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,
TAMPA, FL – On January 30, 2019, Lt. Col Armen Zakaryan, Armenian Armed Forces Senior Representative for US Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, organized a reception on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Armenia’s Armed Forces.
LTC Zakaryan delivered opening remarks and a presentation on the history of the Armenian Army, followed by remarks from Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, Pastor of St. Hagop Armenian Church in neighboring Pinellas Park, FL. The reception featured Armenian dishes, catered by Surbuhi Zakaryan, which were greatly enjoyed by all the participants. “May this fellowship of countries [U.S. and Armenia] be blessed by God for peace,” stated Fr. Demerjian.
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.