Blessing of Pomegranates

Pomegranates were blessed by Der Hovsep Karapetyan and Der Kapriel Mouradjian at St. Mary Church on Sunday, December 30. In 2015 the Supreme Patriarch of the Armenian Church, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of all Armenian, Introduced a new service for the Blessing of the Pomegranates, one of the seven biblical species of fruits and grains, at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Throughout the centuries, the pomegranate has been woven into Armenian architecture, cuisine, art, manuscripts, literature and liturgical vestments as it represents life, fertility, and abundance. 

Pomegranates were blessed after the Badarak and distributed to the faithful with a wish to bring prosperity and abundance in the year 2019.
New Year's Eve in Washington, D.C.

The Armenian community of Greater Washington and Baltimore ushered in the 2019 New Year at the ballroom of Hyatt Regency in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. Organized by the Armenian Community Events Planners, over 350 guests enjoyed the back drop of festive holiday lights and welcoming remarks by Kevork Marashlian thanking supporters in advancing the group's mission of bringing both area churches and its parishioners together. Der Hovsep Karapetyan of St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church and Der Sarkis Aktavoukian of Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church were invited to offer their prayers and good wishes for the New Year and Soorp Dznount.

The evening's entertainer Bartev and his Band took the stage to warm up and welcome the crowd with Armenian music while everyone enjoyed a three-course dinner. Also enjoyed was dancing to the Armenian rhythms and pop songs selected by DJ Chris Habibian. At the stroke of midnight came cheer, champagne, and platters of choreg and cheese for each table and dancing until early morning. 
Feast of Nativity and Theophany Celebrated at St. Mary

On January 5 the Jragalouits Badarak began with the Evening Service. After the Badarak, parishioners and friends enjoyed the traditional Home Blessing service in our church hall and a reception sponsored by the Parish Council.

St. Mary Church then celebrated the glorious Feast of the Birth and Baptism of our Lord with the Divine Liturgy and Blessing of the Water Service on January 6. We congratulated Hovsep Seferian, the son of Avedis and Anna Sefferian, who served as the Godfather for the Blessing of the Water. Parishioners participated in the liturgy on both days and greeted one another with the renewing and joyous news of our Lord's Revelation "To you and us good news! Tzez yev mez Medz Avedis! Christ is born and revealed. Kristos tsnav yev haytnetsav. Blessed is the revelation of Christ. Orhnyal e haytnutyunn Kristosi."

A festive luncheon was hosted by the Ararat Avak Society and enjoyed by over 100 parishioners at the Church Hall fallowing the Badarak. 
Avak Society Nativity Luncheon

After our parishioners celebrated the Feast of the Birth and Baptism of our Lord on January 6 they enjoyed a festive luncheon presented by the Ararat Avak Society. Over 100 people attended a lavish meal of koufta soup, rice pilaf, mushroom chicken, vegetables, green salad, and traditional anoush abour dessert. The parishioners celebrated the holiday in a lovely setting within our church community of friends and family. 
Pilgrimage to St. Vartan Cathedral and Visit to Armenia Art Exhibit 

On January 12th and 13th, 48 of our parishioners and friends embarked on an exciting journey to New York City to visit the Armenia Art Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as pilgrims offer their prayers at St. Vartan Cathedral. 

The bus left early on Saturday morning, January 12 and drove the group straight to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where everyone enjoyed the inspirational and marvelous display of the art and culture of Armenians from the conversion to Christianity in the early fourth century through the leading role on international trade routes in the 17th century. The exhibition emphasized how Armenians developed a distinctive national identity in their homeland at the base of Mt. Ararat and how they maintained and transformed their traditions as their communities expanded across the globe. 

After the beautiful and uplifting time at the museum, the group enjoyed delicious Armenian food at the Krichian's Grill restaurant in New Jersey.
In the morning of January 13, everyone traveled to St. Vartan Cathedral to participate in Badarak. The celebrant was Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan. The pilgrims were welcomed by the Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, the Vicar of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral and enjoyed the tour of the cathedral and luncheon afterward. 

The entire group of pilgrims had an uplifting and educational time. St. Mary looks forward to other educational excursions later in the year.
27th Anniversary of the Armenian Armed Forces Celebrated at St. Mary

On Sunday, January 27, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 27th Anniversary of the Armenian Armed Forces, a special Hokehankist prayer service took place at St. Mary for the souls of all of our freedom-fighters and soldiers who sacrificed their lives for freedom and liberation of our Homeland. 

At the conclusion of the Badarak and Hokehankist service parishioners and friends enjoyed a lavish hospitality table hosted by the Office of the Defense and Military Attache in the U.S. 

Present were Ambassador Varuzhan Nersesyan, Military Attaché Col. Arman Mkrtchyan and Abp. Vicken Aykazian who expressed their well wishes on the occasion of the Armed Forces Anniversary and spoke about the importance of having a strong and brave army for the defense of the motherland and Artsakh. 
Hayko Bagdat's Presentation at St. Mary

n January 25 parishioners and guests gathered at St. Mary to honor the memory of Hrant Dink with a guest speaker, an Istanbul-Armenian journalist, and writer Hayko Baghdat. In his presentation, Hayko Baghdat shared his thoughts about the direction that the modern Turkish government is moving towards in their denialist policies regarding the Armenian Genocide. He also spoke about the deteriorating human rights situation in today's Turkey and the current state of the Armenian community in Turkey. 
He shared how his life was dramatically changed in January of 2007, during the funeral of Hrant Dink, when the Armenian community decided that two Armenian young men along with a clergyman had to escort the funeral hearse in which Hrant Dink's body was being carried. "The two young men came up against 200,000 people who came to the funeral to express their love and support, and these two men, sitting in the car, when everything was done, were no longer able to continue their lives the same way. One of them was Garo Palian, and the other was me " said Baghdat. 
Because of his journalistic activities, Hayko Baghdat was forced to leave Turkey and move to Germany after numerous threats. Today, the 43-year-old journalist continues his fight for justice and the rights of national minorities in Turkey.

Hokehankists - Requiem Services

January 20, 2019
For the Soul of: Hrant Dink
Requested by: St. Mary Parish Council and Der Hayr

For the Soul of: Rubik Avetisyan
Requested by: Ararat Stepanyan

For the Soul of: Emil Yeghiazarian (1 year)
Requested by: Gayaneh Contos (Sister)

For the Souls of: Marutyan Ivan, Marutyan Yura and Oganyan Rimma
Requested by: Karen Marutyan

January 27, 2019
For the Souls of: The freedom-fighters and soldiers who sacrificed their lives for freedom and liberation of the homeland
Requested by: The Office of the Armenian Defense Attache in U.S. 

For the Soul of: Garo Yeghissian (21st year)  
Requested by: Patricia, Arvid, Talene and Ara 

May God rest their souls in peace and may His loving favor be with their loved ones .  

January 10, 2019
Khajak Hacobian
Beloved father of Joe Hacobian, brother of Vartan, Hacob, & Hriar Hacobian, and Hasmik Hacobian.

January 15, 2019
Rose Arakelian
Beloved Mother of Eleanor and David (Son-in-Law) Marvel, Anna Gharakanian (Sister), George and Robin (Nephews) and their Families.
May the Lord rest their souls in peace and grant comfort to the family members and friends.
St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church  
Rev. Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan, Pastor
4125 Fessenden Street N.W, Washington, DC 20016 
202-363-1923 /