Archive for the ‘Saints’ Category

This Saturday, January 14, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Forerunner (also known as St. John the Baptist). John is an important figure in the New Testament and is mentioned prominently in all four Gospels, which indicates that he had an effective ministry baptizing those who repented their sins. He announced the coming of “one greater” than himself who is “to come baptizing not with water but with the Spirit.” (See Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:16-17; John 1:26-27). According to the account in the Gospel of Luke, John was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a cousin of Mary. John is considered to be the last of the Old Testament prophets and then precursor of the Messiah. John is one of the two prime intercessors to Jesus Christ, the other being Mary, the mother of the Lord. 

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       This Saturday, December 17, is the feast of St. James (Hagop) of Nisibis (Mdzbin). He participated in the first ecumenical council in Nicaea (325), where he earned great respect from the Emperor Constantine and the other attendees. He Was born and died in the city of Nisibis (Nusbyien) located in what is now southeastern Turkey, an important early Christian center in Asia Minor and a transit point of the caravans traveling east and west. 

       St. James is one of the most beloved saints in the Armenian Church. He is also honored by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Coptic Church, and the Eastern Catholic and Roman Catholic churches. He was ordained Bishop of Nisibis in 320 AD.

       St. James sought to find Noah’s Ark as proof for skeptics. On the eve of his ascend as he rested, an angel appeared and told him he need not climb to the summit and gave him a piece of the Ark which was nearby. This piece is kept at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. 


       The heavenly hosts rejoiced at the greatness of your feats by which you in the flesh became like the angels on high; we have you as intercessor for us before the Father in heaven. And we with a joyful voice celebrate your holy memory, O venerable witness of Christ, holy bishop James; we have you as intercessor for us before the Father in heaven. You decided on severe toils to see Noah’s Ark and from the angel’s hand received a portion of the wood which served the human race as salvation; we have you as intercessor for us before the Father in heaven.”

(Canon to St. James, Bishop of Nisibis, from the Canons of the Armenian Apostolic Church) 

Posted for Crossroads E-Newsletter of the Armenian Prelacy (Eastern USA)

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       This Sunday, December 11, is the eve (paregentan) of the Fast of St. James (Hagop) of Nisibus. This five-day fast, Monday to Friday, leads us to the Feast of St. James, which is next Saturday, December 17. Traditionally the entire fifty day period of Advent was a period of fasting, similar to Great Lent. In more modern times, three week-long fasts are observed during Advent, namely, Fast of Advent (Hisnagats Bahk), Fast of St. James (Sourp Hagopeh Bahk), and the Fast of the Nativity (Dznuntyan Bahk).

Posted from the Armenian Prelacy’s (Eastern) Crossroads E-Newsletter

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Friday, December 9, is the Feast of the Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary. This is one of the eight feast days devoted to the Holy Virgin Mary in the Armenian Church’s Liturgical Calendar. This feast day is always on December 9, and is part of the church’s preparation for Christmas. The faithful rejoice in the event that celebrates Mary’s conception in fulfillment of the prayers of her parents and nurtured to become the mother of the Messiah. 

Reposted from the Eastern Prelacy’s Crossroad E-Newsletter

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               Apostle Thaddeus                                   Apostle Bartholomew

This Saturday, December 3. The Armenian Church commemorates Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew, two of the twelve apostles who were the first evangelizers of Armenia, and were martyred there, giving the Armenian Church its apostolic identity and earning them the title, “First Enlighteners of Armenia.”

       Thaddeus came to Armenia about 43 AD to preach Christianity. He was martyred in southeastern Armenia. His tomb lies in the Armenian monastery of St. Thaddeus (Iran) where a chapel was built in the third century.

       Bartholomew is believed to have arrived in Armenia about 66 AD. He was martyred in Atamagerd [City of Adam], southeast of Lake Van.

       An apostle is “someone who is sent,”—an emissary or ambassador of the Kingdom of God, sent to announce the Kingdom’s coming in Jesus Christ, and authorized to claim men and women’s allegiance to him. “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God,” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

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       This Saturday, October 29, the Armenian Church commemorates and remembers St. John Chrysostom (Hovhan Vosgeperan), a notable Christian bishop and preacher in Syria and Constantinople. He is famous for his eloquence—Chrysostom means “golden mouth.” The Orthodox Church honors him as a saint and one of the “three holy hierarchs” (along with Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian). He is also recognized and honored by the Catholic Church and the Church of England.

       John converted to Christianity in 368 when he was barely 21 years old. He renounced a large inheritance and promising legal career and went to live in a mountain cave where he studied the Bible. He was later ordained a priest and soon his sermons were attracting huge audiences. He challenged wealthy Christians, whose generosity was confined to donating precious objects for display in churches. “The gift of a chalice may be extravagant in its generosity,” he said, “but a gift to the poor is an expression of love.”

       His outspoken criticism was not appreciated by the hierarchy and he was sent into exile at various times. He had a profound influence on the doctrines and theology of the Armenian Church because he spent the final years of his exile in Armenia. Some of his important works have survived only in Armenian manuscripts.


Muse of the deep and ineffable Divine Mysteries.
Wise Prefect and Great Doctor of the world,
Like the rock of the Church, you were faithful to the key to heaven.
From the beloved disciple, you received the gospel.
From the Holy Virgin Birthgiver you received your symbol of authority.
O Patriarch John, by the grace of the Holy Spirit you received wisdom.
(An Armenian Church ode dedicated to St. John Chrysostom)

Above article is posted from Eastern Armenian Prelacy’s Crossroads E-Newsletter

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       This Monday, October 17, the Armenian Church remembers six saints, namely, Longinus the Centurion, who pierced the side of Jesus, and became a believer at the crucifixion; Joseph, the foster father of the Lord, known as the Father-of-God, who was faithful to God’s command to be the earthly spouse of the Theotokos; Joseph of Arimathea, a follower of Jesus, sometimes secretly, but was emboldened to go to Pilate and request the body of Jesus for burial; Lazarus, a close friend of the Lord, whom He raised from the dead; and Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus, friends of the Lord and whose home Jesus visited often.

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