May

Feast of Pentecost

This year is celebrated in:: 2021-05-23

The Feast of Pentecost is the commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the fiftieth day following the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Armenian Church celebrates this feast 50 days following Easter Sunday.

The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons in the Holy Trinity coexisting with, and equal to, the Holy Father and the Holy Son. During His earthly life and ministry Christ spoke to the Apostles about the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Recording the words of Christ, St. John writes, “The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.” (John 14:26).

The descent of the Holy Spirit is described in the Acts of the Apostles: “When the day of the Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place.  Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.  (Acts 2:1-4).

In the book of Acts, St. Luke further records the names of various countries, and that men from those countries were surprised, when each of them heard his native language. Among the mentioned places are Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia (Acts 2:9). Two of the saints of the Universal Church, both of Roman origin, Tertullian and Augustine, have written that the word “Armenia” should possibly be substituted instead of “Judea”, as it is more logical that Armenia would be mentioned among those as a “foreign” country, as the apostles were living in Judea.  Moreover, with regards to geographical position, Armenia was situated between Mesopotamia and Cappadocia. Therefore, the people living in Armenia may have been among the first witnesses of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Among the Armenian Church songs and hymns, two are dedicated to the Feast of Pentecost: “The Sent Dove” (referring to the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove that descended upon Christ during His Baptism) and “Indivisible Trinity”. These are sung during the Morning Service on the feast day. Also, during the Evening Service, the “Andastan” rite of the blessing of the four corners of the world is conducted. It is during this service that a prayer written by 12th century Armenian Church father Nerses of Lambron, is read.

In the Christian Church the teaching of divine grace is related to the Holy Spirit.  According to that instruction, each virtue is a divine grace granted to the faithful by the Holy Spirit. Thus, ascribing any virtue to one’s own self, and not to God, is a grave sin and can be manifested in another, which is pride. Hence, commemoration of Pentecost is also an appeal to the faithful to avoid pride and instead, use the divine graces in life for righteous purposes and moral goals.

One of the four season fasting periods defined by the Armenian Apostolic Church is the fasting period preceding the beginning of summer. This fasting period, as well as the other ones preceding the other seasons of the year, is not preparation for any feast, and according to the tradition is called Elijah’s fast, as coincides the feast of commemoration the Prophet Elijah the next Sunday.

This fasting period preceding the beginning of summer starts the day following the feast of Pentecost (the flesh day preceding the fast is the Sunday, when the feast of Pentecost is celebrated). With the change of the Easter Feast day the beginning of the fasting period may be during the period May 11-June 14. Like the other fasting periods preceding the other seasons of the year, this one also lasts five days - from Monday till Friday.

 

This feast has been and will be on the following dates
 
 
2020-05-31 Feast of Pentecost

2021-05-23 Feast of Pentecost

2022-06-05 Feast of Pentecost

2023-05-27 Feast of Pentecost

2024-05-19 Feast of Pentecost

2025-06-08 Feast of Pentecost

2026-05-27 Feast of Pentecost

2027-05-16 Feast of Pentecost

2028-06-04 Feast of Pentecost

2029-05-20 Feast of Pentecost

2030-06-09 Feast of Pentecost

Second Palm Sunday

This year is celebrated in:: 2021-05-16

On the Sunday following the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, the Armenian Church celebrates “Second” Palm Sunday. The name of the feast has been derived from Palm Sunday, which precedes Easter.  In the week leading up to His betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection, the “first” Palm Sunday symbolized the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem where people met Him with great joy and glorified His Holy Name.  The Second Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the triumphant entry of the Ascended Christ into the Heavenly Jerusalem, where the angels meet him with great happiness and delight.

According to tradition, during St. Gregory the Illuminator’s imprisonment in the pit, he was visited every day by the same angel. However one day, the angel did not come. The following morning, St. Gregory inquires to the reason for his absence, to which the angel responds that during the Ascension, Christ had passed through the ranks of the Angels, and they celebrate that feast each year. The angel visiting St. Gregory was from the fourth class of angelic hosts, and thus, on the fourth day following the Ascension, his rank of angels commemorates and celebrates Christ’s Ascension to heaven every year.

St. Gregory of Datev, one of the greatest theologians of the Armenian Church, has a famous interpretation of this event. Prior to His Ascension, the ranks of angels, except for the lowest class, who served Christ during His earthly life, were not aware of Christ’s incarnation for the salvation of man. St. Gregory’s commentary states that when the Lord was passing through the ranks of angels, they were surprised and asked, “Who was that powerful king?” The angels accompanying Christ thus informed them. This dialogue of angels is presented in the Holy Bible, in the book of Psalms:

 “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.”
“Who is this King of glory?  The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in
battle.”
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.”
“Who is this King of glory?”
“The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.”
(Psalms 24:7-10).
The angelic dialogue is exhibited for us, when it is heard during the Divine Liturgy, as the deacon approaches the celebrant priest with the chalice during the Great Entrance (Verapehroom).

Second Palm Sunday is one more reminder of the Ascension of Christ and grants us the hope for ascending to heaven after our deaths, and being in the bliss of God’s presence.

 

This feast has been and will be on the following dates

2020-05-24 Second Palm Sunday

2021-05-16 Second Palm Sunday

2022-05-29 Second Palm Sunday

2023-05-21 Second Palm Sunday

2024-05-12 Second Palm Sunday

2025-06-01 Second Palm Sunday

2026-05-17 Second Palm Sunday

2027-05-09 Second Palm Sunday

2028-05-28 Second Palm Sunday

2029-05-13 Second Palm Sunday

2030-06-02 Second Palm Sunday

Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

This year is celebrated in:: 2021-05-13

The Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord on the fortieth day following the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Savior Jesus Christ.

Following His Resurrection and defeat of death, Christ remained on earth for forty days, and continued to appear to His disciples. On the fortieth day, Christ is seen by His disciples for the last time. He blesses them and leaves them with instructions, after which He ascends into heaven.

Two of the Gospel writers, St. Mark and St. Luke, testify about Christ’s ascension. There is also an account of it in the Acts of the Apostles.

Following a final meeting of Christ with the eleven remaining apostles, St. Mark writes, “So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)

St. Luke gives a little greater detail as he writes, “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.” (Luke 24: 50-53)

But by far the most beautiful account of the Ascension can be found in the Book of Acts:  “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)

The hymn that is sung in the Armenian Church on Ascension Day mentions the miraculous event of Christ’s Ascension into heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles.

In the Armenian Church, the day of Jesus Christ’s Ascension is also commemorated for another reason as well. On this date in 1441, the See of the Catholicosate of All Armenians was returned to its historical origins. Following a resolution of the National Assembly gathered in Vagharshapad, the Patriarchal See was relocated from the city of Sis in Western Armenia to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Following his vision of Christ striking the ground with a golden hammer, St. Gregory the Illuminator had founded the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin in 303.  However, less than 200 years later, in 484, the Patriarchal See was forced to relocate, and for the next 1000 years, settled in various cities throughout Armenia.  The decision to return the throne of the Catholicos to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin was the fulfillment of a national dream for the Armenian people.

 

This feast has been and will be on the following dates
 
 
2020-05-21 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2021-05-13 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2022-05-26 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2023-05-18 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2024-05-09 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2025-05-29 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2026-05-14 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2027-05-06 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2028-05-25 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2029-05-10 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

2030-05-30 Feast of Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

This year is celebrated in:: 2021-05-02

This feast is dedicated to the Apparition of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. At noon on May 19, 351, a bright, luminous cross appeared over the skies of Jerusalem, centered over an area spanning from the Mount of Olives (where Christ was betrayed and arrested) to Golgotha (where Christ was crucified). Awestruck, the faithful of Jerusalem rush to church to give thanks and glorify the Lord. Bishop Cyril (later St. Cyril of Jerusalem) subsequently wrote a letter to Emperor Constantine of Byzantium wherein he describes the miraculous and beautiful scene. St. Cyril tells Constantine that the apparition is a true testimony of the orthodox faith of Christianity.

Further, St. Cyril exhorts the Emperor that the appearance is a sign for him to remain steadfast in his faith, and to stop defending the heretical movement of Arianism and its promulgators. The Armenian translation of the Bishop’s letter has been preserved by the Church, and is read each year on the Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross. The Armenian Church celebrates this feast 28 days following Easter Sunday.

 

This feast has been and will be on the following dates

2030-05-19 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

2029-04-29 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

2028-05-14 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

2027-04-25 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

2026-05-03 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

2025-05-18 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

2024-04-28 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

2023-05-07 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

2022-05-15 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

2021-05-02 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

2020-05-10 Feast of Apparition of the Holy Cross

Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

This year is celebrated in:: 2021-05-30

Prophet Elijah is one of the major prophets of the Old Testament, distinguished for his loyalty to the Lord, for his zealous struggle against idolatry spread in Israel by the apostate king Ahab and his idolatrous wife, Queen Jezebel.

Prophet Elijah lived in the IX century B.C. In the First Book of Kings (17-18) and the Second Book of Kings (1-2) is told about the activity of the Prophet Elijah. Evangelists also mention the name of the Prophet Elijah.

In the First Book of Kings it is told that being the true herald of the Word of God Elijah, by the Lord’s will appeared before the apostate king Ahab and warned about the upcoming drought. His prophecy came true and after three years the Prophet again went to the king Ahab. Proving the weakness of the idolatrous, Prophet Elijah prayed God asking to send down fire for the sacrifice and a heavy rain. It is also told that thanks to the divine grace the Prophet Elijah helped the widow in Zarephath making so that her bowl wouldn’t run out of flour and her jar wouldn’t run of oil, also restored the widow’s dead sun to life.

 

This feast has been and will be on the following dates

2020-06-07 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

2021-05-30 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

2022-06-12 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

2023-06-04 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

2024-05-26 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

2025-06-15 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

2026-05-31 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

2027-05-23 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

2028-06-11 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

2029-05-27 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

2030-06-16 Commemoration of the Prophet Elijah

Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

This year is celebrated in:: 2021-05-31

Noble Hripsime was one of the 37 Christian nuns who together with the Abyss Gayane lived during the period of the reign of the Roman King Diocletianus (284-305 years) in the Monastery of St. Paul located in the mountains of Rome.

Pretty Hripsime captivated the King by her dazzling beauty, who wished to get married to her. Disobeying the king, the pious nuns, led by their Abyss Gayane, ran away from Alexandria. According to the tradition, Holy Godmother appeared to them and told them to leave for the Araratian country - Armenia. So, the nuns went to Vagharshapat. On their way, passing by the Mountain of Varague, Hripsime buried in the earth a relic from the wooden Holy Cross, which she always had on her neck. The relic was found by a miracle in the 7th century and since then the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varague started to be celebrated in the Calendar of the Armenian Apostolic Church along with the other feasts dedicated to the Holy Cross.

The Armenian King Tiridates, becoming aware of the nun’s story, himself wished to get married to Hripsime. Hripsime was brought to the palace, and Gayane was also brought to the palace to convince Hripsime to obey the King. But even in that way the King did not manage to get married to Hripsime and becoming angry, ordered to kill all the nuns. Nine days later St. Gregory the Illuminator found the relics of the nuns and burying the relics, built martyriums in those sites, where in the future the Monasteries of St. Hripsime, St. Gayane and St. Shoghakat were erected.

Nuns’ mardyrdom is a turning point in the history of the Armenian nation. After their martyrdom St. Gregory the Illuminator was brought out of the pit after more than 13 years’ imprisonment to spread the light of Christ in Armenia.

In the Armenian Apostolic Church on the days of the feasts dedicated to the memory of St. Hripsime and her companions a Divine Liturgy is celebrated in all Armenian Churches. On the eve of the feast ceremonies are held, which start after the evening service, and Church hymns and songs, dedicated to the nuns, are sang.


This feast has been and will be on the following dates

2030-06-17 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

2029-05-28 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

2028-06-12 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

2027-05-24 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

2026-06-01 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

2025-06-16 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

2024-05-27 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

2023-06-05 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

2022-06-13 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

2021-05-31 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

2020-06-08 Commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions

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