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The Mid-Lent Celebration in the Armenian Diocese in Georgia PDF Print E-mail

A1According to the Armenian Apostolic Church Calendar, this is the period of the Great Lent. On 7 March, 2018, the Great Lent was divided, because it was the 24th day. It is called Mid-Lent. This Church feast is accompanied by a number of folk habits and traditions, for example by baking gata (Armenian pastry) and Bagharj 1(sweet unleavened pastry). The churches of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, led by Pastors, were properly prepared for the celebration of the feast, connecting the church feast with the folk celebration.

Under the leadership of the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, Requiem Service was performed in the Saint Gevorg Cathedral in Tbilisi, which was full of faithful. The Diocesan Primate offered his blessings to the attendees and touched upon the mystery of the day. Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan wished faithful to pass with Love and Faith the second half of the Great Lent, which will 2continue until the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church Calendar, The Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ this year will be celebrated on April 1.

The joy of the feast in the Saint Gevorg Cathedral was added with the prayers of students from fifth to twelfth grades of N103 3Georgian-Armenian Public School in Tbilisi. By the initiative of the Pastor of the Church Rev. Father Samvel Torosyan and by the organization of Gayane Mkhitaryan, Armenian language and literature teacher, the graders presented one of the masterpieces of the world spiritual literature, “Havatov Khosdovaneem” (“I Confess With Faith”) of Nerses the Gracious (Nerses Shnorhali). It consists by 24 quatrains (Twenty-four Hour Prayers, compared with 24 hours a day) and all types of prayer translated into 36 languages. The faithful get special spiritual feelings from prayer poems, which are prosaic written 4but free in spiritual feelings, richness of emotions and inner rhythm.

Staying true to the folk tradition of baking bagharj or gata, in the circles of Georgian-Armenians it has turned to the Armenian Gata Festival. The faithful came to Divine Service with various types of gata, specially cooked for that day. Year by year the number of festival participants increases, enriching the Armenian gata assortment. The5 tasty gatas, baked by landladies, were blessed and delivered to faithful. Some of them were surprised by getting the blessed crosses, made by the godfathers of church cross.

The feast of the Mid-Lent was solemnly celebrated also in the Saint Etchmiadzin Church in Avlabari. Here also girls, wearing Armenian national clothing, delivered gatas to IMG 8872the people.

The Mid-Lent was celebrated with the special luxury and Gata festival in the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Tsalka’s General Prelacy. The pastors of Akhalkalaki and neighboring villages performed Requiem Service in the Surb Khach (The Saint Cross) Church, in Akhalkalaki. The ritual was continued with the brief overview of the Mid-Lent feast and traditionally held Armenian gata festival, immediately after which the School Choir of the Akhalkalaki Regional Department performed songs. After the end of the concert, the blessing of gatas baked by the church-loving women, were performed. Everyone was surprised by the beauty and charm of the presented gatas.

Women and girls participating in the festival, besides letters of appreciation received icons from the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Tsalka’s General Prelacy.2861638

The Mid-Lent day whit the Requiem Service and Armenian Gata festival was celebrated also in the Pastorates of Agrova and Diliska.

According to the tradition, faithful participated in the Evening Service in the Saint Gregory the Illuminator Church, in Akhaltsikhe. After the Evening Service traditional Gata 2868494festival took place. The clergymen blessed the gatas, baked by Akhaltsikhe church-loving ladies and delivered to the people, giving them a festive mood.

On the next day of Mid-Lent, on 8 March, a large crowd gathered in Saint Sargis Church, in Ninotsminda. After the Requiem Service gatas were blessed and presented to the Armenian gata festival competition organized by “Rafael Javakh” Center of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia.2869896

The festival continued in the yard of the center. While the competition commission was determining the best gatas, the Choir and the Dance ensemble performed concert for the people. The winners got diplomas and gifts.

2878370The day became festive also for the Armenians from Tsalka region's villiges and people of Damala, Aspindza region. After the church ceremony locals received blessed gatas, baked by the church-loving ladies.

The Mid-Lent was celebrated also in Surb Prkich (The Holy Savior) Church, in Batumi. Artistic groups of the Alexander Mantashyants Center of Armenian Diocese in Georgia participated to the feast and with their songs and dances cheer up attendees. Armenian gata was delivered to faithful here too.

The Feast was celebrated in the “Saint Gregory of Narek” spiritual, educational and youth Center of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia in1d34ab3 Rustavi city at the first time. Attendees were informed about the mystery of the day and the Armenian gata festival established by Armenian Diocese in Georgia. Local residents were hospitalized with the blessed gatas, bringing by faithful.

Happy songs and dances started in yards of the churches, in the regions. The song and dance groups, adjunct to the Armenia Diocese in Georgia, made the day really festive. The celebration became the guarantee for passing the second half of the Great Lent with faith and prayer and greeting the Easter with the Christian Love.

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