Archive for the ‘Saints’ Category

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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       This Saturday, October 15, the Armenian Church commemorates the Holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the authors of the four Gospels.

       Matthew is the patron of the Church’s mission. The Gospel attributed to him closes with the command by Jesus to His disciples and followers to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

       Mark had significant influence on the advancement of Christianity. Although the Gospel according to Mark is a narrative of the life of Jesus, theologians consider it to be a handbook of discipleship. The dominant message is that being a Christian is not only believing in Jesus Christ, it is also living according to the example set by Jesus. According to tradition, Mark was the first bishop of Alexandria. One of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world is named after him in Venice, where his relics are kept.

       Luke is the author of the third Gospel and the Book of Acts. He is considered to be the patron of physicians and artists. The Gospel according to Luke describes Jesus as “the healer of a broken world.” Luke is also noted for his concern for the poor, the marginalized, women, and social outcasts. His Gospel does not end with the Resurrection, but rather continues to Pentecost and the eternal presence of Christ in the world. Traditionally he is believed to be one of the Seventy and the unnamed disciple in Emmaus.

       John, often called the “beloved disciple,” is the author of the fourth Gospel and the book of Revelation. He was one of the twelve disciples who remained with Christ, standing in front of the Cross. Jesus entrusted his mother to John’s care on the day of the Crucifixion. The best known verse in his Gospel is, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). According to tradition, John left Jerusalem after attending the first ecumenical council and went to Asia Minor and settled in Ephesus. He was exiled to the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation.

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       This Saturday, October 1, the Armenian Church commemorates the 72 Holy Disciples of Christ. The reference comes from the Gospel of Luke (Chapter 10, Verse 1): “After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.” (Some sources say 72 disciples, others say 70). These disciples remained true to the Lord and their calling, and spread the Gospel. They were not random choices, but rather true disciples whose labors carried the message of the Lord throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. All of the saints are remembered individually in the liturgical calendar of the church, but this day is set aside to remember them collectively.

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       This Saturday, September 24, the Armenian Church commemorates St. George (Kevork) the Commander. St. George was a third century Roman general who challenged the Emperor’s persecution of Christians by publicly tearing up the Emperor’s decree, and he urged others to follow his example. To this day he remains a popular saint in the Armenian Church; he is considered to be the patron saint of soldiers and scouts. As in many other instances, the Armenians have given St. George an Armenian national character. The Feast of St. George is always on the Saturday before the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak, which is preceded by a period of fasting. Although the fast is not connected to St. George, through the centuries it has been popularly identified as the Fast of St. George.

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Next Tuesday, September 20, the Armenian Church commemorates the life of Princess  Shushanig, daughter of Vartan Mamigonian and great-granddaughter of Sahag Bartev. Her father’s life and martyrdom influenced her to become a devout and faithful Christian. Her birth name was Varteny, but she was called Shushanig because of her extraordinary piety. She was married to Vazken, a son of a Georgian king, and had three sons and a daughter. After being called to Persia, her husband renounced the Christian faith and sought to force Shushanig to likewise renounce Christianity. Even after years of imprisonment and torture she refused to renounce the faith for which her father had fought so valiantly.

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        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, August 14 is the Feast of the Shoghagat of Holy Etchmiadzin, which always takes place on the Saturday prior to the Feast of the Assumption. The title of this feast, Shoghagat, refers to the vision of St. Gregory and the rays of light when God chose the site for the Mother Cathedral. This feast is celebrated on Assumption because the Cathedral in Etchmiadzin is named in honor of the Holy Mother, although through the years it became known as Etchmiadzin and Shoghagat referred to the three other nearby churches built by Gregory the Illuminator.

Reposted from Eastern Prelacy’s Crossroad E-Newsletter

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