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Primate to Visit Orlando

Florida Armenians invite you to join Armenian Americans at Soorp Haroutiun Armenian Church in Orlando, FL on Sunday March 18, 2018 at 10:30 am as His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern Diocese) will join Rev. Fr. Mampre Kouzouian for the Divine Liturgy.  The Divine Liturgy will start at 10:30 am sharp. Please be prompt on this special Sunday.

Following the Divine Liturgy there will be a Potluck Lenten
Luncheon in the Khachadourian, Tchobanian Hall.   Please contact Lisa Haroutunian at (407) 920-8695 to let her know what you would like to bring.

Lunch Donation will be $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for children (age 5-12) and free for children under 5 years old.

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The 10th Anniversary of Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian’s Ordination

By Suren Oganessian
FLArmenians Tampa/St. Petersburg Contributor

Sunday, August 13, 2017 was a day of two celebrations at St. Hagop Armenian Church in Pinellas Park, Florida. Not only was it the day of the annual Blessing of the Grapes, but it was also the date chosen to celebrate Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian’s tenth anniversary of being ordained into priesthood. Local Florida Armenians traveled from as far as Sarasota to be a part of this special event, which was not only an important anniversary for Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, but for the Armenian community of Tampa Bay itself.

Fr. Hovnan has accomplished much in the U.S. and in Armenia, having taught there with the U.S. Peace Corps from 1996 to 1998, and then helping to establish the Armenian Volunteer Corps in 2000. He joined the Diocese of the Armenian Church in 2003, and in June 2007 he was ordained and assigned to be a pastor at St. Hagop. Before the establishment of St. Hagop Armenian Church, Armenians of the Tampa Bay area had no place else to conjugate, not without a long drive to Orlando or Boca Raton. In the last decade, the church has become a beacon for the local Armenian community, which though small is finally beginning to establish itself in the area. “The Armenian community here is very welcoming,” Fr. Hovnan told FLArmenians.com. “People here are from everywhere, making it very diverse. The community is always looking forward,” he said.

The day began with the Divine Liturgy, moving on to the Blessing of Grapes and a celebratory luncheon for Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian. Presiding over the ceremony was Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, who traveled all the way from New York City. It was one of many visits he has made to St. Hagop Armenian Church over the last ten years. He has watched the local parish grow from 23 members in 2007 to over 150 today. “With God, things become possible,” said Archbishop Barsamian at the accompanying luncheon. “To have an Armenian Church in St. Petersburg 50 years ago would have been seen as a dream. But it is good to dream.” Thanks in part to the excellent spiritual leadership Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, he went on to say, that dream has come to fruition.

Fr. Hovnan Demerjian accepted the praise of his peers with humbleness and optimism for the future. While Fr. Hovnan’s immediate mission in coming to Tampa Bay – to build the church and the accompanying Shahnasarian Hall – has been completed, he notes that the long-term mission to “bring people together in a family of God” is ongoing. Over the next ten years, Fr. Hovnan has even bigger plans. “The work of building the Armenian community we all want has just begun. In the next ten years, we hope to have an improved Sunday school and even more faith and heritage programs,” Fr. Hovnan said.

Armenian Church Primate Barsamian Visits Naples

His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), headquartered in New York City.

NAPLES, FL – The Armenian Church of Southwest Florida (ACSWFL) was honored to welcome Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian to Naples from February 25 to 27.

“Unlike the archbishops of most churches, who are tasked with baptizing or confirming or ordaining around their diocese, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, of the Armenian Orthodox Church, comes to Naples this weekend simply to be with his Southwest Florida flock.

“It will be his first time here since 2006, a cause for major celebration, with two dinners and the church’s service, known as the Divine Liturgy, on Sunday,” the Naples Daily News reported.

A private dinner was held on Saturday, February 25, at the Vanderbilt Country Club, hosted by the parish council.

On Sunday, February 26, the Primate celebrated badarak at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, with 100 faithful taking part in the service. His sermon focused on the observance of Poon Paregentan.

Following badarak, the mission parish organized a banquet to welcome the Primate at Longshore Lake Country Club in Naples, with 75 people attending.

“He’s a real Christian spirit,” FLArmenians.com Naples Contributor Frank Avakian Stoneson told the Naples Daily News. “He has really pushed for ecumenism, and he’s served on interfaith organizations around the world.”

During the banquet, Archbishop Barsamian presented “Certificates of Service” to five members of the parish council who retired last season after eight years of dedicated service.

The honorees are: Carole Meghreblian, chair; Joseph Meghreblian, treasurer; Suzanne Zakarian Szczesny, secretary; Mariam Tatosian, assistant secretary; and Kathy Mekjian, member.