St. Hagop Armenian Church (Tampa, FL)
Palm Sunday Live Stream 10:30AM-11:30AM
Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the Governor of the State of Florida has issued a statewide “Stay At Home” order and the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), Very. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, has instructed all Armenian Churches to close until it is safe to congregate.
As such, parishioners are not permitted to come to worship on Sunday until further notice. Instead, the largest Armenian Church in Florida, St. Hagop Armenian Church (Tampa) will live stream the Palm Sunday Badarak and pastoral message of Fr. Hovnan Demerjian from 10:30AM to 11:30AM. To participate in the live stream, please visit St. Hagop’s Facebook Page.
Live Stream Schedule (Church Closed Indefinitely)
- Palm Sunday, April 5th: Badarak & Message, 10:30AM-11:30AM
- Holy Thursday, April 9th: Service of Darkness-Khavaroom 7:00PM-8:00PM
- Good Friday, April 10th: Burial Service & Message, 7:00PM-8:00PM
- Easter Sunday, April 12th: Episcopal Badarak from NYC, Time TBD
Soorp Haroutiun Armenian Church (Orlando, FL)
Palm Sunday Live Stream 11:00AM
Palm Sunday Live Streaming on Soorp Haroutiun Armenian Church Facebook Page.
St. David Armenian Church (Boca Raton, FL)
Palm Sunday Live Streaming on St. David Armenian Church Facebook Page.
St. Mary Armenian Church (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Palm Sunday Live Streaming on St. Mary Armenian Church Facebook Page at 11:00AM
Holy Week Schedule:
- Palm Sunday: April 5 at 11:00AM, Divine Liturgy/Badarak (Live streaming)
- Holy Thursday: April 9 at 7:00PM, Darkness Hour / Khavaroum Prayer Service (Live streaming)
- Holy Friday: April 10 at 12:00PM, Crucifixion Prayer Service
Burial Prayer Service, 6:00 pm (Live streaming)
- Holy Easter Sunday: April 12 at 10:30AM, Holy Resurrection Badarak (Live streaming)
ACYOA DAYS – April 5th & 6th
A Message from Bishop Daniel
On Guidelines for Holy Week and Easter Services During the Pandemic
My Dear People:
I greet you at this extraordinary time in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lifts our burdens, dispels our fears, and fills our hearts with hope and love for one another.
As you are all too aware, government and health authorities have warned that the pandemic crisis is entering a critical phase, and have called on all individuals and institutions to redouble their efforts to slow transmission through physical separation. The worldwide Armenian Church, among all religious institutions, must do its part, and hold as its first priority the health and safety of our people.
To uphold this responsibility, we are compelled to make unprecedented adjustments to our Holy Week and Easter services. Let me say at the outset that taking such measures, even at this time, brings genuine pain to us all. But in our uncertainty we place ourselves in the forgiving hands of our merciful Lord Jesus.
Most, but not all, of the territory of our Diocese is under the “stay at home” order from civil authorities. Under such circumstances, we have sought counsel from His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians; from all of our clergy; and from medical experts of the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization. Having done so, we hereby issue the following guidelines, which we expect our clergy and Diocesan leadership to observe.
- Clergy should conduct all Holy Week services, with the aid of one deacon (or at most two), and one singer (or at most two).
- Clergy, deacons, and singers must strictly abide by rules of social separation, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet separation at all times, and avoiding contact with liturgical or other objects. Clergy have the liberty to adjust services at their discretion in order to abide by social distancing rules and local, practical considerations.
- Where a priest is considered acutely vulnerable to infection, and is thereby unable to lead services, at his discretion an ordained deacon may preside over all services, except for the Divine Liturgy itself.
- Where it is not possible to assemble priest, deacon, and singer due to pandemic concerns, services may be omitted at the pastor’s discretion. (In such cases, faithful should be directed to broadcast options; see below.)
- Broadcasting services over the Internet is encouraged wherever possible.
- The faithful are not permitted to be present in the sanctuary during any services. They must restrict themselves to participating in services via the Internet broadcasts, which have been readily available throughout this pandemic crisis.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR SPECIFIC SERVICES
On Palm Sunday (April 5), Great Thursday (April 9) and Great Saturday (April 11), the Divine Liturgy should be conducted wherever possible, according to the guidelines above.
On these occasions, only the celebrant priest will receive Holy Communion.
For this Palm Sunday, the “Opening of the Doors” (Turenpatsek) ceremony will not be conducted in our Diocese. However, later in the year, a special “Opening of the Doors” ceremony is planned for all Diocesan parishes, to celebrate the re-opening of the churches to our faithful.
On Palm Sunday, palms may be blessed where possible, and reserved for distribution to the faithful when the churches are re-opened later in the year.
On Holy Thursday, the “Washing of the Feet Ceremony” will be omitted this year.
On Easter Sunday, plans call for the Bishop to celebrate Badarak at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York, in strict accordance with the guidelines above, on behalf of all the clergy and faithful of the Diocese. The Badarak will be broadcast over the Internet, with the Bishop’s sermon addressed to the united faithful and clergy of our Diocese. Parishes that are able to conduct the Easter Divine Liturgy according to the guidelines above may do so, of course. But all are invited and encouraged to follow the broadcast Badarak from St. Vartan Cathedral.
Having issued these guidelines, it remains to affirm that we live in eager expectation of that blessed day when we will reassemble in our churches, to praise and glorify God, standing physically side-by-side with each other—and standing spiritually with our risen Lord. In our present circumstance, the assurance of St. Paul speaks directly to us, giving consolation and confidence for today:
“I am certain that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all Creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
With my prayers,
Save the Date: ACYOA General Assembly & Beach Retreat will be held May 21-25 in St. Petersburg, FL. More details to come!
By Arsen Yelegen
FLArmenians Guest Contributor
From January 19 to 21, 47 young adults from 18 parishes across the Eastern Diocese gathered at St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL for the annual ACYOA Seniors Chapter Workshop. Organized by the ACYOA Central Council, the weekend’s theme was “Stewardship: Time, Talent, and Treasure.”
Participants shared their ACYOA experiences and brainstormed how they can utilize their time, talents, and treasures to strengthen their local chapters. The Rev. Fr. Paren Galstyan, pastor of St. David Church, served as the weekend’s chaplain. The Rev. Fr. Vartan Joulfayan, pastor of St. Mary Church in Hollywood, FL was also present for several sessions throughout the weekend.
The workshop began on Friday evening with a welcome by the ACYOA Central Council, and the participants got to know each other through icebreakers and a group activity. The evening concluded with a vespers service led by Fr. Paren.
Saturday began with a team building activity which involved various groups working together to create the tallest freestanding structure using only newspaper and masking tape. Participants were blindfolded, forced to use one hand, had their legs tied together, and had their mouths taped shut to make the activity more difficult. This activity emphasized teamwork and recognizing the special strengths and talents that each participant brings to the table.
Following this activity, Central Council members led a Bible Study from 1 Corinthians which spoke about stewardship and recognizing our individual talents and gifts.
Afterwards, Central Council members gave a presentation of what it means to be a steward and the importance of church dues, time commitment, and mentoring younger ACYOA members. Artak Apyan, from St. Hagop Church of Pinellas Park, FL, gave a presentation about the importance of stewardship and the role it has played in his life in the church.
Participants then split up into groups of two and had 60 seconds each to talk about themselves, followed by another 20 minutes to get better acquainted with each other. At the end of the session, participants were asked to describe what role they think their partner would be great at in their chapter based on the skills and abilities they shared earlier.
After lunch, ACYOA members made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Boca Helping Hands as part of a service project. Participants also signed a card for Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin, pastor of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church, who is currently in a rehabilitation center and awaiting a heart transplant.
Central Council members discussed the mission of the ACYOA, as well as the Five Circles of the Cross. Participants then split into groups and discussed various strengths and weaknesses they have observed in their local ACYOA chapters and parishes.
“There was a lot to be learned from the other chapters, big or small. Little tips go a long way. I was able to take home ideas I have never thought of and hope to make the coming years a great success,” said Brian Sarafyan of the Church of the Holy Martyrs in Bayside, NY.
The last session of the day involved goal setting. Participants watched a TED Talk video about how great leaders inspire action, and they were then split into groups based on their Central Council liaisons. Participants identified leadership qualities of members in their own local ACYOA chapters and started planning events their chapters could host.
On Sunday, the group participated in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. David Church before heading back to their home parishes. “This was my first Chapter Workshop so I didn’t know what to expect. I enjoyed the teambuilding activities that helped us learn about ourselves and how we can best serve the Church and the Armenian community,” said Elen Balasanyan of St. Sarkis Church in Charlotte, NC.
“It was great to get insight from peers through reflections and learn new problem-solving techniques that we can use to strengthen our own chapters.”