Feast of St. Sarkis the Captain started in Tbilisi with a cross-march

The Feast of St. Sarkis the Captain, his son Mardiros and his 14 soldiers-companions is always celebrated with great enthusiasm and love at the Armenian Diocese in Georgia. This a major feast; this year it was celebrated on January 27, and the anticipation and excitement associated with the day were already noticeable during the eve of the feast. The Feast of St. Sarkis is one of the unique church feasts, which brings together tens of thousands of not only Armenian but also foreign youths around the Armenian church.

Armenian faithful in Tbilisi traditionally celebrate the Feast of St. Sarkis the Captain with a march to the chapel built in 1883 and named after the Saint. This time also, the tradition was not broken.

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On January 26, at the feast eve, a large number of pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of Saint Etchmiadzin church in Avlabari and under the leadership of Rev. Father Hovsep Harutyunyan and accompanied by deacons marched with icons of St. Sarkis, crosses, prayers and singing hymns to the chapel named after St. Sarkis in Kharkhup district. The participants of the march stopped and prayed near the ruins of Shamkhoretsots Karmir Avetaran (Red Gospel) ancient church.

Reaching St. Sarkis chapel, the participants of the cross-march lit candles and prayed to the Saint for the fulfillment of their hopes. And outside, with the participation of the clergy, spiritual songs were sung, and the participants of the march joined in the singing. After their pilgrimage, they arrived at the Cathedral of Saint George and joined the hundreds of faithful there, most of whom were young people.

The Cathedral of Saint George and the churchyard were crowded. An Evening Service was offered on the eve of the Feast under the presidency of His Grace Bishop Kirakos Davtyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, and with the participation of clergy.

His Grace Bishop Kirakos Davtyan, offered his blessings to the attendees and preached about the mystery of the day martyrdom of St. Sarkis, his son, and his companions for the sake of Christianity. He also touched upon the fact, that by the order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians the Feast of St. Sarkis the Captain was proclaimed as a day of the blessing of young people. His Grace Bishop Kirakos Davtyan, offered Blessing of Youth Service and wished the young people fulfillment of their goals.

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The Feast of St. Sarkis traditionally is not only celebrated with church ceremonies, and prayers, but also folk celebrations. At the initiative of the Diocesan Youth Department, salty cookies were cooked and staff members of the “House of Hovhannes Tumanyan” Center did not forget about the next day's treat with sweet pokhindz (Armenian dish made of milled and slightly roasted flour) and aromatic khashil (Armenian dish made of ground wheat).

Saint Sarkis is also the Intercessor of Love. Adhering to the folk tradition, at the end of the feast eve ceremony, the young people received salty cookies, with which they associated the appearance of their future spouse in their dreams.

On January 27, on the day of the Feast of Saint Sarkis, Rev. Father Husik Harutyunyan celebrated the festive Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Saint George.

The Armenian Diocese in Georgia expresses its gratitude to the traffic police service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia for accompanying the cross-march of the faithful in Tbilisi and ensuring their peaceful march on the traffic road.

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