Archive for the ‘Holy Fathers of the Church’ Category

        This Sunday, September 17, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Khachverats), which is one of the five Tabernacle Feasts observed by the Armenian Church.

       This holiday is a general celebration of the Holy Cross and is commemorated by most Christian churches on September 14. The Armenian Church celebrates it on the Sunday closest to the 14th.

       The cross, once a means of death for criminals, gradually became the dominant symbol of the Christian world, an object of reverence and worship, and symbol of triumph over death. There are four feasts devoted to the Cross in the Armenian liturgical calendar, with the Exaltation being the most important. The other three are: Apparition of the Holy Cross, Holy Cross of Varak, and Discovery of the Cross.

       The ceremony for the exaltation begins with the decoration of the Cross with sweet basil (rehan), a sign of royalty, and also symbolizing the living cross. After the Bible readings, the officiating priest lifts the Cross and makes the sign of the Cross, and blesses the four corners of the world (Antastan service), and asks the Almighty to grant peace and prosperity to the people of the world.

       The Khachverats ceremony was prepared by Catholicos Sahag Tsoraporetsi (677-703). He also composed the hymn that is sung on this occasion. As with other Tabernacle Feasts, the Exaltation is preceded with a period of fasting (Monday to Friday), and followed by a memorial day (Merelots).

       Name day commemorations this Sunday include: Khatchadour, Khatchig, Khatcherets, Rehan, Khatchkhatoun, Khatchouhi, Khatchperouhi, Khosrov, Khosrovanoush, Khosrovitoukhd.

From Eastern Prelacy’s Crossroad E-Newsletter

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   This Saturday, July 16, the Armenian Church remembers King Drtad (Tiridates), Queen Ashkhen, and Princess Khosrovitoukht. After torturing and condemning St. Gregory to the pit and because of the cruel and fatal treatment of the Hripsimiants nuns, King Drtad became inflicted with strange and debilitating maladies. Queen Ashkhen, and the king’s sister, Princess Khosrovitoukht (who had secretly become a Christian) convinced the King that only Gregory could cure him. Thus, Gregory was released from the deep pit. With the King’s subsequent recovery, all three helped Gregory spread Christianity throughout Armenia. In their later years the Queen and Princess lived in the fortress of Karni, and the King retired to St. Gregory’s retreat on Mt. Sebouh.

Posted from the Crossroads, E-Newsletter of the Eastern Armenian Prelacy

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       This Saturday, July 9, the Armenian Church commemorates one of the three feast days dedicated to St. Gregory the Illuminator: The discovery of his relics. St. Gregory is considered to be the “Apostle of Armenia.” After years of evangelizing, St. Gregory sought solitude and an ascetic life. He chose a cave on Mount Sebouh as his dwelling place. It was here that Gregory died alone. Shepherds found his body and without realizing who he was buried him under a pile of stones. Later a hermit, Karnig of Basen, who had been a disciple of St. Gregory saw a vision and went to Mount Sepouh where he found the site of Gregory’s burial. He took the remains to the village of Dortan for burial, where King Drtad was buried. Relics from the right hand of St. Gregory are at the Holy Mother See of Etchmiadzin and the Holy See of Cilicia. The Catholicoi mix the new muron  (chrism) with the old muron with the golden right hand that contains the relics.

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       This Tuesday, July 5, the Armenian Church commemorates Constantine the Great and his mother, Helena. Constantine was the first Christian emperor of Rome. In 330 he founded Constantinople as a “second Rome,” and considered himself to be a servant of God. He was buried amid the apostles in the basilica he founded in their honor in Constantinople. Helena followed her son in becoming a Christian and devoted her life to charitable work. She built many churches and monasteries and is believed to have played an important part in the recovery of the true cross in Golgotha. She is also believed to have helped find Christ’s exact place of burial where later the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built.

Posted from the Eastern Prelacy’s Crossroads E-Newsletter

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       This Saturday, July 2, the Armenian Church remembers Catholicos Nerses the Great and Khat the Bishop. Nerses the Great was the father of Catholicos Sahag I. He succeeded two Catholicoi whose reigns were unexceptional, and the people were eager to return to the line of their beloved Gregory the Illuminator. Nerses was a student of St. Basil of Caesarea, one of three great Cappadocian Fathers. Nerses’ pontificate was the beginning of a new era. He brought the church closer in service to the people, rather than to royals and nobles. He convened the Council of Ashdishad that resulted in numerous laws on issues related to marriage, worship, and customs. He built many schools, hospitals, and monasteries. He sent monks to preach the Gospel throughout the country. His bold actions resulted in great displeasure by the royal family, and in 373 he was reportedly poisoned by the king. His accomplishments for the spiritual and social well-being of the common people earned him the gratitude of the entire nation and the honorific “Great.”

       Khat the Bishop worked closely with St. Nerses the Great. He, like Nerses, had great passion for social issues, especially helping the poor. Nerses entrusted most of the benevolent work of the church to Khat. He is so closely associated with St. Nerses that the church decided to commemorate them on the same day.

       By the light of unspeakable grace of your divine knowledge you arose on the land of Armenia, merciful heavenly Father; have compassion on us who have sinned.

       Saint Nerses, pure in soul, from birth you were chosen to inherit the paternal lot of shepherding righteously and lawfully.

       You adorned the Church with the laws of truth and established good order within it; through his prayers have mercy on us, O Christ.

       With great honor Saint Nerses was honored by the blessed chosen holy fathers of the Council where he confessed the Spirit true God with Father and Son.

       You revealed to Saint Nerses the hidden mystery of times yet to come; through his prayers have mercy on us, O Christ.

       At the command of the heavenly King he accepted the cup of death from the king and was translated into heaven into the heavenly nuptial chamber.

Canon to the Holy Patriarch Nerses the Great from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church

Posted from the Eastern Prelacy’s Crossroads E-Newsletter

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Posted from Crossroads, Eastern Prelacy E-Newsletter

On Saturday, January 22, 2011, the Armenian Church remembers the Holy Fathers Athanasius and Cyril.

       Athanasius was a bishop and doctor of the church. He was born and died in Alexandria. While a deacon, he attended the Council of Nicaea in 325, where he was a strong opponent of Arianism. He served as Bishop of Alexandria for 46 years; about 17 of those years were spent in exile because of disagreements with the emperor. Much of his writings have survived, as well as some of his letters. Athanasius in one of the four great Greek doctors of the church, along with Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and Gregory of Nazianzus.

       Cyril of Alexandria was a father and doctor of the church, born in Alexandria and nephew of the patriarch of that city. He presided over the third Ecumenical Council at
Ephesus. He wrote treatises that clarified the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. He was a brilliant theologian of the Alexandrian tradition and highly revered by the Church of Armenia.

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