Around this time of year, our church prescribes a Scripture reading from the Gospel of Luke, concerning a tragedy in a family household. A man named Jairus and his wife had a daughter, and this girl—only 12 years old—lay dying in their home.
Every year, a Saturday in early November brings us to one of the more unusual observances of the Armenian Church calendar: the feast day dedicated to the holy archangels Michael and Gabriel. We’ll greet it again this weekend, on November 9.
At the beginning of November every year, the Armenian Church celebrates All Saints Day. As a church we remember the good and holy people—whether known or unknown—who were spirited heroes filled with Christ’s love, endurance, and faith.
“Poor working girl perseveres through the adversities of life and love—but finally makes it big.”
It sounds like the outline of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale—or, given a more contemporary spin, a Danielle Steel novel. But in fact it’s the life story of one of the saints of the Armenian Church: Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, and discoverer of the Holy Cross of our Lord.
To Armenians in the U.S., “Armenian Cultural Month” has been a feature of community life for as long as they can remember. It arrives each October—with a flurry of lectures, readings, exhibits, sacred celebrations, and events intended to remind Armenians of their rich cultural heritage.