This Saturday, October 8, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Holy Translators, one of the most beloved feasts. There are, in fact, two such commemorations in our liturgical calendar. One is on the Thursday following the fourth Sunday after Pentecost, which can occur in June or July; the other is on the second Saturday of October.
The October commemoration focuses on the creation of the Armenian alphabet (406) and on the accomplishments of the Holy Translators. Mesrob Mashdots, the founder of the alphabet, and Catholicos Sahag, together with some of their students, translated the Bible. Schools were opened and the works of world-renowned scholars were translated. Their work gave the Armenian Church a distinct national identity.
In modern times the entire month of October has been designated as a “Month of Culture.” Armenians throughout the Diaspora and Armenia mark this with cultural events not only in remembrance of the past, but in celebration of modern-day scholars, theologians, writers, and translators.
Specifically remembered this Saturday along with Mesrob and Sahag, are: Yeghishe, a renowned student of Sahag and Mesrob, who served as secretary to Vartan Mamigonian and who wrote the great history of the Vartanantz wars; Movses of Khoren, another student of Sahag and Mesrob, who is revered as the father of Armenian history; David the Invincible, a student of Movses, received most of his education in Athens, where he was given the title “Invincible” because of his brilliance in philosophy; Gregory of Nareg, who is considered the greatest poet of the Armenian nation and its first and greatest mystic; and Nerses Shnorhali, a great writer, musician, theologian, and ecumenist.
The holy translators, like stewards, were interpreters of the divine Scriptures by inventing letters by means of which are preserved on earth as living words for the shepherd flock of the New Israel, praise God with a sweet sounding hymn.
They looked on the greatness of earthly glory as on darkness and having put their hope in the immortal bridegroom they were made worthy of the kingdom of heaven; praise God with a sweet-sounding song.
By the power of the Father’s wisdom the uncreated existing One by means of their translation they made firm the throne of Saint Gregory, praise God with a sweet-sounding song.
Saint Sahag having dressed in the new word, the holy scriptures, adorned the Armenian churches, praise God with a sweet-sounding song.
Canon to the Holy Translators, from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church
Posted from the Armenian Prelacy’s (Eastern) Crossroads E-Newsletter