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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

 

One week before the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Palm Sunday, celebrating the Triumphant Entry of Christ into Jerusalem.

Jesus comes into Jerusalem riding atop a donkey and the people gather to meet Him with reverence, thus fulfilling the words of the prophet from the Old Testament.
The Gospel of St. Matthew, in relating the story, refers to the prophecy, “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled, that which was spoken by the prophet, saying “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you! He is humble and sitting on an ass, and a colt, the foal of an ass.” (Mt 21:4-5).

On His arrival, a large crowd of people gathers to greet Him, and spread their cloaks on the road before Him, while others cut branches from palm trees and place them on the path. The crowd exclaims: “Hosanna!  Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the Name of the Lord” (Jn 12:13).

On Palm Sunday, churches are decorated with branches from willow trees and palm trees.  Following a solemn morning service, the blessed branches are distributed to the faithful. This passage from the Gospels reminds each of us about the Coming of Christ, and teaches us to live in a manner that can make us worthy to stand before the Lord and exclaim: “Hosanna (Praise God)! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

When is celebrated

16.03.2008
05.04.2009
28.03.2010
17.04.2011
01.04.2012
24.03.2013
13.04.2014
29.03.2015
20.03.2016
09.04.2017
25.03.2018
14.04.2019
05.04.2020
28.03.2021
10.04.2022
02.04.2023
24.03.2024
13.04.2025
29.03.2026
21.03.2027
09.04.2028
25.03.2029
14.04.2030

Holy Monday

Holy Monday

 

The Gospel readings tell us about the story of the “cursed fig tree.” On his way back to Jerusalem Jesus was hungry. He saw a fig tree by the side of the road and went to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. So He said to the tree, “You will never again bear fruit!” At once the fig tree dried up. The disciples saw this and were astounded. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked. Jesus answered, “If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Mt 21:22). According to the historian Stepannos of Syounie, living in the 7th century, the fig tree “is the circumcised people to whom hungry Jesus came and found no fruit on it, but only seeming life, so as the result of His coming the tree dried up.”

When is celebrated

17.03.2008
06.04.2009
29.03.2010
18.04.2011
02.04.2012
25.03.2013
14.04.2014
30.03.2015
21.03.2016
10.04.2017
26.03.2018
15.04.2019
06.04.2020
29.03.2021
11.04.2022
03.04.2023
25.03.2024
14.04.2025
30.03.2026
22.03.2027
10.04.2028
26.03.2029
15.04.2030

Holy Tuesday

Holy Tuesday

 

“The Parable of the Ten Virgins” is commemorated (Mt 25:1-13). This parable from the Gospel, tells the story about the five foolish and the five wise virgins.  The message exhorts us to be vigilant and prepared for the Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

On Holy Tuesday, during the Evening Service, ten young women approach the Holy Altar of the Church. Five of the girls have burning candles or oil lamps in their hands, symbolizing the wise maidens, and the other five have extinguished candles or unlit lamps in their hands, symbolizing the foolish maidens.

When is celebrated

18.03.2008
07.04.2009
30.03.2010
19.04.2011
03.04.2012
26.03.2013
15.04.2014
31.03.2015
22.03.2016
11.04.2017
27.03.2018
16.04.2019
07.04.2020
30.03.2021
12.04.2022
04.04.2023
26.03.2024
15.04.2025
31.03.2026
23.03.2027
11.04.2028
27.03.2029
16.04.2030

Commemoration of St. Cyril the Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Cyril the Bishop of Jerusalem and his mother Anna

Commemoration of St. Cyril the Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Cyril the Bishop of Jerusalem and his mother Anna

 

St. Cyril of Jerusalem is one of the prominent Patriarchs of Jerusalem. He has been repeatedly persecuted by the supporters of the Arian heresy, he has been exiled, and however, eventually again has become the Patriarch of Jerusalem. He has participated in the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople. Many sermons and speeches of the Patriarch Cyril about Christian doctrine have been translated into Armenian. His letter addressed to the King Costandios on the occasion of the apparition of the Holy Cross in the sky of Jerusalem is up to date read in the Armenian churches. Patriarch Cyril’s collection of sermons is instructive and edifying for those who are preparing for baptism. According to the tradition the basin in which Patriarch Cyril has been baptized is inside the Chapel of St Stephen of the Church of St. Hakob (St. James), of Jerusalem.

The Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates the memory of the Patriarch Cyril twice during the year.

St. Cyril the Bishop is the contemporary of St. Cyril the Patriarch. His secular name is Huda. According to the hagiographical sources, well knowing the locality, Bishop Cyril helps the queen Heghine (Helen) to find the Holy cross of Christ, Witnessing the wonder-working power of the Holy Cross Bishop Cyril is baptized together with his mother, Anna, and after the baptism is renamed “Cyril”. Later he is ordained a bishop and during the period of exile of the Patriarch Cyril he takes his place for a time. Being subjected to severe torments, Bishop Cyril and his mother have been killed during the persecutions realized by the King Julianos the Betrayer.

When is celebrated

16.02.2008
07.03.2009
27.02.2010
19.03.2011
03.03.2012
23.02.2013
15.03.2014
28.02.2015
20.02.2016
11.03.2017
24.02.2018
16.03.2019
07.03.2020
27.02.2021
12.03.2022
04.03.2023
24.02.2024
15.03.2025
28.02.2026
20.02.2027
11.03.2028
24.02.2029
16.03.2030

Sunday of the Lost (Prodigal) Sun

Sunday of the Lost (Prodigal) Sun

 

The third Sunday of the period of Great Lent is called the Sunday of the Lost Son according to the Parable of the Lost Son told in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 15:15-32), the content of which is the following. There was once a man who had two sons. Upon the request of the younger one he divided his property between his two sons. After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with the money. He went to a country far away, where he wasted his money in reckless living. He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country and he was left without a thing. In that time of trouble he remembered his father’s house, regretted for his reckless living and returned to his father’s home. Seeing that his younger son has regretted, the father received him joyfully. Whereas the elder son complained, saying that during all those years he had worked for his father like a slave and had never disobeyed his orders, and however, he had never deserved such honor. His father answered him: “My son, you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and to be happy, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.”

The elder and the younger sons are the righteous and the sinful souls, and father’s receiving his lost son means that in the same way God receives the regretting sinner. The allegoric meaning of the parable is in the elder son symbolizing all those who are righteous or think that there are righteous. The parable admonishes all of them not to be self-conceited.

When is celebrated

17.02.2008
08.03.2009
28.02.2010
20.03.2011
04.03.2012
24.02.2013
16.03.2014
01.03.2015
21.02.2016
12.03.2017
25.02.2018
17.03.2019
08.03.2020
28.02.2021
13.03.2022
05.03.2023
25.02.2024
16.03.2025
01.03.2026
21.02.2027
12.03.2028
25.02.2029
17.03.2030

Commemoration of St. John the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Armenian Patriarch St. John of Otzoon, St. John of Vorotan and St. Gregory of Datev

Commemoration of St. John the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Armenian Patriarch St. John of Otzoon, St. John of Vorotan and St. Gregory of Datev

 

St. John (Hovhannes) of Otzoon, who has also been recognized as “the Philosopher”, is one of the greatest fathers of the Armenian Church.  According to hagiographers, he possessed both spiritual and mental brilliance.  During the 11 years of his reign (717-728), Catholicos Hovhannes managed to withstand Byzantine and Arab pressures and incursions, while struggling mightily against sects.  Hovhannes of Otzoon endowed to us a rich and priceless literary legacy.  His work entitled “Canons of the Armenians” is the first voluminous collection in Armenian history, which contains ecclesiastical canons and laws. He is also famous as the author of numerous sermons and church hymns. Among the most important initiatives undertaken by Catholicos Hovhannes of Otzoon, is the church council convened in Dvin in 725, with the aim of reforming the Armenian Church.  He also convened the meeting in Manazkert in 726, dedicated to the goal of strengthening the union of the Armenian and Assyrian Churches.

The tomb of Catholicos Hovhannes is in the Church of Srbanes (St. Hovhannes) in the village of Ardvi, near his birthplace of Otzoon.  The church has remained a sanctuary for the faithful of the Armenian Nation.

The names of Vartabeds (church divine or archimandrite) St John (Hovhan) of Vorotan (1315-1388) and St. Gregory of Datev (1346-1410) are closely interrelated. Gregory of Datev, the greatest Vartabed and theologian of the Armenian Church, studied under Hovhan of Vorotan, and later raised the famous school founded by his teacher in the Monastery of Datev. Gregory of Datev authored numerous significant theological works.  Included in his literary legacy are the “Book of Questions” and the collections of his sermons.  He is closely associated with Hovhan of Vorotan, because as a result of the notes and records made by Gregory, a portion of the literary legacy of Hovhan has survived to this day. 

Finally, the blessed memory of St. John the Patriarch of Jerusalem is commemorated on the same day, along with the aforementioned three fathers of the Armenian Church.  St. John was Patriarch of Jerusalem in the 4th Century.  He is remembered to this day as being a great orator and a defender of Christianity through his sermons.

When is celebrated

23.02.2008
14.03.2009
06.03.2010
26.03.2011
10.03.2012
02.03.2013
22.03.2014
07.03.2015
27.02.2016
18.03.2017
03.03.2018
23.03.2019
14.03.2020
06.03.2021
19.03.2022
11.03.2023
02.03.2024
22.03.2025
07.03.2026
27.02.2027
18.03.2028
03.03.2029
23.03.2030

Sunday of Steward

Sunday of Steward

 

The fourth Sunday of the period of Great Lent is called the Sunday of the Steward, and the message of the day teaches us with the parable of the unjust steward. This parable is mentioned only in the Gospel of St. Luke (Luke 16:1-13). In the parable, a wealthy man learns that the steward of his house (the supervisor of his holdings) is squandering his possessions.  The rich man calls the steward, asking for an accounting, having decided to release him from employment. The steward, realizing that he may soon be without work, begins to act accordingly so that in the near future, others may accept him into their homes. The steward calls those men who have debts to his employer, and he relieves them of a portion of their debts. Following this act, the wealthy man praises the steward for his contrivance.

At first glance, it seems as though there is a great contradiction in this commendation.  But the unjust steward grants back to the debtors, only that which he had added to the debt originally for his own gain. Thus, the wealthy man is not injured by the actions of his steward. The master praises the steward for resigning himself from the gains that the steward would have realized in these transactions. Thus, high praise is given to resignation, or abstinence, which is one of the foundations of Great Lent.

Lent teaches mankind about the ability we each have to resign ourselves from all forms of temptation, the beginning of which is self-control and self-denial. Christ says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). This parable admonishes every one of us that the journey towards salvation must include self-control and resignation. The allegorical meaning of the parable is in the wealthy man symbolizing God, and the unjust steward symbolizing the sinner. For an extended period of time, the sinner carelessly wastes the graces granted by God, until God calls him for an accounting of his life. The unjust steward symbolizes all who, upon regretting their actions, forgive those who have sinned against them, and become seekers of righteousness and the just.

When is celebrated

24.02.2008
15.03.2009
07.03.2010
27.03.2011
11.03.2012
03.03.2013
23.03.2014
08.03.2015
28.02.2016
19.03.2017
04.03.2018
24.03.2019
15.03.2020
07.03.2021
20.03.2022
12.03.2023
03.03.2024
23.03.2025
08.03.2026
28.02.2027
19.03.2028
04.03.2029
24.03.2030

Median day of Great Lent (Mijink)

Median day of Great Lent (Mijink)

 

According to Archbishop Malachia Ormanian, the 24th day or the fourth Wednesday of the period of Great Lent, is called Mijink symbolizing that the first half of the period of Great Lent has already passed. Since that day church hymns written by Stegh are sung during the Peace Service held in the evenings on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

According to the folk tradition the housewives bake unleavened cake and put a coin in it while baking. The current year will be successful for the member of the family who will have the coin in his/her portion.

When is celebrated

27.02.2008
18.03.2009
10.03.2010
30.03.2011
14.03.2012
06.03.2013
26.03.2014
11.03.2015
02.03.2016
22.03.2017
07.03.2018
27.03.2019
18.03.2020
10.03.2021
23.03.2022
15.03.2023
06.03.2024
26.03.2025
11.03.2026
03.03.2027
22.03.2028
07.03.2029
27.03.2030

Commemoration of the forty Holy Martyrs

Commemoration of the forty Holy Martyrs

 

The Forty Holy Martyrs martyred in approximately 320 AD were Christians from various towns and cities of Lesser Armenia. They served as soldiers in the royal regiment of Sebastia.  Upon the decree of Roman Emperor Likianos, interrogations were organized by Lucias, Duke of Caesarea, to reveal the Christian soldiers. Forty of the soldiers remain steadfast in their faith, defy the judges by their brave answers, and are imprisoned. One cold winter night the soldiers are thrown into a lake near Sebastia, to freeze them to death. Only one of the forty soldiers, being unable to endure the torments, comes out of the water, and tries to find salvation in a bathhouse built on the bank. The lone soldier dies and becomes deprived of both earthly and heavenly life.

At dawn, halos are seen encircling the heads of the soldiers. One of the guards charged with the execution of the forty, witnessing the holy phenomenon accepts Christ and throws himself into the lake to be martyred along with the others. In the morning it becomes apparent that through a divine miracle, the forty soldiers have been saved from freezing. This infuriates their captors who execute them and thus, they become martyrs. The martyrs’ remains are buried in Sebastia, where subsequently a Forty-domed Cathedral is built. The Cathedral of Sebastia stood for nearly one thousand years until the invasion of Tamerlane and the Mongols at the end of the 14th Century. The name of the “Forty Martyrs Cathedral” has survived to this day.

When is celebrated

01.03.2008
21.03.2009
13.03.2010
02.04.2011
17.03.2012
09.03.2013
29.03.2014
14.03.2015
05.03.2016
25.03.2017
10.03.2018
30.03.2019
21.03.2020
13.03.2021
26.03.2022
18.03.2023
09.03.2024
29.03.2025
14.03.2026
06.03.2027
25.03.2028
10.03.2029
30.03.2030

Sunday of the Judge

Sunday of the Judge

 

The fifth Sunday of Great Lent is called the Sunday of the Judge. The message of the day teaches us with the parable of the widow and the Judge. This parable comes to us in the Gospel of St. Luke (Luke 18:1-8). The parable tells the story of a widow who repeatedly came to a judge, who neither feared God nor respected man, and pled for her rights. For a long period of time the judge refused to act, but in the end, he fulfilled her request, to put an end to her continuous appeals. Otherwise, he feared that she would continue to return indefinitely.

After telling this parable, the Lord assures everyone, that if a man as corrupt and unfair as this judge decided in favor of the widow, then God surely would judge in favor of his own people and grant the requests of all those who submit to Him through prayer. This parable exhorts us to always and continually pray, as prayer symbolizes the soul’s eternal striving and thirst for God.  The parable also contains an appeal from Christ. After telling the parable, Christ says: “But will the Son of Man find faith on earth when He comes?” In His words, Jesus gives a reference to the Second Coming, and sadness and anguish are felt in the Lord’s remark. It is truly painful for the Savior that many people may be subject to just, yet cruel judgment, instead of becoming the inheritors of the Kingdom of God.

When is celebrated

02.03.2008
22.03.2009
14.03.2010
03.04.2011
18.03.2012
10.03.2013
30.03.2014
15.03.2015
06.03.2016
26.03.2017
11.03.2018
31.03.2019
22.03.2020
14.03.2021
27.03.2022
19.03.2023
10.03.2024
30.03.2025
15.03.2026
07.03.2027
26.03.2028
11.03.2029
31.03.2030

Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s torments and commitment to the pit

Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s torments and commitment to the pit

 

This feast is the first one among the three commemoration days dedicated to the memory of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the first Catholicos of All Armenians. According to the Armenian Church Calendar, it is celebrated on the eve of the Fifth Sunday during the period of Great Lent. The feast is dedicated to the torments which St. Gregory suffered during his imprisonment.

According to historical sources, St. Gregory the Illuminator was the son of Anak Partev, a knight and nobleman, who killed the Armenian King Khosrov Arshakouni. In retaliation, Anak is executed by the Armenians. His son, Gregory, lived and studied in Caesarea, and was brought up as a pious Christian. Gregory returns to Armenia as an adult and becomes a member of the royal court. King Tiridates (Trdat), the son of King Khosrov and heir to the throne, appoints Gregory as the Chancellor of the Armenian Kingdom. Tiridates, learning that Gregory is a Christian and the son of Anak, subjects him to severe tortures and commits Gregory to death, by imprisoning him in a deep underground pit.

In 301 A.D., after spending 13 years in the pit, St. Gregory the Illuminator is freed from the dungeon and emerges to spread the Light of Christ in Armenia. He thus becomes the first pontiff of the Armenian Church, baptizes the royal family, and evangelizes the whole of the Armenian Nation. Armenia becomes the first nation in the world to officially proclaim Christianity as her state religion.

St. Gregory the Illuminator is recognized by all of Christendom as a Saint, and he is commemorated in all traditional Christian Churches.

When is celebrated

08.03.2008
28.03.2009
20.03.2010
09.04.2011
24.03.2012
16.03.2013
05.04.2014
21.03.2015
12.03.2016
01.04.2017
17.03.2018
06.04.2019
28.03.2020
20.03.2021
02.04.2022
25.03.2023
16.03.2024
05.04.2025
21.03.2026
13.03.2027
01.04.2028
17.03.2029
06.04.2030

Sunday of Advent

Sunday of Advent

 

The Sixth Sunday of Great Lent is called the Sunday of Advent. This Sunday teaches us about the first Advent of Christ – His Incarnation: His Holy Birth when God became Man. This proved the Truth found in the Scriptures that by the coming of the Savior, a second chance was given to mankind to be guided on the path leading towards salvation.

This Sunday also symbolizes the Second Advent. In the Gospels and Apostolic Letters there are many references dedicated to the Second Advent, where our Lord warns us about His return. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, Christ says, “…Watch out and do not let anyone fool you. Many men, claiming to speak for me, will come and say, “I am the Messiah!” and they will fool many people. You are going to hear the noise of battles close by and the news of battles far away… Countries will fight each other; kingdoms will attack one another. There will be famines and earthquakes everywhere… And you will be hated by all nations for my Name’s sake… Many false prophets will appear and fool many people. Such will be the spread of evil that many people’s love will grow cold. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved” (Mt 24:4-13).

The message of this Sunday is a call for endurance, piety and modesty. Through these we can patiently wait for the Glorious Resurrection of Christ, the purification of our souls and the triumph of the True Faith. All Christian Churches celebrate the feast of the Sunday of Advent.

When is celebrated

09.03.2008
29.03.2009
21.03.2010
10.04.2011
25.03.2012
17.03.2013
06.04.2014
22.03.2015
13.03.2016
02.04.2017
18.03.2018
07.04.2019
29.03.2020
21.03.2021
03.04.2022
26.03.2023
17.03.2024
06.04.2025
22.03.2026
14.03.2027
02.04.2028
18.03.2029
07.04.2030

Commemoration of Raising of Lazarus

Commemoration of Raising of Lazarus

 

On the 41st day of the period of Great Lent, the Armenian Church commemorates Lazarus being raised from the dead. 

The Gospel according to St. John (Jn 11:11-46) relates the story. Lazarus was from a family loved by Jesus Christ. He was the brother of Mary and Martha, who often received Jesus. Lazarus dies after succumbing to an illness. Upon hearing that His friend has died, Christ goes to visit the family, and says to Martha, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies…” Christ asks Martha if she believes this, to which she replies, “Yes, Lord.  I do believe that you are the Messiah, who was to come into the world.” Christ, standing before the grave, commands Lazarus to come forth, and he appears, being restored to life. By doing so, Christ proves that He is, in fact “Life and Resurrection”.

The Gospel story telling about the raising of Lazarus contains the passage: “Jesus wept.” The Jews, seeing Jesus expressing grief, said: “See how much he loved him!”
The raising of Lazarus is an example of the coming resurrection of all those who have fallen asleep in Christ. The weeping of Jesus demonstrates His great love towards mankind.

When is celebrated

15.03.2008
04.04.2009
27.03.2010
16.04.2011
31.03.2012
23.03.2013
12.04.2014
28.03.2015
19.03.2016
08.04.2017
24.03.2018
13.04.2019
04.04.2020
27.03.2021
09.04.2022
01.04.2023
23.03.2024
12.04.2025
28.03.2026
20.03.2027
08.04.2028
24.03.2029
13.04.2030