Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan will preside over the Feast of Sts. Vartanantz at New York’s St. Vartan Cathedral on Thursday, February 11, 2021.
The cathedral will be open to worshippers, with services going forward in strict compliance with local regulations regarding public gatherings, which includes mask-wearing, social-distancing, and limits on the number of worshippers permitted in the sanctuary. (Click here to read the guidelines for the public.)
The service and program that follows will be broadcast live over the St. Vartan Cathedral Facebook page.
On Thursday, February 11, the Sts. Vartanantz Day Divine Liturgy will begin at 6 p.m., celebrated by Fr. Mamigon Kiledjian.
A short program will follow in the sanctuary, featuring guest speaker Kathryn Ashbahian and a musical performance by Hasmik Meikhanejian and Christopher Nazarian. Due to the city’s pandemic restrictions, there will be no reception.
The cathedral is located at 630 Second Avenue (corner of 34th Street), New York City. For additional information, call the Diocesan Center at (212) 686-0710.
Outnumbered, Defeated—But Not Forgotten
Every year on the Thursday preceding Great Lent, Armenians throughout the world commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Avarayr (A.D. 451). The armed forces of Armenia confronted the Persian Empire, which aimed to convert the world’s first Christian nation to Zoroastrianism. Armenia’s soldiers fighting under the leadership of St. Vartan Mamigonian are known as the Vartanank, and their day of remembrance is Vartanantz.
On the field of Avarayr, outnumbered Armenian fighters faced a mighty Persian army. St. Vartan and his companions saw a military defeat; but their unyielding commitment to defend their faith ultimately thwarted the Persians, and ensured that Christianity would endure in Armenia.
Ghevontiantz Day on February 9
Two days prior to the Feast of Sts. Vartanantz, the Armenian Church remembers the sacrifice of St. Leontius (Ghevont) the priest and his companions. St. Ghevont is one of the great exemplars of the Armenian priesthood, remembered for his rare courage and resolution at the Battle of Avarayr.
On the eve of battle, Ghevont celebrated the Divine Liturgy, conferred the sacrament of Holy Communion on the soldiers, and baptized those who had not yet been received into the church. His stirring sermon assured the soldiers that their mystical union with Christ would survive even physical violence and death.
Click here to learn more about St. Ghevont and his companions.
In observance of Ghevontiantz Day, the clergy of the Eastern Diocese usually hold regional gatherings. This year, a service held at the St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, will be broadcast on the parish’s YouTube page, on Tuesday, February 9, at 11 a.m.
Above: Artwork by Vardan Gasparyan.