The dawn of Christianity Within Armenia

Authored by Babken Catholicos Gulesserian (1868-1936)

Armenians, in their country, have a number of historical traditions relating to the rise of Christianity.
Firstly, take for instance passage 12.20-23 from the gospel of John. According to Armenian tradition, these heathens, who, through apostle Phillip’s mediation, wanted to meet Jesus, were Armenians (or, at the very least, a part of them were).
The legend of King Abgar is also connected to these passages from the gospel of John. And because the Abgars, kings of Osroene, were also considered kings of southern Armenia, it is therefore entirely possible that Armenians had met with Jesus Christ quite early on, even before the apostles’ dissemination. [...]

Religious Feasts (April and May)

Easter or Holy Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
(Sunday, 4th of April, 2021)

The Armenians call it also ; ‘Zatik’. Hratchia Adjarian in his Etymological Dictionary explains the meaning of the name as ‘immolation’, and ‘sacrifice’.
The resurrection of Christ is the essence of the Christian faith. St. Paul says : If Christ has not been raised, your faith is empty; you are still in your sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).

The commemoration day of the Armenian genocide
(Saturday, 24th of April 2021)

The Armenian genocide was the systematic ethnic cleansing of more than 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turkey during World War I. It is the first genocide of the 20th century which will always be remembered as the century of genocides. The divine word proclaims: God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work, Ecclesiastes 3:17.

(Sunday, 23rd of May, 2021)

Pentecost means ‘the 50th day’. The feast is celebrated after 50 days from Easter. The Armenian Apostolic Church prefers to call it ‘Hokekaloust’ which means ‘the coming of the Holy Spirit’. The event has been told by St. Luke in the second chapter of The Acts of the Apostles. Jesus promised saying : I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high, Lk 24:49.

Interview with the Sourp Hagop Sunday School director

Mr. Toros Babikian

Mr. Toros Babikian (left)

In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, what has the Sunday school been doing since the latter half of the past year?

As you know, for 41 years, our Sunday school program has started on the Sunday following the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and has ended on the last Sunday of May, for a total of 33-34 sessions. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this past year. Due to the coronavirus, our last in-person session was on March 8. [...]

Can you talk about the importance of religious education?

[...] The existence of the spirit is a different and more complex subject. In order to develop it, we first need to accept it, just as we develop our body through physical exercise and our minds through schooling. The growth of the spirit is tied to religious education; in our case, Christian education. [...]

What would you like to tell the new generation of parents?

As parents, we need to consider spiritual education as similarly important as physical and mental education. When our children are baptized, the godfather asks thrice that the child wants “Faith, hope, love, and baptism.” To fulfill this, the parent should bring their child to Church every Sunday, and enroll them in Sunday school, so that they can learn and begin to understand the Bible.։ [...]

Survey on Spiritual Life

With the goal of gathering information about the spiritual lives of the Armenian youth, our group organized a closed survey of 100 young Armenians.

Do you pray? According to the survey results, 53% of respondents pray, while 43% do not, and an additional 4 respondents declined to answer.
How often do you pray? Of the aforementioned 53%, 51% said they pray every day, while 28% said they pray whenever they feel the need to; the rest said they pray either a few times a week or once a month.

Note, that this survey’s goal is neither to accuse nor to criticize. These are only meant to inform.


Easter Hymn

Today the immortal and heavenly bridegroom is risen from the dead, a joyous good news, o Church, the bride chosen from the earth. O Sion, bless your God joyfully.
Today the ineffable Light which is from the Light enlightened your children, o Jerusalem, become illuminated, for Christ your light is risen. O Sion, bless your God joyfully.
Today the Trinitarian Light dispelled the darkness of ignorance and Christ who is risen from the dead spread on you the light of knowledge. O Sion, bless your God joyfully.

The Hymn of Pentecost

The Dove, the Holy Spirit sent by God the Father, descending from heaven like a bellow of a gale and like a lightning, empowered the disciples, who were sitting at the holy Upper room, with the divine fire which did not burn up them.
The Dove is immaterial and inscrutable. He knows all the mysteries of God, and receiving from the Father the mystery of the majestic Second Coming of Christ tells us about it. (The apostles preached the consubstantiality of the Holy Trinity).
Blessing to the highest Heaven, to the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father. The apostles experienced the ecstasy by drinking from the life-giving Cup, and invited the earth to heaven.