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“Armenian Dolma” Festival at the Surb Khach church in Akhalkalaki and nearby villages PDF Print E-mail
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A1On May 13, 2018, with the blessings of the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, 1His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan “Armenian Dolma” festival took place in the courtyard of the Surb Khach (Holy Cross) church of the Samtskhe – Javakheti and Tsalka's General Prelacy in Akhalkalaki. The festival of Armenian national dish Dolma, which had launched on May 6 in the region, was completed with the “Armenian Dolma” festival in Akhalkalaki.
On May 11, “Dolma – 2018” festival was held at the Saint Sargis church in Diliska. The personnel of the N1 and N2 schools of the 2village, preschool, village administration, the chess school, the family of the Church Cross, Deaconess Liana Mkhitaryan participated in the festival, presenting the traditional “summer” dolma, as well as special dolmas prepared with chicken meat, mushrooms and nuts. 3
The church was crowded with people. Not only the participants of the festival, but also numerous guests, who wanted to take part in the first-ever Dolma festival, were gathered in the church. The festival launched at the church. Rev. Father Tigran Mkhitaryan, Pastor of Diliska and nearby settlements offered solemn 4Service. At the conclusion of the Service, Rev. Father Tigran Mkhitaryan talked about the traditions of cooking Dolma and the origin of the dish.
Afterwards, the guests tasted dolmas and chose the three most delicious dolmas. The winners were announced the two participants from N1 5school and one participant from N 2 school. The winners received presents and certificates.
The students of the Diliska village's “Ale” Dance group (artistic director and choreographer Radik Ezoyan) made the day more festive with their wonderful performances. Dolma festival was accompanied by traditional songs and dances as well as great and joyful mood. The attendees were very happy and grateful for organizing such a beautiful feast and expressed hope that it would be continuous.
On May 12, Dolma festival was held at the Saint George church in Arakova. Rev. Father Tadeos Ter-Mkrtchyan, Pastor of Arakova and nearby 6settlements offered solemn Service, afterwards, the students of the “Khrimyan Hayrik” preschool presented a little nice event about dolma. At the end of the event, Rev Father blessed dolmas and then festive dinner was organized at the preschool.  
The closing ceremony of the festival took place at the Surb Khach (Holy Cross) church in Akhalkalaki, where the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Rev. Father Tatev Marukyan, Pastor of the Akhalkalaki and nearby villages and with the participation of Rev. Father Yeghishe Harutyunyan. During the Divine Liturgy the celebrant properly 7preached about the mystery of the day. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Pastors invited the faithful to the church courtyard to participate in “Armenian Dolma” festival.
Despite heavy rain, the church courtyard was crowded. There were not only the participants, but also numerous guests gathered in the yard. In attendance were Mayor of Akhalkalaki Yurik Unanyan, Chairman of Akhalkalaki Municipality Assembly (Sakrebulo) Nairi Iritsyan, Deputy Mayor of Akhalkalaki Armen Marangozyan, member of Akhalkalaki Municipality Assembly (Sakrebulo) Hakob Chakhmakhyan. The students of the “Hayartun” Center of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, accompanied by the Director of the Educational Department Eugenia Markosyan and choreographer were present at event.
8Rev. Father Tatev Marukyan presented the tradition of cooking dolma, congratulated the attendees on the occasion of the festival, then, blessed dolma and the guests tasted it. Despite the fact that the festival was held for the first time, many housewives took part in the event. All the participants of the festival received presents and certificates from the Samtskhe – Javakheti and Tsalka's General Prelacy.
The students of the “Voices of Javakhk” Choir of the Samtskhe – Javakheti and Tsalka's General Prelacy made the event more festive with their performances. At the end of the festival Rev. Father Tatev Marukyan expressed hope that the festival will be continuous and will gain broader scope at the future and besides housewives from city, the housewives from villages also will participate.
After the festival, the students of the “Hayartun” Center and “Zartonk” dance group of the General Prelacy together danced roundelay.

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