A Special Service of Hope & Remembrance

Sunday, the 25th October 2020

Today’s divine liturgy had a special significance at the St. Yeghiche Armenian Church in West London. His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan and members of the St. Yeghiche Church held a special prayer to commemorate the fallen servicemen, for peace and for the victory of the Armenian Defence Army in Nagorno-Karabakh over the Turko-Azeri military. Respecting the government’s guidelines of COVID-19, the community members had filled the church, meanwhile dozens of people – unable to find space inside the Church due to social distancing restrictions – patiently gathered outside until the end of the two-hour-long service. With the blessing of His Holiness KAREKIN II, Catholicos of all Armenians, all Armenian Apostolic churches worldwide, including St. Yeghiche and St. Sarkis in London, will ring their bells every Sunday till the complete victory of the Armenian army, that is defending heroically their ancient heritage, their homeland and their children’s future.

Following the Patarak, a minute silence was observed for the fallen servicemen, after which His Grace Bishop Hovakim revealed that the heads of several Churches in the UK and Ireland, including the Church of England, had joined the Armenian community in their prayers for peace. He reminded the faithful that the devastating war was not only raging in our homeland but resonated across the diaspora. Nevertheless, he confirmed that Armenians were united and strong as never before. His Grace requested to remain calm and confident like those valiant soldiers on the ground.

Thanking the representatives of the Armenian Embassy in Great Britain for their attendance, His Grace Bishop Hovakim invited Mr. Gagik Kirakosyan from the Embassy to address the congregation. Highlighting the importance of being united in those difficult times, Mr. Kirakosyan stressed that confidence and optimism were key for the frontline and for civilians back home. Lastly, the speaker acknowledged the community for their charitable work in support of Artsakh during this perilous period of its history and until the final victory.

Afterwards, the Chair of ACCUK, Mr. Arman Abrahamyan, provided details about the mobilisation of the London community and the humanitarian aid from Britain that has already sent several tonnes of goods to Armenia. Mr. Abrahamyan appealed to continue donations of clothes, medical equipment and other items requested from our homeland. The speaker invited the community likewise to contribute for purchasing ambulances for the frontline with the support of the Church. Lastly, the speaker assured that Armenian organisations would remain mobilised on various fronts until the end of this unprecedented war declared against Artsakh and Armenia, including protests, gatherings, petitions to Parliament, companies and international organisations. Mr. Abrahamyan urged everybody to participate in all public events and actions in order to have maximum impact.

This special Sunday service concluded with a heartening message from His Grace Bishop Hovakim pleading the community to stay strong and spirited in those challenging days and weeks and to have confidence in victory, as it was impossible to win the fearless and patriotic people of Artsakh. From time to time, joyful chuckling of very young children could be heard inside the Parish, reminding that Armenian religious and cultural traditions, inherited from our ancestors, will continue to thrive through the young generation in the homeland or across widespread diaspora owing to the indestructible Armenian spirit.

H. Seymour

London, 25.10.2020