The Nativity and Baptism of Jesus Christ will be observed at New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral on Friday and Saturday, January 5 and 6, 2018. A special liturgical schedule will be in effect for these “Armenian Christmas” services.
St. Vartan Cathedral will mark the 50th anniversary of its consecration in 2018, and Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian will officially launch the celebration at on Armenian Christmas. (A major celebration is scheduled for May 5-6, and events are planned throughout the year, with details forthcoming.)
Armenian Christmas Eve (Jan. 5)
On Friday, January 5, there will be an Evening Service at 6:30 p.m., featuring Scripture Readings by students of the St. Vartan Armenian School and St. Gregory Mission Parish of Brooklyn. The Divine Liturgy will immediately follow, beginning at 7:00 p.m., celebrated by the Very Reverend Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, director of Ministries for the Eastern Diocese.
The St. Vartan Cathedral Choir will sing the Divine Liturgy, under the direction of Maestro Khoren Mekanejian. A reception will take place following the services.
Armenian Christmas (Jan. 6)
On Saturday, January 6, His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), will celebrate the Divine Liturgy. The Morning Service begins at 9:30 a.m., and the Divine Liturgy follows at 10:30 a.m.
The sacred music will be sung by the St. Vartan Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Maestro Mekanejian.
In Armenian tradition, this feast day commemorates not only the birth of Christ, but also his baptism by John the Baptist. The latter is remembered through the “Blessing of Water” ceremony, which will follow the Divine Liturgy. Hratch Kaprielian will serve as “godfather” of the Blessing of Water service.
After the cathedral’s January 6 church services, a Home Blessing and Christmas Reception will take place in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium. The Shushi Dance Ensemble’s junior group, under the direction of Seta Paskalian-Kantardjian, will perform during the reception, which is open to all. Admission is free.
Armenian Christmas will also be observed at local parishes across the Eastern Diocese. Many parishes will celebrate on the day itself: Saturday, January 6. However, Diocesan parishes have also been authorized to celebrate on Sunday, January 7, if local circumstances so demand.
Please contact your local parish to ascertain the date and time of its Armenian Christmas celebration.
St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral is located at 630 Second Avenue (corner of 34th Street and Second Avenue), in New York City. Armenian Christmas Eve services begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, January 5. The Armenian Christmas Service on Saturday, January 6 will begin at 9:30 a.m., with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy beginning at 10:30 a.m., followed by the traditional Blessing of Water ceremony.
For information, call the cathedral at (212) 686-0710.