This Sunday will be observed as Father’s Day across the United States: a chance to reflect, with gratitude, on the deeper meaning of fatherhood. While the surrounding popular culture may sometimes fail to treat fatherhood with due seriousness, the Armenian Church accords great reverence and respect to fathers.
The greatest tribute we pay to fatherhood lies in the way we apply the word “Father” to God. Our ability to call upon Him as our Father is a privilege and blessing—beautifully conveyed in a prayer from our Divine Liturgy:
“God of truth and Father of mercy, we are grateful that you have exalted us above even the [Old Testament] patriarchs. For you were called “God” to them; but you are pleased to be named “Father” to us.”
The priest recites this prayer right before the congregation sings the Hayr Mer—reminding us that it was Jesus, God’s only-begotten Son, who taught us to call God “Our Father.” And when we understand God in terms of His Fatherhood, we also understand godliness to be the duty to which all fathers are called.
This Sunday, thank the fathers who strive to provide such an example in your own life, and remember those who have departed this world in your prayers.
By Christopher H. Zakian
Above: “Fatherhood” (1907) by Russian artist Victor Vasnetsov.