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Con-celebration of the Divine Liturgyl

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  • Thomas Daniel
    PRESS OFFICE Diocese of the Armenian Church of America 630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016 Contact: Jake Goshert Tel: (212) 686-0710; Fax: (212) 779-3558
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2001
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      Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
      630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
      Contact: Jake Goshert
      Tel: (212) 686-0710; Fax: (212) 779-3558
      E-mail: jakeg@...
      Website: www.armenianchurch.org

      November 27, 2001

      Armenian Church will host annual gathering of Oriental Orthodox

      Con-celebration of the Divine Liturgy
      10 a.m. on Saturday, December 1, 2001
      St. Leon Armenian Church
      12-61 Saddle River Road
      Fair Lawn, NJ

      By Jake Goshert

      With a variety of voices, regional leaders from several denominations
      will celebrate their common purpose -- praising the Lord -- during a
      special ceremony at St. Leon Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

      The Diocese of the Armenian Church of America will host the Con-
      celebration of the Divine Liturgy starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday,
      December 1, 2001.

      The event will bring together leaders from all of America's Oriental
      Orthodox Christian communities (Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Malabar
      Indian,and Syrian).

      "It's a good opportunity for dialog with our Oriental Orthodox
      brothers in Christ," said Fr. Diran Bohajian, pastor at St.
      Leon. "This is a good opportunity to worship with them. We are in
      communion with them, we share the same theology; but because of the
      distances, we do not get to see them that often."

      The honor of hosting the annual event is given to a different Oriental
      Orthodox denomination each year. The Armenian Church was chosen this
      year because 2001 marks the 1700th anniversary of Armenia's
      conversion to Christianity, making it the first Christian nation in
      the world.

      During the service, archbishops and bishops from each of the churches
      will celebrate a portion of the liturgy. And while all of the
      participants at the alter will represent Oriental Orthodox traditions
      (early Christian faiths that, while functioning independently, remain
      in communion with one another), organizers say anyone of any
      background will find interest, beauty, and spirit in the service.

      "Not only is it a religious event, but it's also an education, a
      chance to learn about these five different traditions that will be
      represented," said Fr. Simeon Odabashian, an organizer of the event
      and the Mission Parish Project coordinator for the Diocese of the
      Armenian Church of America. "And for Armenians, it's a chance to
      learn that we're not just the Armenian church, but that there are
      these other churches, sister churches, that have a common philosophy
      that we can all celebrate."

      The Con-celebration was conceived by members of the Standing
      Conference of the Oriental Orthodox Churches (SCOOCH), a working-
      group of leaders from the five churches. Meeting regularly, the
      group tries to find ways to increase communication and understanding
      within the Oriental Orthodox community.

      "Having this group, we're able to come together and have a united
      voice. That's the goal: to have a united voice and be a united
      witness to the Oriental Orthodox tradition," Fr. Simeon said.

      Cultivating working relationships with other churches creates closer
      friendships, especially helpful to the ethnically-centered faiths
      that find their followers dispersed throughout the country. In
      Charlotte, NC, for example, there is an Armenian community with
      plenty of faith, but no church building. Frequently, they will use
      the church built by the city's Coptic community as a surrogate.

      But in the shadow of the September 11 attacks on New York, working
      together has brought not just a helping hand but also a calming

      "Even prior to that infamous day, it was not uncommon for
      representatives of religious groups in America to meet and share
      ideas about common concerns regarding religious and ethical issues in
      the modern world," said Archbishop Khajag Barsamian of the Diocese of
      the Armenian Church of America. "Far from curtailing such
      gatherings, September 11 obligated the nation's religious leaders --
      particularly here in New York -- to meet even more frequently; it
      provided an occasion to put the teachings of our respective religions
      about peaceful co-existence -- a teaching common to many religions --
      into actual practice."

      Along with Archbishop Barsamian, the participants in the ceremony will
      include Archbishop Abune Mattias from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church,
      Archbishop Mor Nicholovos Zachariah from the Malankara Archdiocese of
      the Syrian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Mar Cyril Aphrem Karim of the
      Syrian Orthodox Church, and Bishop David of the Coptic Orthodox

      The Con-celebration of the Divine Liturgy, open to the public, will
      take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 1, 2001, at St. Leon
      Armenian Church, 12-61 Saddle River Road, in Fair Lawn, NJ. A
      complimentary luncheon will follow the ceremony and participants are
      asked to R.S.V.P. by calling the church office at (201) 791-2862.

      -- 11/27/01
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