1eng

 

Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

 

Prophet Elijah is one of the major prophets of the Old Testament, distinguished for his loyalty to the Lord, for his zealous struggle against idolatry spread in Israel by the apostate king Ahab and his idolatrous wife, Queen Jezebel.

Prophet Elijah lived in the IX century B.C. In the First Book of Kings (17-18) and the Second Book of Kings (1-2) is told about the activity of the Prophet Elijah. Evangelists also mention the name of the Prophet Elijah.

In the First Book of Kings it is told that being the true herald of the Word of God Elijah, by the Lord’s will appeared before the apostate king Ahab and warned about the upcoming drought. His prophecy came true and after three years the Prophet again went to the king Ahab. Proving the weakness of the idolatrous, Prophet Elijah prayed God asking to send down fire for the sacrifice and a heavy rain. It is also told that thanks to the divine grace the Prophet Elijah helped the widow in Zarephath making so that her bowl wouldn’t run out of flour and her jar wouldn’t run of oil, also restored the widow’s dead sun to life.

When is celebrated

18.05.2008
07.06.2009
30.05.2010
19.06.2011
03.06.2012
26.05.2013
15.06.2014
31.05.2015
22.05.2016
11.06.2017
27.05.2018
16.06.2019
07.06.2020
30.05.2021
12.06.2022
04.06.2023
26.05.2024
15.06.2025
31.05.2026
23.05.2027
11.06.2028
27.05.2029
16.06.2030

Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

 

This feast is dedicated to the Apparition of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. At noon on May 19, 351, a bright, luminous cross appeared over the skies of Jerusalem, centered over an area spanning from the Mount of Olives (where Christ was betrayed and arrested) to Golgotha (where Christ was crucified). Awestruck, the faithful of Jerusalem rush to church to give thanks and glorify the Lord. Bishop Cyril (later St. Cyril of Jerusalem) subsequently wrote a letter to Emperor Constantine of Byzantium wherein he describes the miraculous and beautiful scene. St. Cyril tells Constantine that the apparition is a true testimony of the orthodox faith of Christianity.

Further, St. Cyril exhorts the Emperor that the appearance is a sign for him to remain steadfast in his faith, and to stop defending the heretical movement of Arianism and its promulgators. The Armenian translation of the Bishop’s letter has been preserved by the Church, and is read each year on the Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross. The Armenian Church celebrates this feast 28 days following Easter Sunday.

When is celebrated

20.04.2008
10.05.2009
02.05.2010
22.05.2011
06.05.2012
28.04.2013
18.05.2014
03.05.2015
24.04.2016
14.05.2017
29.04.2018
19.05.2019
10.05.2020
02.05.2021
15.05.2022
07.05.2023
28.04.2024
18.05.2025
03.05.2026
25.04.2027
14.05.2028
29.04.2029
19.05.2030

Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

 

The Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord on the fortieth day following the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Savior Jesus Christ.

Following His Resurrection and defeat of death, Christ remained on earth for forty days, and continued to appear to His disciples. On the fortieth day, Christ is seen by His disciples for the last time. He blesses them and leaves them with instructions, after which He ascends into heaven.

Two of the Gospel writers, St. Mark and St. Luke, testify about Christ’s ascension. There is also an account of it in the Acts of the Apostles.

Following a final meeting of Christ with the eleven remaining apostles, St. Mark writes, “So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)

St. Luke gives a little greater detail as he writes, “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.” (Luke 24: 50-53)

But by far the most beautiful account of the Ascension can be found in the Book of Acts:  “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)

The hymn that is sung in the Armenian Church on Ascension Day mentions the miraculous event of Christ’s Ascension into heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles.

In the Armenian Church, the day of Jesus Christ’s Ascension is also commemorated for another reason as well. On this date in 1441, the See of the Catholicosate of All Armenians was returned to its historical origins. Following a resolution of the National Assembly gathered in Vagharshapad, the Patriarchal See was relocated from the city of Sis in Western Armenia to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Following his vision of Christ striking the ground with a golden hammer, St. Gregory the Illuminator had founded the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin in 303.  However, less than 200 years later, in 484, the Patriarchal See was forced to relocate, and for the next 1000 years, settled in various cities throughout Armenia.  The decision to return the throne of the Catholicos to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin was the fulfillment of a national dream for the Armenian people.

When is celebrated

01.05.2008
21.05.2009
13.05.2010
02.06.2011
17.05.2012
09.05.2013
29.05.2014
14.05.2015
05.05.2016
25.05.2017
10.05.2018
30.05.2019
21.05.2020
13.05.2021
26.05.2022
18.05.2023
09.05.2024
29.05.2025
14.05.2026
06.05.2027
25.05.2028
10.05.2029
30.05.2030

Second Palm Sunday

Second Palm Sunday

 

On the Sunday following the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, the Armenian Church celebrates “Second” Palm Sunday. The name of the feast has been derived from Palm Sunday, which precedes Easter.  In the week leading up to His betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection, the “first” Palm Sunday symbolized the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem where people met Him with great joy and glorified His Holy Name.  The Second Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the triumphant entry of the Ascended Christ into the Heavenly Jerusalem, where the angels meet him with great happiness and delight.

According to tradition, during St. Gregory the Illuminator’s imprisonment in the pit, he was visited every day by the same angel. However one day, the angel did not come. The following morning, St. Gregory inquires to the reason for his absence, to which the angel responds that during the Ascension, Christ had passed through the ranks of the Angels, and they celebrate that feast each year. The angel visiting St. Gregory was from the fourth class of angelic hosts, and thus, on the fourth day following the Ascension, his rank of angels commemorates and celebrates Christ’s Ascension to heaven every year.

St. Gregory of Datev, one of the greatest theologians of the Armenian Church, has a famous interpretation of this event. Prior to His Ascension, the ranks of angels, except for the lowest class, who served Christ during His earthly life, were not aware of Christ’s incarnation for the salvation of man. St. Gregory’s commentary states that when the Lord was passing through the ranks of angels, they were surprised and asked, “Who was that powerful king?” The angels accompanying Christ thus informed them. This dialogue of angels is presented in the Holy Bible, in the book of Psalms:

 “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.”
“Who is this King of glory?  The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in
battle.”
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.”
“Who is this King of glory?”
“The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.”
                                                                          (Psalms 24:7-10).
The angelic dialogue is exhibited for us, when it is heard during the Divine Liturgy, as the deacon approaches the celebrant priest with the chalice during the Great Entrance (Verapehroom).

Second Palm Sunday is one more reminder of the Ascension of Christ and grants us the hope for ascending to heaven after our deaths, and being in the bliss of God’s presence.

When is celebrated

04.05.2008
24.05.2009
16.05.2010
05.06.2011
20.05.2012
12.05.2013
01.06.2014
17.05.2015
08.05.2016
28.05.2017
13.05.2018
02.06.2019
24.05.2020
16.05.2021
29.05.2022
21.05.2023
12.05.2024
01.06.2025
17.05.2026
09.05.2027
28.05.2028
13.05.2029
02.06.2030

Feast of Pentecost

Feast of Pentecost

 

The Feast of Pentecost is the commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the fiftieth day following the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Armenian Church celebrates this feast 50 days following Easter Sunday.

The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons in the Holy Trinity coexisting with, and equal to, the Holy Father and the Holy Son. During His earthly life and ministry Christ spoke to the Apostles about the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Recording the words of Christ, St. John writes, “The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.” (John 14:26).

The descent of the Holy Spirit is described in the Acts of the Apostles: “When the day of the Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place.  Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.  (Acts 2:1-4).


In the book of Acts, St. Luke further records the names of various countries, and that men from those countries were surprised, when each of them heard his native language. Among the mentioned places are Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia (Acts 2:9). Two of the saints of the Universal Church, both of Roman origin, Tertullian and Augustine, have written that the word “Armenia” should possibly be substituted instead of “Judea”, as it is more logical that Armenia would be mentioned among those as a “foreign” country, as the apostles were living in Judea.  Moreover, with regards to geographical position, Armenia was situated between Mesopotamia and Cappadocia. Therefore, the people living in Armenia may have been among the first witnesses of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Among the Armenian Church songs and hymns, two are dedicated to the Feast of Pentecost: “The Sent Dove” (referring to the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove that descended upon Christ during His Baptism) and “Indivisible Trinity”. These are sung during the Morning Service on the feast day. Also, during the Evening Service, the “Andastan” rite of the blessing of the four corners of the world is conducted. It is during this service that a prayer written by 12th century Armenian Church father Nerses of Lambron, is read.

In the Christian Church the teaching of divine grace is related to the Holy Spirit.  According to that instruction, each virtue is a divine grace granted to the faithful by the Holy Spirit. Thus, ascribing any virtue to one’s own self, and not to God, is a grave sin and can be manifested in another, which is pride. Hence, commemoration of Pentecost is also an appeal to the faithful to avoid pride and instead, use the divine graces in life for righteous purposes and moral goals.

One of the four season fasting periods defined by the Armenian Apostolic Church is the fasting period preceding the beginning of summer. This fasting period, as well as the other ones preceding the other seasons of the year, is not preparation for any feast, and according to the tradition is called Elijah’s fast, as coincides the feast of commemoration the Prophet Elijah the next Sunday.

This fasting period preceding the beginning of summer starts the day following the feast of Pentecost (the flesh day preceding the fast is the Sunday, when the feast of Pentecost is celebrated). With the change of the Easter Feast day the beginning of the fasting period may be during the period May 11-June 14. Like the other fasting periods preceding the other seasons of the year, this one also lasts five days - from Monday till Friday.

When is celebrated

11.05.2008
31.05.2009
23.05.2010
12.06.2011
27.05.2012
19.05.2013
08.06.2014
24.05.2015
15.05.2016
04.06.2017
20.05.2018
09.06.2019
31.05.2020
23.05.2021
05.06.2022
27.05.2023
19.05.2024
08.06.2025
27.05.2026
16.05.2027
04.06.2028
20.05.2029
09.06.2030