The Feast of Holy Etchmiadzin was celebrated in Tbilisi
One of the greatest fests of the Armenian Church is the founding of the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin with the vision of Gregory the Illuminator. On June 6, 2021, the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church celebrated the Feast of the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Armenian churches of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia on the occasion of the Feast.
Armenians in Georgia, especially in Tbilisi are connected with the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin with special love and faith. The respect towards Holy Etchmiadzin church and its power led to the establishment of a church with the same name in Avlabari district, Tbilisi back in the 19th century by donations of Armenian community. This church proudly invites the faithful to gather around it.
From early morning, Armenian faithful from Tbilisi were hurrying to Saint Etchmiadzin church in Avlabari in order to participate in the festive Divine Liturgy celebrated by Rev. Father Kirakos Simonyan.
During the Divine Liturgy, the celebrant priest conveyed the blessings of the Primate of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, Rev. Father Archimandrite Kirakos Davtyan and the latter’s congratulations on the Feast. Afterwards he touched upon the mystery of the day, the story of the vision of Gregory the Illuminator, Patriarch of All Armenians presented by historian Agathangelos and the story of building of the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. Rev. Father preached about the faithfulness of Armenian people, maintenance of national values which is implemented under the leadership of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, headed by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
The celebrant priest highlighted that faithful Armenian people go to Etchmiadzin from Motherland and Diaspora with a pilgrimage in order to receive the spiritual light of Etchmiadzin. “Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin temple is an evidence of the faith of all Armenians, Holy Etchmiadzin is a mission and thanks to the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church faithful Armenian people preserves, enriches and transmits to the next generations mysteries and rituals of the church, folk traditions and cultural values in the Motherland and the Diaspora. It is the guarantee of the eternity of our identity, faith, statehood and our language” - highlighted the celebrant in his message, encouraging the faithful to be united around the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, asked Almighty God for peace for Mother See, Armenia, Holy Etchmiadzin, Artsakh and Georgia.
Rev. Father Kirakos Simonyan also referred to the ongoing construction works at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and urged the faithful to take part in the renovation activities of the temple of Almighty God and to have their contribution in its implementation.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Matagh (Thanksgiving Animal Sacrifice) by the great son of Armenian nation Armen Petrosyan was distributed to the faithful at the church courtyard. A festive hospitality was organized by ''Shushanik'' Union of Armenian Women in Georgia.
In accordance with the holy tradition, after his release from prison in Khor Virap (Deep Dungeon), Gregory the Illuminator has a vision, wherein the Only Begotten Son of God – Jesus Christ, descends from Heaven and with the strike of a golden hammer on the pagan Sandaramet underground temple designated the site where the Mother Cathedral of holy temple of faith of Armenian people should be built. The name ''Etchmiadzin'' (Edj means descend in Classical (Old) Armenian - Grabar) came from – the Only Begotten descended. Saint Gregory the Illuminator told his vision to the Armenian King Trdat. The Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin dedicated to the Only Begotten Son of God was built under the auspices of the King. The Holy Altar of Descent was built at the place of Christ's descent. King Trdat and Queen Ashkhen took part in the construction of Etchmiadzin together with the people.
According to the Ritual Dictionary by Archbishop Malachia Ormanian, “Cathedral” means the Mother See and that name was given to Etchmiadzin Mother Temple. However, in other respects, all the churches with domes are called Cathedral, and in theology that name is considered the symbol of the generality of the church. These three meanings are in the line with Mother Cathedral of Etchmiadzin, as it is a See, domed and general for all faithful.