Even though daily activity has ground to a halt, the sacred feasts of the Armenian Church liturgical calendar march onward. This year we cannot celebrate them together; but we can prepare for them privately, and perhaps reflect more deeply about their personal meaning for us.
The celebrations this week are steeped in the gospels; click on the links below to find the readings for each observance.
This Saturday (April 4) is dedicated to the Remembrance of the Raising of Lazarus. It tells one of the most uncanny episodes in the life of Jesus, in which the Lord arrives at the home of his dead friend, and calls him forth from the grave, restored to life. The story, filled with emotion from the bystanders and from Jesus himself, only appears in the Gospel of St. John.
That serves as the prelude to the most dramatic week in the Armenian Church calendar, commemorating the events leading to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, his victory over death, and the redemption of humanity. Our church re-enacts these episodes in the days leading up to Easter, and the “gateway” to it all is Palm Sunday (April 5), which tells the story of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Tuesday (April 7) is the Remembrance of the Ten Virgins, devoted to a parable Christ told late in his ministry. It conveys his stern advice to prepare for the coming of God’s kingdom, “for you know neither the day nor the hour” that it will arrive.
The same day (April 7) is also the date on which the Armenian Church marks the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary—the touching story of Mary’s acceptance of her role as the mother of the world’s savior. Luke’s gospel tells the story of how the humble, pious girl was visited by an angel, who assured her that “With God, nothing is impossible.”
Great and Holy Thursday (April 9) begins the re-enactment of Christ’s Passion, with its remembrance of the Last Supper. Beyond it lie the services depicting the Lord’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Learn more about the Holy Week cycle by clicking here.