A Blessed Fate of the Blessed Curtain

Guest editorial in the “Key” Newsletter – April 15, 2012 by Rev. Dr. Zaven Archpriest Arzoumanian

During the Holy Week as we sang heartfelt melodies at St. Peter Armenian Church in Glendale, we read in between Gospel pas-sages regarding the last days of Our Lord on earth before His Crucifixion. “The curtain of the Jerusalem Temple was rent into two from top to the bottom” at the time Christ was crucified, as said in the Gospels. An amazing sign had its blessed echo in this lively church of St. Peter, headed by its Pastor the Reverend Father Vazken Movsesian.

The church was packed on Palm Sunday, and before his sermon the Pastor announced quietly that the large and heavy curtain of the Holy Altar, ten years already in use, was to be replaced by a new curtain, donated by a faithful. We figured at least a couple of months needed before the replacement. 
Two days later, on Holy Tuesday, while the Primate was presiding over the Ten Virgins ceremony, the new curtain was already in place and the dedication took place the same evening, again very quietly. We were amazed! A pair of large size gold-laced Armenian-style Crosses graced the new curtain. The old curtain was folded properly and laid on the side of the lower step of the Holy Altar.

Remember the curtain in the Jerusalem Temple was rent INTO TWO. So far at St. Peter one part of the story became a blessed reality: the curtain is hanging gracefully, naturally looking brighter than the old. But the real story stems from the other part of the Jerusalem’s Curtain: What to do with the old curtain that had absorbed sweet incense every week for ten years along with the fervent prayers of the faithful?
Ordinarily anything old replaced by new is quietly discarded. But not when it comes to the genius attention of Father Vazken Movsesian, an outstanding and caring priest of the Western Diocese, as well as the hard working Pastor of St. Peter parish for the past decade. This is what we heard him announcing on Easter Sunday as I was the Celebrant and waiting to deliver the sermon upon his kind invitation.
“Tomorrow according to our Church Calendar is a Memorial Day. There will be a Requiem Service for all our beloved departed souls. Following the service I will ask the ladies of this parish to come equipped with scissors to cut the old curtain most carefully to fit each part as a single blanket to be distributed to the homeless and to the poor.”
What a blessed fate to a curtain that remained faithfully hanging before the Holy Altar of Christ, His Cross indeed! From now on the poor will continue praying for them and for us. Our prayers shall meet wherever the blankets reach. Good for you and thank you Father Vazken our Brother in Christ.
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