Holy Thursday, April 2, was observed with special reverence in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The “Karg Apashkharoghats” (Service for those who are fasting) was offered in the morning in the Mother Cathedral. Following Morning Services, a solemn Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Mother Cathedral by Rev. Fr. Hovhannes Kesablyan, Assistant of the Grand Sacristan of the Mother See, in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Last Supper and the establishment of the sacrament of Holy Communion. During the sacred Liturgy the sermon of Patriarch St. Basil of Caesarea was read.
In the afternoon, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians offered the Washing of the Feet service.
Following readings from the Holy Bible and the recitation of “About Love” by Archimandrite Hovhannes Pluz, His Holiness blessed the water and oil on the Altar with the Holy Cross and Gospel. Following the example of Jesus Christ, the Catholicos of All Armenians knelt on the bema before the Holy Altar as a sign of humility, washing and anointing the feet of twelve individuals under the singing of the hymns. Among the twelve chosen men were Bishops, Archimandrites, celibate priests, deacons, students from the Gevorkian Theological Seminary, students from the Faculty of Theology of Yerevan State University, students from the Eurnekian Public High school, and soldiers.
At the conclusion of the service, blessed oil was distributed to the faithful. As tradition dictates, the faithful take the blessed oil home, and mix it with the oil used for the preparation of family meals.