Armenian Church Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan led a weekend of sacred observances and fellowship at the St. Hagop Armenian Church of St. Petersburg, FL, on January 24-26.
The visit began on Friday evening, when the Primate ordained a pair of young parishioners, Edmond Keshishian and Shagen Babayan, as tbirs, during a solemn vespers service. Afterwards, parishioners adjourned to the church hall for dinner and an informal discussion period with Bishop Daniel.
The Friday service was a prelude to the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, when Edmond and Shagen joined Robert Maslar and Michael Sarafian in receiving the sacrament of ordination as sub-deacons, by the bishop’s hand.
“There were tears in people’s eyes, including mine, during this ordination—maybe for the same reason people cry at weddings,” said pastor Fr. Hovnan Derderian. “When anyone new is married, in a sense we are all re-married and rededicate ourselves to our own sacred bond. When anyone is newly ordained, we are all in a sense re-ordained and re-baptized, in that we’re rededicating ourselves to follow Christ and serve each other in faith, hope, and love.”
Following Holy Badarak, Bishop Daniel blessed a new khatchkar (stone cross) donated to the church by parishioners Ara and Rita Keshishian. At a reception, the parish screened an original video about the artisan who carved the khatchkar.