By Krikor Tertsagian
"Aztag" Newspaper, Beirut Lebanon
I am not a churchgoer every Sunday without fail. I have not mastered our thousand year old church’s sometimes golden, but often tragic history.
From Gregory the Illuminator to Movses of Khoren, passing by Gregory of Nareg, all the way to the details of our centuries old pair of Catholicates – I am far from mastering these!
I have not read the Nareg. I also confess that I haven’t finished reading the Holy Gospels from cover to cover.
I am familiar only in general with our wonderful Holy Divine Liturgy.
Every time I enter the Armenian Church, my body turns into an electrified current; my head quickly yields to my heart, and my heart in turn yields to my soul.
The enticement at the entrance of the church, is it the half melted candles? Is it our church’s altars with their starkly recognizable and mystical letter "eh?" Is it the faith and devotion of the Armenian clergyman, the singing of the choir, the bishop’s throne? I wonder, is it the history of the Armenians summarized in a few sharagans, or Jesus’ crucifixion, rendered sublimely by a talented artist? The answer to all these things is not even important.
I know that the church wields over me a hypnotic and indescribable influence, ponderous and deep with its thousand year old weightiness.
The choir sings, “Christ in our midst has been revealed, he who is God…” In a flash my soul is awakened, my eyes are filled and my inner world is turned upside down, even more than the cauldron of newly prepared Holy Muron. “Father, have you begun to cry again?” my son, Alex, whispers in my ear. “No, my son, I am not crying, I am only slightly emotional.”
“Don’t start again!” says my other son, Sevan. “It’s nothing,” I answer, “Nothing.”
Why did it happen? I don’t know, what did happen? Those hypnotic “what happened” I do not know, nor am I able to explain.
“Faith” and “reverence toward the Church” are words and phrases that are not easily explainable. Open any dictionary and look up the definition of “faith.” I assure you that all definitions and answers are lacking and insufficient.
Feelings have always been stronger yet than mere strings of words.
Yes, “faith” is an indescribable human feeling.
But “faith of the Armenian Church” becomes more complex, pressing but at the same time healing and satisfying.
I am sure that one day my two boys will understand and feel all these things.
Translated by Fr. Stephan Baljian