International Orthodox Christian News

Vardanants Celebrated in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

On 19 February, the Feast of St. Vartan the Commander and His 1036 Companions was celebrated in the headquarters of the Armenian Church – the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. His Grace Bishop Sahak Mashalian, Dean of the Gevorkian Theological Seminary celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Mother Cathedral of all Armenians.

In his sermon, Bishop Sahak reflected on the importance of the Battle of Avarayr and its lasting effects on the Armenian nation and Church, as well as our perception of Christianity. "We are grateful to the heroes of Vardanants and the thousands of martyrs, for without their courage we would not live today and the Armenian name would not exist in this world".

The Feast day of Saints Vardanants is also celebrated as the Naming Day of His Holiness Karekin II, since one of the general’s in Commander Vartan Mamikonian’s army was Karekin Srvandziants.

Bishop Sahak congratulated His Holiness on this occasion, and on behalf of the clergy and faithful, His Grace wished His Holiness a long and healthy life to shepherd the Armenian nation on their path to God. His Grace stressed his joy at witnessing the rebirth of the Armenian Church and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin which took place with the enthronement of Karekin II nearly ten years ago.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy, a special Vardanants program was held in the Komitas Concert Hall of the Gevorkian Theological Seminary. The program opened with the Lord’s Prayer, followed by the singing of the national and seminary anthems. Dean of Students Rev. Fr. Davit Karamian, delivered his opening remarks welcoming all guests. Mr. Avetis Harutunian, Armenian History lecturer at the seminary, presented his paper on the mystery of the day and the invincible spirit that Vartan and his fellow martyrs transmitted to future generations, even now more than 1550 years after the battle. The Seminary choir performed several hymns, national songs and poems dedicated to the feast of St Vardanants.

At the conclusion of the program, His Holiness delivered his pontifical message, in which he reflected on the sacredness of the day and the victory of the Armenian people witnessed not only at Avarayr, but also at Sartarapat and Karabagh.

The Armenian Pontiff encouraged all to face life’s temptations and dangers with the same resilient spirit of as the Battle of Avarayr and the bravery of St. Vartan. His Holiness noted that the temptations and dangers which we face are a threat to our national identity, Christian character and moral values. He noted the important mission of the clergy in the protection of our nation and our faith, and directed them to meet the challenges head on and to not allow the blight of indifference to blemish the soul of our nation.


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