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Newly Built Surb Khach (Holy Cross) Church in Javakheti Consecrated PDF Print E-mail

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Despite the cold weather, the day was festive in the village of Gumburdo of the Akhalkalaki region. April 22, 2017 is an important date in the history of the village. Local villagers, young and old, hurried to Khachi Durna area, where the solemn consecration service of the 58th functioning church of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia named Surb Khach (Holy Cross) was held.

The cherished desire of the faithful community of Gumburdo was realized. 80 years later, the Armenian Church was built in the village. In 2011 pious Armenians from Gumburdo, brothers Khachatur and Sayat Saharyan undertook the initiative to realize their childhood dream – to build an Armenian house of prayer in Khachi Durna area. They pursued a sacred goal: to give villagers of Gumburdo an opportunity to live a spiritual life, to observe church rites and ceremonies, and to properly celebrate Easter. Due to the pious Saharyan family the church was built, the improvement of the adjacent territory was carried out; the church has all the necessary utensils and icons. On New Sunday the residents of Gumburdo celebrated Easter, according to established tradition, already at the Surb Khach (Holy Cross) Church.

Present for the consecration service were MP of a new convocation, Samvel Manukyan; Hamlet Movsisyan, the Chairman of Akhalkalaki’s Regional Assembly; Eduard Aghasaryan, Akhalkalaki’s Head of the Administration; benefactor Sayat Saharyan, local resident Aghasi Surenyan, delegations from Tbilisi, Yerevan, Russia, different regions of Georgia, and many faithful.

The Primate of the Armenia Diocese in Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan; with the participation of Very Rev. Fr. Babken Salbiyan, the Prelate of Samtskhe-Javakheti and Tsalka's General Prelacy of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia; blessed the newly built Surb Khach Church with the holy Chrism.

Later, Rev. Father Tatev Marukyan, Pastor of Akhalkalaki and nearby villages in Samtskhe-Javakheti, celebrated the first Divine Liturgy. During the Service, the faithful received the sacrament of Penitence and Holy Communion.

Following the Divine Liturgy, the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia addressed his remarks to the people in attendance. The Bishop conveyed his appreciation to the devoted and patriotic initiative of the pious Armenians, Khachik and Sayat Saharyan, presented them with a Letter of Blessing and Appreciation and gifted to the benefactors icons on parchment. The Primate extended his blessing to Construction Coordinator Valery Saharyan, the architect of the church, the builders and all the participants of the pious cause.

Representatives of regional authorities and the guests expressed their appreciation to the participants of the devoted and patriotic initiative and offered their congratulations to the local residents.

Following the services, Matagh (Thanksgiving Animal Sacrifice) was distributed to the faithful. Vachian Armenian Dance Ensemble (artistic director and dance instructor Naslet Keyan) and the Sasun Ensemble from Yerevan (artistic director, Deacon Andranik Manukyan) organized a concert in the church courtyard. The day in Gumburdo was truly festive and memorable thanks to the moving duduk and dhol melodies, dance and musical performances.

The Armenians settled in the village of Gumburdo of Akhalkalaki region in 1828, moving from Palni-Shakav village of Erzurum Province. The Armenians, who have lived here since the 16th century, had offered their prayers to God in the Holy Ascension Church built near the 10-11th century church without a dome. The church unfortunately has collapsed and turned to ruins. Other natives of Gumburdo living in Russia have also initiated the construction of a two-storey secondary school building, designed to accommodate 400 students. “Gumburdo” in Turkish means “sun is here”. The village has a population of more than 3000 residents.

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