Tbir_Elevation2_Viken_Palm_Sunday_Eve (Large)St. Thomas Armenian Apostolic Church has had much reason to celebrate this past Palm Sunday weekend, on the 51st anniversary of its consecration!

Parishioners were graced by the presence of his Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, at the Divine Liturgy. The theme of the anniversary of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide was woven throughout the events of the day.  As we remember those who were martyred, we must continue their legacy by involving our youth in the church and Armenian cultural activities.  The recent ordinations and celebrations of the day were evidence that this hope is strong among the younger generation of Armenians at St. Thomas.

On the Eve of Palm Sunday, March 19, 2016, three deserving Altar Servers were elevated to the rank of Acolyte (Tbir) in a special service. Amid specific prayers and blessings, Saro Tovmasian, Alex Giritlian, and Matthew Bourghol were ordained by the hand of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, along with our Pastor, the V. Rev. Fr. Papken Dz. V. Anoushian. The four distinct functions of an Acolyte (Tbir) include Doorkeeper (Trnaban), Reader (Untertsogh), Exorcist (Yertm’netsootsich), and Candle Bearer (Momagal). It is a great honor and responsibility for these three young men, two of whom are some of the youngest in the Eastern Diocese, to be granted this Holy Order in serving God and the church.

Sub-Deacon Mark Bourghol was also ordained to the Diaconate of the Armenian Church during the Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016. During this ceremony, also performed by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and our Pastor Fr. Papken, the parishioners who filled St. Thomas church acclaimed “Arjanee eh” (“He is worthy”) as Deacon Mark assumed the responsibility to continue his dedicated service to the church as well as to teach and prepare others. He continues to uphold the sacred traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church with selfless devotion and commitment. Mark has “always loved the teachings of Christ,” and has “dedicated himself to the church to honor Him.”Mark_Ordination_HayrSoorp_Proud (Large)

Congratulations to our Pastor, Fr. Papken, for his instruction to these young men.  He nurtures all of the altar servers with the pride of a true father.  These ordinations are a testament to his students’ devotion and love for Christ and His church.

As parishioners walked on their way to the annual banquet after Soorp Badarak, they received information about the robust activities at the St. Thomas Sunday School in flyers distributed its superintendent by Jane Solakian. They had opportunities to purchase handmade palm crosses and chocolates by members of the ACYOA Juniors (Armenian Church Youth Organization of America), and even the Kirikian Armenian School was selling beautiful scarves and homemade choregs. The church was alive with families and excitement for the day.LADIES

The ordinations were celebrated at the very successful annual St. Thomas Palm Sunday Banquet following the Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday.  This banquet would not have been possible without the efforts of the many devoted parishioners. Days in advance, ladies lovingly prepared delicious foods and set up the tables in the Atrium for receiving guests. Paul Bourghol and John Torigian also assisted in cooking the main course. Mrs. Sylva Torosian’s frequent “angelic touch” and joyful service also helped ensure that the banquet would be a success.

Deacon_Viken_St.ThomasAward_Palm_Sunday (Medium)Deacon Vicken Dermijian was the deserving recipient of this year’s St. Thomas Award for his faithful and devoted service to God and his church. In his thank you speech he humbly said that “in the end, it’s the Lord who gives us our true reward… and we should all strive to be in his good graces, use our abilities to praise him and never be discouraged.” We congratulate Vicken for receiving the St. Thomas Award for his strong faith and outstanding service to the church.  His parents, Sirvart and Nerses Demirjian, looked on with great pride as he was recognized for his dedication to St. Thomas Church.

The banquet, generously underwritten for three years by Haci and Nadya Garipian and Karnig and Ipek Garipian (in memory of their sister, Yeter Cigercioglu) was greatly attended. The Mekhjian Atrium and even a portion of Saddler Hall were full of Palm Sunday parishioners as they were treated to delightful performances by the St. Thomas Youth Orchestra.

Paul_John_MrO_Cooking (Large)Many members of St. Thomas were recognized for their service and loyalty to the church, including Diana Bourghol for beginning and directing the Youth Orchestra, and Mr. and Mrs. Hayg and Nadine Ariyan for chairing the annual Cake Sale. Members of the ACYOA Juniors presented Fr. Papken with a $1,000 donation to the church for ACYOA Day.  The St. Thomas Junior Boys Basketball team was recognized for its win of this year’s ACSA (Armenian Churches Sports Association) Championships. They presented their trophy with pride, and coach Douglas Martaian congratulated the team for their fourth win in the last eight seasons. The newly ordained acolytes and deacon were presented with certificates from the Eastern Diocese.ACYOA_Palm_Sunday_Fundraising (Medium)

Taking into consideration the weekend, which began with the ordination of altar servers to acolytes, and all the events of Palm Sunday, there was so much vitality in the church on it’s 51st anniversary!  In the words of his Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate, it was “an inspiring day” where the “legacy of our martyrs is being continued.”

We have several photo galleries for you to view, with more than 250 pictures & eight videos!
Please select a gallery below to see both photo and video of this special Palm Sunday weekend!

Ordination to Acolyte (Tbir) on March 19, 2016.

Ordination to Diaconite on March 20, 2016.

Palm Sunday Divine Liturgy on March 20, 2016.

51st Anniversary Banquet on March 20, 2016.

St. Thomas is also featured on the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America website, in honor of Archbishop Barsamian’s visit, www.armenianchurch-ed.net/news-and-media/news/altar-servers-ordained-in-tenafly.