Primate’s Message On The Occasion Of The Last Unction Of ArchpriestF

3325 North Glenoaks Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91504
Tel: (818) 558-7474
Fax: (818) 558-6333
E-mail: [email protected]


We are here today to celebrate the life of the newly deceased
Rev. Fr. Shahe Avak Kahana Semerdjian, a servant of Christ and the
Armenian Apostolic Church, who has fulfilled his Christian duties and
responsibilities with utmost perseverance, with immense Christian
love, with diligence and by inspiring his faithful with his truly
exemplary sacrificial life. Fr. Shahe Semerdjian has understood well
the depth of the Christian teachings. For him the Resurrection of the
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has been the answer to many unresolved
questions. His childhood has been shattered by the Genocide; however
through the strength of his Christian faith, he has not only endured
the hardships of life, but has also nourished his soul and the faith
of his forefathers, and has become an ordained priest of the church,
thus becoming the tool of divine love and inspiration for the faithful
members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, entrusted to his pastoral

Today we are celebrating his life. Truly this is a moment of
thanksgiving. We give thanks to the Lord for the gift of his love, for
his dedication to the Armenian Apostolic Church, for his sacrificial
life to his family and closest friends. Today we celebrate his life
with the new vision and commitment to resemble our lives to the path
of his life which has been a Christian way of life.

He touched the hearts and souls of many. He will continue to inspire
us all with the legacy he has left for the younger generation. I
myself cherish those intimate moments I have spent with him in the
past year. During each visit I was strengthened by his presence,
with his vision for a brighter church. He will always be remembered
in my prayers as a good shepherd.

Therefore as a servant of Christ and a servant of the Armenian
Apostolic church I share with you, Yeretzgin and children of Der
Hayr, your grief. However I would also like to assure you that my
faith in Christ des not allow me to mourn the death of Fr. Shahe,
for that would be an injustice to a pastor who never lost his hope in
Christ and the Resurrection of our Lord, and looked upon Resurrection
as the victory over death.

Dear Yeretzgin, Greg, Dikran, Nanette and grandchildren, rejoice
in your hearts, for God has blessed you with a wonderful husband,
father and grandfather. Let us remember him constantly in our prayers
with thanksgiving.

Let’s pray so that we, too, remain in God’s service for a long time.
As Christians we ought not to lose our hope. This liturgy is the
doorway to eternal life. As his brothers and sisters in Christ,
we are gathered here to pray for his departed soul, but at the same
time you reawaken in us the hope for Resurrection. When the departing
ship disappears over the horizon, it appears as though it has sunk;
we forget that it will be greeted by others on the other shore. Death
is not the end of life. Death for a Christian is the beginning of a
new life in the hands of God. Therefore our beloved Father Shahe is
resting in the hands of the Almighty God. May God repose his soul
in the abode of the Heavenly saints and may He grant us the vision,
wisdom, and courage to become good shepherds for Christ’s Church.

May 27, 2004
Los Angeles, CA