“My dear children, while you are in self-isolation, know that you are not alone.”
The words were spoken by His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, as he presided over a very special prayer service in the ancient monastery of St. Gayane. The occasion was March 18, 2020: a “Day of Prayer” for the worldwide Armenian Church, which the Catholicos had announced only days before in an appeal on the measures to be taken by the church to help combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
In his message to the faithful, His Holiness said: “At this moment, all of our people—lay and clergy, young and old, every faithful soul in his own solitary place—we are all offering a prayer to heaven for the recovery of the sick, for the perseverance the isolated, for the protection of our lives, all under the watchful gaze of a merciful God. On this national Day of Prayer, we have no doubt that our tender Lord will hear our plea. Even with our physical bodies separated from one another, the sweet voice of prayer makes us united as one nation: as a people of God.”
He concluded: “Children, keep strong your hope, keep unshaken your faith. Fortify your spirit of prayerful repentance, and your loving care for one another—and God will help us overcome the present hardship. The greatest harm in life comes from indifference and neglect; but no danger is insurmountable when we show care and support for each other.”
(Click on the following link to read more in Armenian.)
Online Video of Healing Prayers
While the sanctuary was empty of worshippers due to the requirements to avoid public gatherings of any kind, the service was broadcast live over the Internet and seen by church members across the world. As clocks struck 7 p.m. in each time zone, local Armenian faithful added their voices to the “Day of Prayer” throughout the 24-hour cycle of March 18.
In the Eastern Diocese, Primate Bishop Daniel authorized a special prayer for the occasion, with texts in English, Western Armenian, and Eastern Armenian, which people could recite from their own homes.
At Holy Etchmiadzin in the days following, clergy from the monastic brotherhood have continued to offer prayers of healing in this time of crisis, as documented in an artfully filmed video. Click here to watch, listen, and pray along.