Contact Us: 818-558-7474
When His Eminence, Abp. Hovnan first organized the Deacons’ Council six months ago, we were still believing that the pandemic would be over soon. So much so, that we organized three pilgrimages in August, September and October and one celebration, commemorating the patron saint of Deacons, St. Stephen in December. The pilgrimages were difficult to pull off, but we managed to organize and execute them. As for the feast of St. Stephen, the First Deacon and First Martyr of the Christian Church, we celebrated, though not as we had planned.
The story of St. Stephen comes to us from the Book of Acts. In the Christian Church, he is remembered as the first deacon and the first martyr for Christ. The Armenian Church designates a day during the last week in December for his commemoration, this year it fell on December 26.
The Deacons’ Council had planned for a very elaborate ceremony for this weekend, one which would have included senior deacons “passing the baton of service” to the younger generation of deacons now serving in the Western Diocese. But the pandemic lasted to the end of the year, and so the feast of St. Stephen, instead of being in one locale, was commemorated throughout the diocese, with deacons connected to one another virtually.
In churches throughout the diocese, the priests, deacons and choirs celebrated with the singing of hymns and the traditional wearing of crowns by the deacons themselves. In a sense, deacons were united with one another through the awesome power of Christian comradery. It was the spirit of St. Stephen that led this celebration today. From pulpits in our diocese, priests reflected on the protodeacon and spoke a blessing to the deacons in attendance.
At the Cathedral, celebrate Fr. Manoog Markarian invited the deacons before the altar, ornamented with crowns upon their head and gave the blessings of His Eminence and all the clergy to the deacons. Thousands participated in the feast day via the live streams from our churches. This year's commemoration of St. Stephen’s day was just as unique as all the events of this past year.
We take this opportunity, on behalf of the Deacons’ Council and all those we represent, to congratulate our deacons on this occasion. We look forward and pray for the day when we will be able to celebrate our liturgy together. May the blessings of Christ and His Holy Church be upon all of you.
Fr. Vazken Movsesian