His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, presided over the celebrations of the feast of Sts. Vartanantz in New Jersey. On Thursday, Feb. 16, the Prelate celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at Sts. Vartanantz Church, of Ridgefield, NJ, on the feast of the naming of the church. Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Pastor, was present, as well as Reverend Fathers Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor of St. Iluminator’s Cathedral; Nareg Terterian, Pastor of St. Sarkis Church (Douglaston, NY), and Vahan Kouyoumdjian, Prelacy’s outreach pastor. Hovnanian School students and their parents were also in attendance, as has become a tradition. In his sermon, the Prelate exalted the motto of the Vartanantz feast—“conscious death is immortality”—and referred to instances in Armenian history that reflected its spirit. Turning to Hovnanian’s students, he urged them embrace faith in the Armenian church and their identity, to bring their input to progress in society.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the traditional dinner prepared by the Ladies’ Guild was offered at the parish hall, with a function by Hovnanian students that included songs and poetry. In his message to the public, Archbishop Anoushavan expressed praise for the decades-long cooperation between Sts. Vartanantz Church and Hovnanian School, recalling the efforts made by Archbishop Karekin, then Prelate (later Catholicos), who together with Vahakn Hovnanian, Garabed Kinosian, and Bedros Tashjian, conceived and executed the idea of the Armenian School of New Jersey, today’s Hovnanian School. His Eminence expressed his joy over the continuity of the Armenian spirit that drove older generations of schoolchildren and that he sees reflected in the new classes. He also congratulated the school staff and students’ parents for their sacrifices towards the growth of the Hovnanian School. The event was closed with a blessing by Fr. Vahan and the singing of “Giligia.”