On Sunday, November 22, the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs in Bayside, New York, had a historic day of celebrations! Following the Badarak, Abp. Yeghishe Gizirian blessed the replica of the Holy Martyrs Icon in the sactuary, with the help of students from the church's three schools (Sunday School, Saturday Language School and Day School). Yeghishe Srpazan was joined by Holy Martyrs' pastor Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan, Very Rev. Fr. Ignatius Malkhasyan (guest clergy from the Shoghakat Monastery in Holy Etchmiadzin) and Fr. Elias Carr (pastor of St. Rocco Church in Glen Cove). After the Icon Blessing, a procession of clergy, choir members and altar servers congregated on the church plaza for the historic blessing of Holy Martyrs’ new khachkar, dedicated to the newly sainted holy martyrs in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The khachkar, hand-carved in Armenia by master craftsman Varazdat Hambartzumyan, is a replica of Julfa khachkar from 1601. The entire khachkar blessing service was live-streamed into the church sanctuary for all the children and congregation to view. A beautiful commemorative program followed in the church auditorium prepared by Holy Marytyrs' Genocide Centennial Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Lynn Cetin. The program included congratulatory remarks, entertainment from Holy Martyrs' Shnorhali Choir, Khachaturian selections by concert pianist Karine Poghosyan, a special vocal piece titled "Mee Heen Khachkar" by soprano Yn. Karine Malkhasyan, as well as a video presentation about the khachkar master, Varazdat Hambartzumyan and a presentation about the history of khachkars by Hayr Ignatius Malkhasyan. "A khachkar symbolizes the Armenian people. It is a sacred piece of artwork that represents the hardships and triumphs of our people," said Dr. Cetin during the Commemorative Luncheon. "Our khachkar has its own story from the workshop of our master craftsman, to the plaza at Holy Martyrs. The dream to get a hand carved khachkar from Armenia was Der Hayr’s and today that dream has become a reality. Today’s blessing, luncheon and program is the climax of a year of wonderful commemorative events for our community. During this historic year we have had many opportunities to gather as a family and remember our history with tears and with smiles. Today has been a day of happiness as we commemorated our newly sainted martyrs, first with the blessing of our Holy Martyrs Icon followed by the blessing of our breathtaking khachkar. What a truly amazing year it has been!" To view photos, please click here.