Held on December 18 at the diocesan headquarters in Burbank, 40 altar servers from throughout the diocese gathered to learn more about their role in the Armenian Church. Fr. Vazken Movsesian was instrumental in organizing this special event. The workshop was a part of an entire weekend dedicated to the remembrance of St. Stephen, the first deacon and martyr of the Christian Church, and the ministries of deacons today.
In a bible study discussion, Fr. Mardiros explained the role of the deacon in reference to St. Stephen (Acts 6). Dn. Garen Hamamjian, a current St. Nersess seminarian from the Western Diocese, gave a talk about martyrdom, explaining the three-fold understanding of nahadak as witness, martyr and champion of Christ.
Fr. Mardiros also spoke about St. Nersess Seminary, explaining the seminary’s 50+ year history. Participants watched the newly produced video 12 Vocations and a short discussion followed. The afternoon concluded with a Vesper service in the cathedral.
On Sunday morning, Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the cathedral by Hovnan Srpazan, assisted by priests and more than 30 deacons and altar servers, including Dn. Garen. As is tradition, the deacons all wore priestly crowns on the occasion of St. Stephen. During the service, a special Khatchkar was dedicated in honor of Dn. Hrair Dekmejian, who originally came from the Eastern Diocese, for his 80 years of service as an altar server and deacon. Abp. Hovnan Derderian also introduced Fr. Mardiros to the congregation and presented him with a beautiful hand cross, on the occasion of his visit to the Western Diocese.
During his stay, Fr. Mardiros joined an ACYO project and attended the annual ACYO Christmas Fellowship hosted by Hovnan Srpazan. He also had the opportunity to meet with two new candidates who plan to apply to St. Nersess Seminary this coming year and to spend time with Abp. Hovnan to update him on the seminary's activities.