Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral

On Friday, January 6, worshipers gathered at New York’s St. Vartan Cathedral for the observance of the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered a sermon that touched on the economic and security concerns people face in today’s society.

He said that despite the many worldly troubles that exist today, “God understands all these concerns—and still He has called us, to perform His will in the world.”

“Above all, God sent us His only Son, and gave us the gift of salvation, so we could serve Him without fear. In spite of our worries, He asks us to draw near to Christ—as the shepherds did so long ago—and to discover the faith that conquers all fear.”

The Very Rev. Fr. Mamigon Kiledjian, Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Very Rev. Fr. Anania Tsaturyan, Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Rev. Fr. Bedros Kadehjian, and Rev. Fr. Gomidas Zohrabian also participated in the service.

Artyom Sahakyan of Brooklyn served as godfather for the churorhnek, or Blessing of Water, ceremony, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus by the hand of John the Baptist.

For the second consecutive year, the Diocese broadcast the Armenian Christmas liturgy over the Internet via Livestream. The live broadcast with a running narration was watched by some 2,000 viewers, with hundreds more tuning to in the recorded program in the days that followed.

The sacred music of the Divine Liturgy was rendered beautifully throughout the service by the St. Vartan Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Maestro Khoren Mekanejian. Accompanying on the organ was Florence Avakian.

A traditional home blessing and Christmas reception were held in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium following services on January 6. The Astxikner Junior Vocal Ensemble of St. Gregory mission parish of Brooklyn performed.

A special photo exhibition was on view at the Diocesan Center during the celebration of Armenian Christmas. It showcased candid portraits of Armenian dignitaries and celebrities in the homeland and the diaspora over the past 60 years, as captured by photographer Robert Karapetian.

An Armenian Christmas Eve service was held on the evening of January 5. The celebrant was Fr. Mamigon Kiledjian, dean of St. Vartan Cathedral.

Parishes across the Eastern Diocese also held Christmas services on January 5 and January 6, with some performing the Blessing of Water service on Sunday, January 8.

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