On Sunday, August 20, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church of Whitinsville, Massachusetts, followed by the Antasdan ceremony and the Blessing of the Grapes, an occasion during which he alerted about a new genocide underway in Artsakh, which has been blockaded for nine months now.
In his sermon, the Prelate referred to the reading of the day, highlighting that the Holy Mother of God and Elizabeth, mother of St. John the Baptist, even though belonged to different generations, one being a young woman and the other old, were led by the Holy Spirit to embrace and encourage each other with love. Those who love God do not recognize differences between ‘new’ and ‘old’ generations. The description by the Evangelist of how Elizabeth feels the baby leaps in her womb as Mary greets her is a unique experience that symbolizes the privilege of motherhood, as well as a proof of the holiness of life, which begins not only after birth but also throughout pregnancy. The Prelate urged the faithful to lead their lives with the truth of the Gospels, staying away from unhealthy stances in modern life.
The Prelate then joined the community for their annual picnic, with more than 800 people attending the event. Anoushavan Srpazan presided over the Antasdan ceremony of the Blessing of the Four Corners of the World and the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony, assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Ardag Arabian (Worcester), Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian (Providence), Rev. Fr. Bedros Shetilian (Indian Orchard), Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian (North Andover), Rev. Fr. Tadeos Barseghyan (Worcester), Rev. Fr. Samuel Ajemian (New Britain), and Rev. Fr. Mikael Der Kosrofian, pastor of the host church, Soorp Asdvadzadzin.
Fr. Mikael thanked Archbishop Anoushavan, his clergy brothers, the crowds of people for attending and supporting the Whitinsville community and praised and thanked God for His blessings upon Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church and her parish. The Prelate gave a brief explanation of the blessing of the four corners of the world to the multitude of people on the church grounds.
Archbishop Anoushavan reflected on the symbolism of the ceremony, saying that the prayers elevated from this small plot of land were meant for the entire world. He remembered the suffering of our brethren in Artsakh, which had been blockaded for 251 days until that Sunday and urged the attendees to press local and government officials to end this new crime of genocide.
The event was a record breaker for the community and featured music by John Berberian, Bruce Gigarjian, Leon Janikian, and Jason Naroian and delicious food prepared by members of St. Asdvadzadzin Church.