Easter Celebrations and Commemoration of 96th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
Palm Sunday is the beginning of the Holy Week leading to Easter. It celebrates the glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ and His victorious entry to the Holy city of Jerusalem, followed by the Last Supper of Christ with His disciples; His betrayal by Judas the disciple; the Passion and crucifixion; burial and finally His Glorious Resurrection.
On Palm Sunday, April 17, Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian, Pastor of Holy Trinity Armenian Church. Traditionally Palm Sunday is known as the day of children and youth in the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church Canadian Diocese.
Following the tradition, the Sr. & Jr. members of the church youth were blessed by the Pastor. They took vows to continue serving their church unconditionally, with love and dedication. The sermon of the day was more of a conversation with the youth, encouraging them to preserve their Armenian faith and identity. The young members of the AGBU Zaroukian School Choir took part in the beautiful service of this day and accompanied the church choir with their lovely voices. Following Divine Liturgy, the traditional Palm Sunday Lunch was served by the youth of the church.
On Maundy Thursday, Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Zargarian followed by a Luncheon provided by Miss Mary, Mr. & Mrs. Hagop & Rita Artinian in memory of their beloved parents. Dessert was donated by the Tokhmakh and Yeretsian families in memory of their beloved husband & daughter respectively.
The inspiring evening prayers were led by the Primate, His Eminence Bishop B. Galstanian, whose presence was an inspiration for the faithful gathered in the church. His Eminence then humbly followed the order of our Lord Jesus Christ and conducted the washing of the feet ceremony.
Tenebrea service is the remembrance of the betrayal of Jesus and His Passion during the last hours of His life on the cross. It is a ceremony cherished and loved by the faithful. Bishop Galstanian delivered an inspiring message to those present.
On Good Friday a large number of faithful gathered to attend the burial service of our Lord Jesus Christ. The symbolic tomb was later decorated as the faithful laid flowers on it. At the end of the service Fr. Zareh delivered a sermon.
On Saturday, April 23, Easter Eve, the scripture reading of Books of the Prophets started at 6:00PM. The readers were trained by Mrs. Sirvart Mikaelian.
Rev. Fr. Datev Menengichian was the celebrant of Divine Liturgy, during which “Yeraz” youth choir of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church joined the church choir with their angelic voices.
Following Divine Liturgy, the faithful gathered in the church lobby for the traditional House Blessing service. The Parish Council of the Church served chocolates and brandy, along with the traditional “cheureg” baked by Mrs. Mutevelli.
On Easter Sunday, Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian celebrated Divine Liturgy. The church was packed with parishioners. As Easter fell on the day of the commemoration of the Genocide of the Armenians, Fr. Zargarian drew similarities between the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the will of the Armenian people to survive and build their life after the tragedies they went through. He stressed that the Resurrection of Christ has always been an inspiration for all Armenian martyrs and survivors throughout centuries.
The Pastor then invited the church choir conductor, Mr. Shahe Altounian and his family to receive special blessings. He thanked Mr. Altounian for his dedication and for his outstanding services to the church. As a token of appreciation and on behalf of the Parish Council and the faithful, Fr. Zargarian presented Mr. Altounian with a painting by the renowned Armenian artist Shmavon Shmavonian.
A luncheon organized by Women’s Guild of the church and egg cracking competition took place at “Magaros Artinian” Hall where families gathered after church service. Beautiful Easter baskets and traditional “cheureg” were available for all present to enjoy; The baked goodies and decorated beautiful gift baskets was prepared by the wonderful ladies of Women’s Guild.
On Easter Monday, April 25, in the presence of many familites, a Requiem Service was conducted by Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian, Very Rev. Fr. Meghrig Parikian, Rev. Archpriest Fr. Sarkis Gulyan and Rev. Fr. Datev Menengichian for the victims of the Armenian Genocide at the Memorial Monument at the York Cemetery of Toronto, section 3. The ceremony was followed by grave blessings requested by the families present.
The commemoration of the 96th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide organized by Toronto’s Inter-denominational Committee took place at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic church. Divine Liturgy of the evening was celebrated by Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian, assisted by acolytes, sub-deacons and deacons of Holy Trinity Armenian Church, led by Dn. Nurhan Ipekcian. Accompanying Divine Liturgy was St. Mary’s choir, led by Very Rev. Fr. Parikian. The sermon of the day was delivered by Rev. Samuel Albarian, Pastor of the Armenian Evangelican Church.
The Chairman of the Inter-denominational Committee, Mr. Hagop Janbazian, introduced the director of Zoryan Institute to all present. Through videos and a slide show, Mr. Kurken Sarkissian acquainted everyone with the history of Zoryan institute and the extensive research of scholars involved in all branches of this unique organization working towards education and prevention of genocides. He specifically reflected on their work in regards to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide throughout the world.
The events of the evening were wrapped by a Requiem Service for the departed souls of the Armenian Genocide Martyrs, after which the laying of flowers took place at the Memorial Monument.
A light reception was organized by the Women’s Guild of St. Mary’s Armenian Church at the “Hovnanian” Hall of the church.
On the occasion of Easter, Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian accompanied by the Visitation Committee of Holy Trinity Armenian Church Women’s Guild paid a visit to Armenian Seniors residing at different retirement homes. The AGBU Zaroukian School students entertained the residents with their angelic voices and had traditional egg cracking competition with everyone present.