned, he raised his eyes to the sky and saw Christ sitting to the right side of God. In the same way, the Prelate said that the Armenian people, which has been hit with death threats for the last three years, is always raising its eyes to the sky, continuing to stand up for justice and truth.