Commemoration of the Prophet Isaiah

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-01

The Prophet Isaiah is the first of the four major prophets of the Old Testament. He was born and spent almost his entire life in the city of Jerusalem, in the eight century B.C. The 66 chapters of the Book of Isaiah are considered to be an ocean of wealth, concerned with issues related to God, justice, sin, religion and various social ills. Being an educated and intelligent man, he was the spiritual guide to four kings of Jerusalem, expressing God’s will on many national matters. His book, written in an unsurpassed style and spirit, is the link between the Old and the New Testaments.

Isaiah is also called the “Evangelist Prophet” for his prophesizing on the coming of the Messiah - Jesus Christ. In the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 61, the prophet comes forth as a servant sent by the Lord’s Soul “to bring the good news to the poor and to take care of the desperate and hopeless.” Christ would later read the words of Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth, as He became the realization of that mission in the world (Luke 4:16-21).
According to tradition, Isaiah was killed by particularly brutal means.

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Commemoration of the Apostle Thaddeus and the Virgin Sandoukht

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-03

St. Thaddeus the Apostle and St. Sandoukht the Virgin are two of the most venerated saints in the Armenian Church, as the “Great Conversion” of the Armenian nation to Christianity is significantly connected with their names.

Following the Ascension of Christ, according to the Lord’s message: “Go then to all peoples everywhere and make them make them my disciples...”, Thaddeus departs for Edessa. There he preaches the Gospel, and among his numerous miracles, also heals the king of Osrhoene named Abgar. In the year 44 A.D., Thaddeus travels on to Armenia and enters the domain of the pagan King Sanatrouk. After preaching in various parts of Armenia, St. Thaddeus converts many to Christianity, who become the foundation for the Armenian Church. The Apostle Thaddeus, while in the region of Artaz, gains access to the royal palace and converts Princess Sandoukht, the daughter of the king, to Christianity.

The Armenian King Sanatrouk becomes aware of his daughter’s conversion and exhorts her to return to her native heathen religion, but his efforts are in vain. The enraged king imprisons both the Virgin Sandoukht and St. Thaddeus and subjects them to severe torments. Another effort is made to persuade the Virgin to give up Christianity by the governor of the royal palace, an Armenian prince. This effort only ends with the prince becoming a Christian as well. The king, able to bear no more, finally orders the death of the Apostle Thaddeus and his own daughter, Sandoukht. They are martyred together in Shavarshan, the summer residence of the royal family.

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Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-05

Bishop Cyprian has lived and acted in the 3rd century B. C. According to “Haysmavourk”, he was a noble prince and was very rich, wise and skilled in magic. In the town where he lived, Justinia, the daughter of a heathen priest, lived. Being Christian, she had converted her parents to Christianity. Receiving a heathen prince’s proposal to marry, she rejects him saying that she already is the bride of Christ. The prince asks for the support of the heathen priest Cyprian, but the latter, under the influence of the virgin, is baptized to be a Christian and soon after that being ordained a bishop, dedicates himself to the preaching mission. And the virgin Justinia is ordained to be a deaconess. During the persecution of Dekos Bishop Cyprian is exiled and beheaded. Virgin Justinia is also martyred.

The virgin Euphemia was born in a Christian family and she had made an oath not to marry and to dedicate all of her life to God. Together with her 45 companions she refuses to participate in the festivity in honor of one of the heathen gods and hides. However, being found and taken to the court the companions of Euphemia are swabbed and die immediately and Euphemia, after being subjected to severe torments is thrown to the beasts. Thanks to God’s protection and support she remains out of danger. But preferring to die being eaten by the beasts than because of the human malice, she asks God her death and is martyred.

The virgin Christina was from Phoenicia. She was the governor’s daughter. Building a high tower and installing in the tower golden and silver idols, the governor wishes her daughter to become a magician. But Christina, by a divine inspiration comprehending the grandeur of Christianity and the triviality of heathen religion, breaks the idols into pieces, sells the gold and silver material and distributes the sum to the poor. Because of that deed she is subjected to severe torments and is martyred.

This feast has been and will be on the following dates

2020-07-27 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

2021-07-19 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

2022-08-01 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

2023-07-24 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

2024-07-15 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

2025-08-04 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

2026-07-20 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

2027-07-12 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

2028-07-31 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

2029-07-16 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

2030-08-05 Commemoration of Sts. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and the 45 Martyrs, and the Virgins Justinia, Euphemia, and Christina

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Commemoration of Martyrdom of Sts. Antiochus the Bishop and his ten disciples and five martyrs

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-06

St. Antiochus was born in Sebastia, to a Christian family in the third century A.D. In the book “The Life and Activity of the Saints” we learn that Antiochus defeats a mighty dragon through prayer and the use of his preaching staff, and frees the people of a small village. He is appointed by the Metropolitan of Sebastia to be the Bishop of the city of Pitacton, located in Armenia (Hayk) Minor. During the period of Roman the Emperor Diocletian’s persecutions of Christians, Bishop Antiochus and his ten disciples are brought before a court to stand trial. They all refuse to offer sacrifices to the pagan idols and are martyred by means of beheading.

St. Gregory the Illuminator’ wife, Mariam, was the sister of Antiochus. Upon Gregory’s return from Caesaria, he brings the relics of Bishop Antiochus and St. John the Forerunner (the Baptist) to Armenia and buries the relics in the Monastery of Glak, in the region of Ashtishat, Province of Taron.

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Commemoration of the Holy Forefather

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-08

The Septuagint (first translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, made into popular Greek before the Christian era, III century B.C.) uses the name “Patriarch” when referring to the forefathers or ancestors of spiritual and lay leaders of the Old Testament. They are: Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Eliezer, Joshua, Samuel, Samson, Jephthah, Barak, Gideon, and other Holy Patriarchs.

The Church has classified our forefather Adam into the class of saints, confirming the truth that Christ’s saving blood was shed for each and every person, starting from the ancestor of all people. By means of the salvation of Adam, original sin is redeemed from all who have followed him, who repent, believe and are baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, thus becoming members of the Church of Christ.

The word “Ancestor” is also synonymous with “Head of Tribe”. The Holy Forefathers, as heads of tribes, played a very important role. Many of them lived hundreds of years, and influenced their families and tribal members. Their minds and souls sustained a desire to become closer to divine existence and live a God-pleasing life. Feeling the presence of God, they advised, warned and taught the people to stay away from sinful ways. Due to their saintly way of life, they continue to be vivid examples for us. The ultimate goal of their lives was the realization of God’s omnipotent will on earth. Acting as mediators with God, they made relations between God and man closer and more sincere. In our present day and current times, their sacred desire to achieve justice and fairness is a valuable lesson for all.

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Commemoration Day of 200 Pontiffs participating in the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-10

The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus was convened in 431 A. D., during the reign of the King Theodosius Small. 200 Pontiffs participated in the Council with the goal to criticize the false teaching of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople. According to his teaching there were two independent - divine and human natures in Christ, contrasting each other. Nestorius preached that Christ was born as a simple man and only later Divinity was settled in His Person, and therefore, the Holy Virgin Mary was not Godmother, but the mother of a simple man.

The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus condemns the teaching of Nestorius and adopts the teaching of St. Cyril of Alexandria as an orthodox teaching, according to which the divine and human natures of Christ do not exist separately, but are united unmixedly, without confusion - one Lord, one Jesus, one face and one united divine and human nature. St. Mary is not the mother of a simple man, but she is Godmother as she gave birth to the Son of God. So, the formulation of St. Cyril of Alexandria: “One is the nature of the Incarnate Word of God” was adopted.

The Armenian Church has not participated in that Ecumenical Council but has adopted its resolutions and ecumenical authority together with the previous Ecumenical Councils.

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Eve of the Fast of St. Mary, Holy Godmother

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-11
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Feast of the Apparition (“Shoghakat”) of Holy Etchmiadzin

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-17

The Feast of “Shoghakat” of Holy Etchmiadzin commemorates the inauguration of the Cathedral of the Mother See. The fifth century Greek historian Agathangelos tells us of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s divine vision, wherein our Lord Jesus Christ descends from Heaven and strikes the ground with His golden hammer. In view of biblical Mount Ararat, in the city of Vagharshapat, the place where the Only Begotten descended identified the site for the foundation of the new cathedral of the Christian Armenian Nation. The vision of Gregory became known as “Shoghakat”, as the Saint saw a fiery column descending from the sky.

The foundation was laid in 301 A.D. and the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin was consecrated in 303 A.D. on the day of the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God. We learn from Archbishop Malachia Ormanian that as the Mother Cathedral of the Armenian Church and Nation is dedicated to St. Mary, the feast of her foundation and inauguration is celebrated in the Armenian Church on the Saturday preceding the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God.

For 1,700 years, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has been, and continues to be, the spiritual heart and center of the Armenian Church, and is her most sacred sanctuary. Her spiritual, national and historical significance has only increased through the centuries. Through the vision of St. Gregory, God Incarnate descended upon the soil of Armenia and predetermined her future, making Armenia the first nation in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion.

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Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-18

Each year on the Sunday closest to the date of August 15, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, the Holy Mother of God. In the Calendar of the Armenian Church, this feast is the fourth of five major feasts that are commemorated, and is the oldest one dedicated to St. Mary.

In the Holy Bible, there is little information concerning the details of St. Mary’s life. As a result, the story of her Assumption has been preserved and passed on to us through the Holy and Sacred Tradition of the Apostolic Church.

Following the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Holy Virgin remains in Jerusalem, and lives under the care of St. John the Evangelist. For nearly 12 years, St. Mary lives by praying, fasting, and often visiting the empty tomb of her beloved Son. During one such visit to the tomb, the Archangel Gabriel appears and gives her the news of her imminent assumption to heaven. St. Mary relays the news to her relatives and all Christians, asking them to bury her in the valley of Gethsemane. St. Mary also asks the Apostle John to celebrate a Divine Liturgy, so she may receive Holy Communion one final time. After receiving Holy Communion, St. Mary returns to her room. As the Apostles prepare to mourn her death, St. John asks the Mother of God to leave an image of her face on a board of wood. St. Mary takes the board, crosses herself and brings it close to her face. Moistening the board with her tears, she asks God that by means of the board, people would be cured from disease. As the Apostles surround St. Mary, an indescribable light appears. The Son of God and the angels of heaven appear in the room. Seeing Christ, St. Mary dies.

St. Bartholomew the Apostle was absent and did not participate in the burial service of St. Mary. Upon his return to Jerusalem, he wishes to see St. Mary for the last time. Per his request, the Apostles open the tomb, yet they do not find the remains of St. Mary. According to His promise, Jesus Christ had delivered His mother to His heavenly kingdom. The Apostles give the board of St. Mary to St. Bartholomew for consolation.
According to Moses of Khoren, St. Bartholomew brings the board to Armenia. It is kept in the Province of Andzav, in a location called Darbnots. Years later, a church is built there in honor of St. Mary, and a convent is opened.

On the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, the Ceremony of the Blessing of the Grapes is conducted, and the harvest for the entire year is blessed on that day.

The Armenian Church has a deep and abiding respect towards St. Mary. Special emphasis is placed on her being a mother, her honesty, her unique spirit of humility, her virtuous behavior and her unselfish dedication. For Armenian women, the Holy Virgin is the embodiment of virtue, pious motherhood, and the protector of family sacredness.

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Commemoration of Sts. Joachim and Anna, Parents of the Holy Mother of God, and Oil-Bringing Women

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-27

The names of St. Joachim (Jehoiakim) and Anna are closely related to Jesus, as they are the parents of the Holy Mother of God.

According to the tradition, wealthy Joachim was a descendant of King David, and Anna was the daughter of a priest. One day, when performing a service in the cathedral, the priest tells Joachim to stand in the end, as he had no son. Becoming upset, Joachim comes out of the Cathedral and immediately climbs up the mountains, vowing not to descend the mountain until the visit of God. Following his example, Anna, staying at home, devotes herself to prayer and repentance. And once, when Anna sees in the garden the birds playing with their nestlings, becomes sad and cries, as she wasn’t granted the grace of being a mother. Just at that moment the Angel of God visits Anna, telling her that God will be granting her a son who will be the mother of the Savior of the world. Joachim also has the same vision and becoming very happy, gives alms to the poor. The parents decide to devote the baby to the Church. The baby is named Mary, which means “Illuminated”.

The oil-bringing women are the witnesses of Christ’s torments. They are the first to give the good tidings of the Resurrection of our Lord. The Oil-Bringing women followed Christ during all the time of realizing His earthly mission. The church calls them “Oil-Bringing Women” as on Sunday, in the morning, they hurried to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus by the aromatic oils prepared by themselves.

Thanks to their devoutness they were first to see the Rosen God and told about it the Apostles. They were in the upstairs during Pentecost and together with the Apostles received the graces of the Holy Spirit.

The Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates the memory of St. Joachim and Anna together with the oil-Bringing Women.

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Commemoration of the Prophet Jeremiah

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-29

Prophet Jeremiah is one of the four Major Prophets of the Old Testament. In comparison with other persons and saints of the Holy Bible, there is much more and rather trustworthy information about the Prophet Jeremiah.

The Prophet Jeremiah lived during the latter part of the seventh century and the first part of the sixth century B. C. He was the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests of the town Anathoth not far from Jerusalem. He lived and preached in Jerusalem. Feeling the calling to serve God he has devoutly served refusing to marry and have his own family. The people, being idolatrous and experiencing social difficulties and unfairness, could not understand his honest motives. As the result of such attitude the Prophet Jeremiah prophesizes the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of Temple. Witnessing his nation’s idolatry and sin, he continuously preaches equality and true faith in God, exhorts them to change the way they are living and to be fair in their treatment of one another, to stop taking advantage of aliens, orphans and widows, to stop killing innocent people in this land, to stop worshipping other gods, for that will destroy them (The Book of Jeremiah, 7: 1-6 compare with 5:25-28).

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Commemoration of St. Thomas

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-31

St. Thomas Apostle (called the Twin) is known from the passage of the Gospel where the other Apostles state that they have seen Rosen Christ, whereas Thomas insists that he won’t believe unless he sees the scars of nails in His hands and puts his fingers on those scars and his hand in His side. A week later Jesus appears in the indoors to the untrusting Apostle. Thomas, believing the miracle, kneels down and says: “My Lord and my God!” (The Gospel according to John 20: 24-29). When the remaining Apostles hesitate to go with Christ to visit dead Lazarus, as there was a great danger to be stoned, Thomas bravely says to his fellow disciples, “Let us all go along with the Teacher, so that we may die with him!” (The Gospel according to John 11:16).

According to the tradition St. Thomas Apostle has preached the Word of God in Parthia and India, and has been martyred and buried in Madras.

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Commemoration of Sts. James and Simon Apostles

This year is celebrated in:: 2019-08-31

In order to differ St. James Apostle from James, the son of Zebedee, he is named “James son of Alphaeus” and “James Junior”. The Apostle James son of Alphaeus has preached the Gospel in the Southern parts of Palestine and in Egypt, where he has been martyred.

St. Simon the Patriot Apostle is famous as “Simon of Canaan”, which also means “Zealous”. There was a grouping with that name among the Jews, who without making distinctions between means struggled against the foreign Roman yoke and for eliminating the betraying and fond of foreigners Jews. St. Simon has preached and has been martyred in Persia.

This feast has been and will be on the following dates
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