BOCA RATON, FL – On April 29, St. David Armenian Church warmly welcomed 47 clergy to the 2013 Clergy Conference presided by His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenia Church of America, at the Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center in North Palm Beach, Florida. Situated on 26 beautiful acres of waterfront property on Little Lake Worth, it offered an ideal setting for spectacular sunrises, while the beautiful gardens of unusual natural beauty staged a contemplative and peaceful environment for meditation. The Conference began with a Dinner Cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway, and ended with dinner at St. David Church banquet hall on Wednesday, May 1st. A faithful friend and church neighbor, Fr. Mark Leondis, Pastor of St. Mark Greek Orthodox Church, was one of the guest speakers who stressed loving God and our neighbor is not only our dream and vision, but most importantly it is Our Lord’s commandment.
On Thursday, May 2nd, through Saturday, May 4th, the 111th Annual Diocesan Assembly was held at the Boca Marriott Hotel, where various programs were presented and discussed.
At a lavish banquet on Friday, May 3rd, awards were presented to Edward and Janet Mardigian for “Armenian of the Year,” and to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as “Friend of the Armenians.”
On Saturday morning, a requiem service was held for His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the late 96th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, and long-serving former Primate of the Eastern Diocese.
The Assembly opened with a reading of the message of His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Fr. Nareg welcomed the representatives from various parishes of our Diocese. In his closing remarks, His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian thanked the Assembly officers and expressed his appreciation to Very Reverend Fr. Nareg Berberian, and to Carol Norigian and to St. David parish for their warm hospitality in making this Assembly a splendid and memorable occasion.
ST. DAVID ARMENIAN CHURCH HONORS DEPARTING PASTOR, VERY REVEREND FR. NAREG BERBERIAN
On Saturday evening, May 4th, Fr. Nareg was enthusiastically greeted by old and new friends in the Diocese, St. David community members, as well as Delegates and Clergy who attended the 111th Diocesan Assembly to express their warm sentiments and best wishes on his imminent assignment as Locum Tenens to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Having served eleven years as Pastor of St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, Florida, Fr. Nareg was honored with a very-well attended Farewell Reception at the Marriott Hotel where many successful events of the 2013 Diocesan Assembly took place.
His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate presided over the event and eloquently articulated Fr. Nareg’s many accomplishments in the service of Our Lord. Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Dean of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary spoke about the academic achievements of Fr. Nareg. His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the Ecumenical Director, spoke about his pastorate at St. David. The Parish Council Chair, R. Carol Norigian, who also chaired the Diocesan Assembly, spoke on behalf of St. David Church to express their appreciation for making this a vibrant community and for Hayr Soorp’s steadfast commitment and support in ensuring that our youth as well as our seasonal and year-round parishioners are engaged in the life of the church in meaningful ways. Fr. Nareg was very touched by this wonderful tribute and expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the beautiful Bishop’s Panagia, which will be presented to him at his last Badarak at St. David.
FIVE WOMEN HONORED AT THE ASSEMBLY
On Thursday, May 2, at the 4th Annual Woman of Wonder (WOW) Luncheon during the 27th Annual Women’s Guild Assembly, Carol Norigian, Claudette Sarian, Nina Stapan and Rose Kazanjian of St. David Armenian Church, and Naomi Davitian of St. Mary Armenian Church, were honored by the Women’s Guild Central Council for their many years of devoted service and dedication to the Women’s Guild and the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian presented special certificates to them for their many years of faithful service, and wishing that they continue their love for Christ and His church with the same zeal and dedication.
FAREWELL COFFEE HOUR SUNDAY JUNE 2
This Sunday, June 2nd, there will be a special farewell coffee hour following the Badarak in honor of Fr. Nareg. This is the perfect opportunity for you to express your best wishes to him before he leaves for Brazil. On behalf of St. David Armenian Church a special appreciation gift will be presented to him.
By Janna Mosinyan
FLArmenians Guest Contributor
Jacksonville, FL – The community here has grown to the point that, last year, our mission parish purchased a new property, which will serve as the epicenter of the Armenian-American community of Jacksonville. The new parish location will play an important role in the development of our community. It will be a place where local Armenians will be able to come together for worship, celebrations, and cultural and social events. This will enable the dream of Armenians living in northern Florida to manage their own institution, plan for bible studies, Sunday school and more, to become reality. The Jacksonville community has been working together to reform the building, as construction work takes place every Sunday with the help of dedicated community leaders. While church construction is in progress, the Armenian community of Jacksonville, Florida gathers each month for the monthly “Badarak,” or Divine Liturgy. The women’s choir is performing with the participation of Janna Mosinyan, Elen Mosinyan, Olivia Arslanian, Silva Baboyan, and male members Rafael Grigoryan, Aleksandr Shafiyev, Nicolas Yedigarov and Erik Mirzoyev are all active participants of the service as well.
This summer has been especially productive for the young members of our community. Aleksandr Shafiyev recently represented the Armenian Community of Jacksonville on his pilgrimage to the Holly Land. Shafiyev was excited to discover that out of all the Christian nations, Armenians are one of two that have a special quarter in Jerusalem to practice their religion. “Now, that I have had an up-close experience of the Armenian traditions, I am eager to go back to my roots,” said Shafiyev. Hearing an Armenian who has never been to Armenia talk about his heritage with such a great pride is a delightful feeling. On July 11, 2012, The Eastern Diocese announced the recipients of the Diocesan Academic Scholarship for 2012-13. The Armenian community of Jacksonville is proud to announce that two of our students, Rafael Gregoryan and Erik Mirzoyev, have earned the scholarship by committing tremendous time and dedication to our community. Since 2008, I have been an active member of the Armenian-American community of Jacksonville, and it is evident that our local parish has been crucial for the success and development of young Armenians here. As an Armenian who arrived to United States only four years ago, I have found a little Armenia, here in north Florida, thousands of miles away from home.
Janna Mosinyan is an active member of the Jacksonville Armenian-American community, and sings in the parish choir. She is currently studying Political Science at the University of North Florida.
By Tamar Merjian
Guest Contributor, St. David ACYOA
They say a picture is worth 1000 words and I never truly understood the meaning of that saying until this trip. Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land began on June 9 departing from JFK airport in New York City. Leaving at midnight, all 35 of us were quite anxious to get there, not knowing what to expect. Our 10-day itinerary began Monday morning at the Church of the Nativity where Archbishop Khajag Barsamian celebrated the divine liturgy. From there, we pilgrims embarked on a journey from the Jordan River, to the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem, and the Sea of Galilee. By the end of the week we had reached the Mount of Olives and the Holy Sepulcher, where we met local youth as well as celebrating the divine liturgy at 4 AM.
When we arrived and checked into our hotel Sunday night, Der Mardiros had asked us what we were seeking on our journey and we all for the most part said we were searching for a better understanding of our spirituality and our roots, not actually expecting to find it. As the trip progressed some of us experienced these wow moments sooner than others but personally mine happened the day we went to the Vank. Singing Der Voghormya in Sts. James Cathedral I felt something that I can’t and don’t know how to explain in words, a chill came over me and I began to cry. I realized this was my moment where it all made sense, who we are, the struggles we’ve been through, everything. As the day progressed I continued to feel this intense emotion and when we finally got to the school within the vank I could no longer contain myself. Walking through the halls I could feel the pride that those students posses for being Armenian Christians in the Holy Land. Over all the journey we embarked on, one in which retraced Jesus’ footsteps was an emotional, spiritually uplifting, and eye opening experience that I recommend all to embark on and I am so thankful for the opportunity that was presented to me.
With the recommendation of Very Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian, Tamar Merjian joined the Diocesan Youth Pilgrimage to Jerusalem last month. Tamar is an active member of St. David Armenian Church. She is involved in the youth group, and a staff member in our Armenian and Sunday School. In September, Tamar will deliver a formal Power Point presentation on her pilgrimage to the Holy Land.