Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – 6/12/17
On December 2, the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrated the Feast of the Apostles St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew. The Feast of the founding Apostles of the Armenian Church was solemnly celebrated in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
In 2015, according to the Pontifical Encyclical issued by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; the feast day was proclaimed as the Pilgrimage Day of the Holy Lance (Geghard).
His Holiness Karekin II; presided over a Divine Liturgy that was offered in the Mother Cathedral on the Feast of the first Illuminators of the Armenian Church. The celebrant was Rev. Fr. Asoghik Karapetyan, Director of Museums and Archives of the Mother See.
The Divine Liturgy was attended by Diocesan Primates of the Armenian Church; Bishops of the Mother See, Brotherhood members of the Mother See; spiritual servants and pilgrims from different Armenian dioceses.
During the Divine Liturgy the Holy Lance (Geghard) was taken to the Mother Cathedral, so that the faithful had the opportunity to kiss it and receive blessings from the miraculous Holy Lance.
On the occasion of the great and cherished feast, Father Asoghik said in his sermon: “Dear faithful, today is a great feast for our Church. I can’t say that today is the birth and resurrection of the Church as these two feasts are the greatest for the Christian Church and are the basis of the Christian faith. For our Church, the feast of our apostles marks the start of our faith, our spiritual life, our Christian course and everlasting life.
… Our Church has named its founders as the first illuminators and has given them the name “illuminators”. … Since its foundation the Church seeks the light and to shed the light in her life and around her. Light in national relations and light in church relations. And so the Church and the people would call the Apostles who had brought her the Gospel, the Illuminators, who came to light our souls, our minds and hearts, to ennoble our personalities and abilities that we have, to create more abundantly and develop, and to grow and multiply in the glory of God.
Our Apostles are the Illuminators, and Illuminators are their followers- St. Gregory, St. Trdat, the Illuminators are St. Mesrop, St. Sahak and their subsequent glorious individuals of our Church. For centuries our Church has nourished its own people through this light and it is with that light that our native people have created their own life and country, despite the numerous trials and attacks, the many losses that history has brought us – the Armenians.
…The Lord’s promise through the words of St. Thaddeus the Apostle, through the preaching and martyrdom of His apostles, and through the adoption of His kingdom; makes the Armenian nation its own people, and with his Divine hope preserves it until the end of the world. This promise must become an endless source of power for us, to keep our enlightened life not in dark, to keep unbreakable and make it a source of divine love for all mankind”.
Fr. Asoghik also spoke about the miraculous power of the Holy Lance, presenting the various miracles of the Holy Lance (Geghard) throughout history, which have been carried out both in Armenia and Georgia.
At the conclusion, on the occasion of the feast, Fr. Asoghik, on behalf of the Brotherhood and staff of the Mother See and the faithful, congratulated His Holiness, wishing that God strengthens him in his apostolic calling, so that the Divine graces derived from His Holiness be shed on the clergy and through him to all our people and the world. Fr. Asoghik also congratulated the sacred bishops and clergy of the church, as spiritual servants to distribute the Divine blessing to the people of Armenia and Diaspora. Addressing his remarks to the pilgrims in attendance, the Celebrant said: “Also, I congratulate you, dear faithful that you through the prophecy and mission of the 12 apostles of Christ, were spiritually born and become God’s children, and for centuries you have enjoyed God’s blessing. And we believe in the promise of Christ, you will continue to enjoy it until God has come to judge the world for the second time”.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the Catholicos of All Armenians blessed the faithful with the “Protector” prayer, conveying his message and best wishes to the pious people.
The Holy Lance ‘Geghard’ was kept in the Mother Cathedral until the end of Evening Services.