July

Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

This year is celebrated in:: 2022-01-31

In the second century BC, Judea was under the rule of the Seleucids. During the reign of King Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria, he attempted to force Greek paganism on his Jewish subjects.  A priest named Mattathias, along with his sons and brothers, revolted against the king and remained loyal and faithful to God. One of Mattathias’ sons, Judas, acted with distinction and special bravery in this revolt. As a result, he received the Greek epithet “Maccabeus” which means hammer or hammer-like. Later, this name is applied to his entire family, and they began to be called Maccabees.

Eleazar the Priest was another of Mattathias’ sons. He too was brave, pious and wise. The king attempted to force him to eat pork, which according to Jewish law, is prohibited. Being reared in the spirit of God’s divine commandments and laws, he refused the king’s order, and preferred to die heroically, saving his reputation and honor. Following subjugation to long and brutal tortures, Eleazar was killed and became a source of courage and inspiration for generations to come.

The martyrdom of a brave mother and her seven sons also dates back to the same period.  Like the priest Eleazar, they also were ordered to eat pork. Her sons were tormented and killed one by one before their mother, but all remained steadfast in their faith. At the end, Shamuna is also put to death for having remained loyal to faith of their forefathers.
The Maccabees and their story have long been viewed as a source of inspiration for remaining steadfast in the faith and loyal to God. In our own Church tradition and history, we learn that Saint Vartan read from the Books of the Maccabees to the Armenian soldiers on the eve of the Battle of Avarayr in 451 AD.

The martyrdom of the prophets of the Old Testament named Maccabees can be found in 1 Maccabees 1:30-64 and 2 Maccabees 5:24 - 7:41.

 

This feast has been and will be on the following dates

2030-02-04 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

2029-07-23 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

2028-01-31 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

2027-07-19 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

2026-07-27 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

2025-02-03 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

2024-07-22 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

2023-07-31 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

2022-01-31 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

2021-07-26 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

2020-08-03 Commemoration of the Maccabees, Sts. Eleazar the Priest, Shamuna and her seven Sons

Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

This year is celebrated in:: 2023-07-29

Aristakes was St. Gregory the Illuminator’s youngest son.  He led a monastic life from a very early age. He was consecrated a bishop by his father, and became one of St. Gregory’s most valued supporters. In 325 A.D. he participated in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, representing the first Catholicos and the entire Armenian Church. Following St. Gregory the Illuminator, he became Catholicos of All Armenians.

He was killed in 333 A.D. by Arkeghayos, a prince of Greater Armenia, for criticizing some incorrigible behavior of the king, and was buried in the village Til.
Vrtanes was St. Gregory the Illuminator’s elder son. He was married and had two sons – Grigoris and Housik. Following the death of his brother, he ascended to the Catholicosal Throne.

Although Christianity was already fairly well accepted as the official religion, some remnants of paganism and heathenism continued in remote areas and smaller villages. One region that had substantial resistance was the province of Daron. Vrtanes organized annual festive Christian celebrations in this province to gradually eliminate their pagan beliefs and practices.

Vrtanes died in 341 A.D. and was buried in the village Tordan, near the relics of St. Gregory the Illuminator.

Grigoris was the elder son of Vrtanes. He was sent by the Armenian Church to spread Christianity among the neighboring nations of Armenia.  He was martyred upon the order of King Sanesan, the head of the nomadic Mazkut tribe. His remains were buried by the deacons who served with him, in the village of Amaras, in Artsakh. In 489 A.D. upon the order of the Aghvan (Caucasian Albanian) King Vachagan, the Church of St. Gregory was built on this site.

Housik was the younger son of Vrtanes. He married with the daughter of the Armenian King Tiridates and had two sons – Pap and Antiochus. In 341 A.D. he was elected as the Catholicos of All Armenians.

He resisted and challenged the will of King Tiran, who wished to hang the portrait of Julianus the Betrayer in a church. He was severely beaten, martyred, and was buried in the village of Tordan, province of Daranaghi.

Bishop Daniel Assyrian was famous for his saintly way of life. As he grew older he led an ascetic and isolated life in the province of Daron. Following the martyrdom of Housik, he was invited to be the Catholicos of All Armenians.

During the very first meeting with King Tiran, he strictly castigated him on the murder of the Pontiff Housik. The king summarily ordered the death of Daniel by strangulation.  His remains are buried in the Monastery of Hatsyats Drahkt.

The sons and grandsons of St. Gregory the Illuminator are remembered and commemorated by all Armenian Churches throughout the world for their service to the Church, their faithfulness to Christianity, and their commitment to the Armenian people.

 

This feast has been and will be on the following dates

2030-02-09 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2029-07-21 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2028-02-05 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2027-07-17 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2026-07-25 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2025-02-08 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2024-07-20 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2023-07-29 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2022-02-05 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2021-07-24 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2020-08-01 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2019-02-09 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2018-07-21 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2017-02-04 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2016-07-16 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2015-07-25 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2014-02-08 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2013-07-20 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2012-07-28 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2011-02-05 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2010-07-24 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2009-08-01 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

2008-07-12 Commemoration of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Sons and Grandsons – Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris and Daniel

Commemoration of the Prophet Isaiah

This year is celebrated in:: 2023-07-20

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. 

Commemoration of the Apostle Thaddeus and the Virgin Sandoukht

This year is celebrated in:: 2023-07-22

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.

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

This year is celebrated in:: 2023-07-24

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

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

This year is celebrated in:: 2023-07-25

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.

Commemoration of the Holy Forefather

This year is celebrated in:: 2023-07-27

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.

Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

This year is celebrated in:: 2023-07-16

The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the five main “Tabernacle” feasts of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Holy Church. It commemorates the transformation or the “transfiguration” that came over Jesus while He was praying.  Christ’s face shone like the sun and his clothes became a radiant and gleaming white. The Apostles Peter, James and John witnessed that event which occurred on a high mountain named Tabor.

Evangelists St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. Luke testify about the transfiguration of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:1-12, Luke 9:28-36).
“... As they looked on, a change came over Jesus: his face was shining like the sun and his clothes were dazzling white. Then the three disciples saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus.  So Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “Lord, how good it is that we are here!  If you wish I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  While he was talking, a shining cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased – listen to him!” When the disciples heard the voice, they were so terrified that they threw themselves face downward on the ground. Jesus came to them and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid!” So they looked up and saw no one there but Jesus. (Matthew 17:2-8)

In the Armenian Church, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated 98 days following Easter.  The Feast also is known by the common name of “Vardakas”. This day is associated with an old Armenian tradition of pouring water on one another. Some sources attribute the tradition as a remnant of an Armenian pre-Christian celebration.  The Monday following the Feast is a Memorial Day.


This feast has been and will be on the following dates

2020-07-19 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2021-07-11 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2022-07-24 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2023-07-16 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2024-07-07 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2025-07-27 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2026-07-12 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2027-07-04 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2028-07-23 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2029-07-08 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2030-07-28 Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

This year is celebrated in:: 2023-07-15

Tabernacle of the Old Testament is the most sacred sanctity of the Old Testament, where the board of the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s ornament crosier and the golden urn full of manna were kept. Christian Church is considered to be the prototype of the New Testament - that is - the Church of Christ. So, this feast has been included in the calendar to symbolize the mystery of eternity of the Church.


This feast has been and will be on the following dates

2020-07-18 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

2021-07-10 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

2022-07-23 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

2023-07-15 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

2024-07-06 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

2025-07-26 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

2026-07-11 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

2027-07-03 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

2028-07-22 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

2029-07-07 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

2030-07-27 Commemoration of the Tabernacle of Old Testament (or the Old Ark) and the Feast of the New Holy Church

Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

This year is celebrated in:: 2023-07-09

This is the Sunday preceding the week prior to the fasting period preceding the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Transfiguration called in the Armenian Apostolic Church Fast of Transfiguration lasting from Monday to Friday. Saturday, the last day of the fasting period, is the eve of the feast, which means that that day people can eat fish and dairy products.

 
This feast has been and will be on the following dates

2030-07-21 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

2029-07-01 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

2028-07-17 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

2027-06-27 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

2026-07-05 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

2025-07-20 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

2024-07-30 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

2023-07-09 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

2022-07-17 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

2021-07-04 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

2020-07-12 Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration

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