By Margaret Atayants
FLArmenians Tallahassee Chair
On April 21, 2017, the Jacksonville Armenian community gathered together to watch the weekend premiere of the movie, ‘The Promise.’
Together with Elmira Grigoryan, Chairwoman of the Armenian Church of Jacksonville, we organized Armenians across northern Florida to assemble together and watch the movie in one theatre, which we secured for the 7:00pm showing. The theatre was packed!
When Mrs. Grigoryan first contacted me about getting everyone together, we were very concerned that we would not be able to pull it off due to the small number of Armenians in North Florida. However, to our surprise, not only did we fill up the theatre with our committed Armenians, but many non-Armenian friends arrived and supported us, too. People were even sitting on the steps!
The event turned out to be a big success for the small but growing Jacksonville Armenian community. Elmira and I would like to give special thanks to everyone who made this gathering possible.
The next day on Sunday, Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian blessed us with his presence by leading the Easter Badarak lead by our wonderful choir and our dedicated altar boys, Alex Shafiyev and Nicholas Yedigarov. Badarak was then followed by a big community dinner with homemade food from all the different Armenian backgrounds. We also celebrated the birthdays of members for the month of April. The afternoon concluded with Armenian children’s songs. After a full weekend of events, the love and warmth of everyone made me, and all those apart or new coming of the Jacksonville Armenian community, truly feel right at home.
Jacksonville Parish Completes Hall Renovation
Last weekend, parishioners of the Jacksonville mission parish gathered for the provisional opening of the church’s new hall. On Sunday, February 17, the Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian, the Diocese’s Director of Mission Parishes, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and performed a Home Blessing service in the new facility.
The hall is located on the first floor of a two-story building that the parish purchased in the summer of 2011. Since then, parishioners have worked together to renovate the building, which will serve as a community center, where local Armenians can gather for worship, and for cultural and social programs. The second floor, which will be completed soon, will be used for liturgical celebrations and performing sacraments. The formal blessing ceremony will be presided over by Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian later this year.
Parish Council chair Elmira Grigoryan expressed her appreciation to the community for its dedication to the project. Special thanks went to Suren Vardanian and Harout Baboyan, who have been overseeing the renovations.
Also during his visit, Fr. Abdalian performed a requiem service to honor the Armenian victims of Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing. Many of the families in Jacksonville moved to the U.S. after fleeing anti-Armenian pogroms in Sumgait and Baku.
ACYOA Juniors Gather for Retreat in Florida
Earlier in February, Jennifer Morris, the Diocese’s Youth Outreach Coordinator, traveled to the Sunshine State where she led the Western Florida ACYOA Juniors Retreat. More than 20 teens from St. Hagop Church of Pinellas Park, and Soorp Haroutiun Church of Orlando, gathered for small group discussions and Bible study sessions that encouraged them to think about how they can better share the light of Christ in their everyday lives.
On Sunday morning, the Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, pastor of St. Hagop Church, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and welcomed Jennifer Morris to speak to the parish about the Diocesan Summer Camp programs. The retreat was hosted by St. Hagop Church, with the leadership of youth adviser Yn. Anna Demerjian and the support of several parish volunteers.
Story combined from the February 21st Armenian Church E-Newsletter.