On Tuesday morning, November 21 the St. Nersess Seminary community celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God to the Temple. Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Sahak Kaishian, a seminary alumnus who is currently coordinating the electronic cataloguing of the seminary's library collection as he completes his Master's degree in Library and Information Science.
Assisting at the altar were seminarians Deacon Vahe Hovsepian, Sub-deacons Jason Demerjian and Justin Avedis Ajamian, and Benjamin Rith-Najarian.
His Eminence Abp. Yeghishe Gizirian, retired Primate of the Armenian Church of England presided and preached the sermon.
According to ancient sources, the feast commemorates an event in the early life of Mary. According to Jewish custom, her parents, Saints Joachim and Anne dedicated her to God's service by presenting her to the religious officials of the Temple in Jerusalem.
St. Nersess is one of very few Armenian Churches in the world which retains the tradition of celebrating the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Presentation, which the Armenian Church celebrates every year on November 21.
At the conclusion of the Badarak, Fr. Findikyan offered a prayer of blessing for the women of the community, comprising seminarians Maria Derderian and Megan Jendian; Mrs. Anna Demerjian, wife of seminarian Jason Demerjian; Mrs. Ruzan Hovsepyan, wife of Deacon Vahe Hovsepyan; Professor Roberta Ervine; Dr. Sara Terian, wife of Dr. Abraham Terian; and Ms. Michelle Gonzalez, the seminary office manager.
"This feast day provides a fitting opportunity to recognize the extraordinary women in our midst," said Fr. Daniel. "We give thanks to God for them, praying that He will guide them in discerning and fulfilling His calling to each of them for the glory of His holy name."
Each of the women received a red long-stemmed rose in love and gratitude.
St. Nersess Seminary is the only Armenian seminary in the world that offers academic programs for laymen and women. This year's two women seminarians are pursuing Master's degrees in theology and Armenian Church Studies to prepare them for education and youth ministries within the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.