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Armenian Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral on Jan. 6, 2022

St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral

The Nativity and Baptism of Jesus Christ will be observed under strict safety regulations at New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral on Wednesday and Thursday, January 5 and 6, 2022.

Public health considerations in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic remain a major concern, and will limit the usual activities surrounding the celebration, and the public’s access to them. Armenian Christmas services at St. Vartan Cathedral and all local parishes of the Eastern Diocese will be in strict compliance with local regulations regarding public gatherings, which includes mask-earing, social-distancing, and limits on the number of worshippers permitted in the sanctuary.

Armenian Christmas Eve (Jan. 5)

On Wednesday, January 5, there will be an Evening Service at 5:30 p.m. The Divine Liturgy will immediately follow, beginning at 6:30 p.m., celebrated by the Rev. Fr. Davit Karamyan, Vicar of St. Vartan Cathedral.

Armenian Christmas (Jan. 6)

On Thursday, January 6, St. Vartan Cathedral will celebrate the birth of Christ with a Christmas Divine Liturgy. The Morning Service begins at 9 a.m., and the Divine Liturgy follows at 10 a.m. The Rev. Fr. Davit Karamyan, Vicar of St. Vartan Cathedral, will be the celebrant and deliver the homily.

The sacred music will be sung by the St. Vartan Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Maestro Khoren Mekanejian.

In Armenian tradition, this feast day commemorates not only the birth of Christ, but also his baptism by John the Baptist. The latter is remembered through the “Blessing of Water” ceremony, which will follow the Divine Liturgy. This year two brothers, Nicholas and William Nazarian, will jointly serve as godfathers.

(Please note that due to safety concerns there will be no indoor Christmas reception. Instead, there will be a light reception on the plaza, weather permitting.)

Local Celebrations

Armenian Christmas will also be observed at local parishes across the Eastern Diocese. Many parishes will celebrate on Thursday, January 6. However, Diocesan parishes have also been authorized to celebrate on Sunday, January 9, if local circumstances so demand. Please contact your local parish to ascertain the time of its Armenian Christmas celebration.

The cathedral’s Armenian Christmas Divine Liturgy will be broadcast live over the cathedral’s Facebook page and the Eastern Diocese’s YouTube platform. Many local parishes will also broadcast their services.

St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral is located at 630 Second Avenue (corner of 34th Street and Second Avenue), in New York City. Armenian Christmas Eve services begin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5. The Armenian Christmas Service on Thursday, January 6 will begin at 9 a.m., with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy beginning at 10 a.m., followed by the traditional Blessing of Water ceremony.

For information, call the cathedral at (212) 686-0710.

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