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On Easter, Primate Urges: “Lift Up Your Eyes”

In his first Easter Sunday homily as Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan urged listeners to meet the risen Christ in every activity and place of their daily lives.

“I can’t tell you how filled with joy my heart is right now, having celebrated this feast with all of you, for the first time as Primate,” he said, as he addressed the worshippers crowded into New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, on April 21, 2019.

“Today really is the heart of what it means to truly be an Armenian Christian. Our church fathers refer to Easter as ‘The First Day,’ the ‘Beginning of New Life.’ It’s a reality that has been driving the Armenian people for two thousand years—ever since Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew preached in our homeland,” he said.

“And what they preached was that God lives! That Jesus Christ the Son of God is raised from the dead!”

Citing the Gospel account of the first Easter Sunday, Fr. Findikyan recalled the exciting words of the heavenly messenger, offered to the stunned visitors who had discovered Christ’s empty tomb: “Go tell the disciples and Peter that Jesus is going before you to Galilee. There you will find him, as he told you.”

“These are the first instructions given by heaven to a world where God lives,” the Primate explained.

Meeting the Risen Christ

He went on to say that those words of assurance to Christ’s earliest followers are just as urgent today.

“God’s work is not done. God still has work for us to do in the world”—a world, he added, “that is in desperate need of healing.”

“Today, on this Easter Sunday, the heavenly messenger says to us, ‘Lift up your eyes’ to see Christ…. But it won’t happen automatically. You have to go to meet him.”

“Go,” he said—adding the names of cities Armenian viewers might call home—“go and you will see that Jesus is there, waiting for you already. Go wherever you will, lift up your eyes, and you will see that the risen Son of God is already there, waiting to bring you abundant life.”

You can watch a recording of Fr. Findikyan’s Easter sermon on the Eastern Diocese’s Youtube channel. Click here to watch.

Holy Week Services

The St. Vartan Cathedral Choir sang the Divine Liturgy on Easter Sunday under the direction of Maestro Khoren Mekanejian. Florence Avakian accompanied on the organ.

The Easter Divine Liturgy was broadcast live online. The program is archived and available for viewing on the Diocese’s Youtube channel.

In the week preceding Easter, the dramatic events leading to Christ’s Resurrection were commemorated through a series of Holy Week services at St. Vartan Cathedral.

On Palm Sunday, April 14, the Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, cathedral vicar, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and conducted the Turen-Patzek or “Door-Opening” service.

On Great and Holy Thursday, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the morning. In the evening, the Primate led the “Washing of the Feet” ceremony, re-enacting Christ’s humble service to his 12 disciples during the Last Supper.

The Order of the Crucifixion of Christ and the Order of the Entombment of the Lord (or Taghoom Service) were held on Great and Holy Friday.

On Easter Eve, Saturday, April 20, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director. The “Astghikner” Children’s Vocal Ensemble from Brooklyn’s St. Gregory mission parish (conducted by Maria Sahakyan) sang the Divine Liturgy

Similar celebrations were underway at parishes across the Diocese throughout Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

Click on the links to view photos of Easter Sunday and Holy Week services at St. Vartan Cathedral.

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