This Sunday, May 19, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost (Hokekaloust), the descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and the birth of the church. Jesus had commanded the apostles to “Go therefore to all nations and make them my disciples,” (Matthew 28:19). Recognizing the difficulty of this great responsibility, Christ had advised His disciples not to begin their teaching mission until after the “descent of the Holy Spirit.”
In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that on the day of Pentecost the apostles gathered in one place, and suddenly a strong wind seemed to fill the house in which they were assembled. “And there appeared to them flames like tongues of fire distributed among them and coming to rest on each one. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them power of utterance,” (Acts 2:2-4). It was the Jewish feast of Pentecost (Shabuoth) commemorating the giving of the law on Mount Sinai and many people from different lands had come to Jerusalem. They marveled that they could understand the Apostles’ words in their own language. This day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles was the beginning of the mission of the Church to spread the Good News throughout the world.
In a sense Pentecost is the opposite of what occurred in the Old Testament story of the Tower of Babel when God disapproved of the building of a tower to reach the heavens and He created confusion by having the workers suddenly speak in different tongues, and unable to understand each other. At Pentecost He gave the disciples the ability to speak other tongues and thus be able to be understood by everyone everywhere.
Life-creating God, Spirit and lover of mankind, with tongues of fire you enlightened those united with one accord in love; therefore we also celebrate today your holy descent.
Filled with joy by your coming the holy apostles began in different-sounding tongues to call into unity them that had been divided from each other; therefore we also celebrate today your holy descent.
By spiritual and holy baptism through them you have adorned the universe in a new and radiant garment; therefore we also celebrate your holy descent.
From the Canon for the First Day of Pentecost according to the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church
Posted from Eastern Prelacy’s Crossroads E-Newsletter