By Stephan S. Nigohosian
NEW YORK — In a spiritually moving and significant milestone in the life of the Eastern Diocese, clergy and faithful laity gathered as one Christian body at St. Vartan Cathedral on June 9, to bear witness as Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan took his place as the 13th Diocesan Primate.
Several hundred faithful filled the cathedral sanctuary to take part in the special “service of enthronement.” In addition, the event was broadcast live on the Diocese Facebook and YouTube media channels, providing the global Armenian community with the opportunity to join in the beginning of a new chapter in the Diocese’s 124-year history.
As the service commenced, deeply rooted traditions of our Armenian Christian faith were unmistakably visible. Incense wafted from the poorvar (censer) and swirled about the clergy entered the sanctuary in procession, filling the cathedral with the sweet smell of God’s Kingdom. Fr. Mesrop bestowed blessings among the faithful as he made his way towards the altar, and the expressions of joy and reverence on the faces of all who interacted with him reflected how deeply they were moved by the emotional experience.
Among the high clergy in the procession were Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the Diocesan Legate, and Bishop Daniel Findikyan, Fr. Parsamyan’s predecessor as Primate, who stood abreast with him at the foot of the altar in a gesture of unity and grace.
“The most tangible symbol of the Primate’s authority is the assa, the ceremonial walking staff, which I have the great honor of placing into the hands of our new Primate, Hayr Mesrop Vartabed,” said Findikyan as he passed the staff into Parsamyan’s hand.