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Christmas (Սուրբ Ծնունդ Soorp Dznoont)

In the Armenian Church, the birth and baptism of Our Lord are celebrated on the same day – January 6. According to St. Clement of Alexandria (late 2nd century) Christ's birth (Epiphany) was celebrated in Egypt on January 6. January 6th is also the day when the city of Bethlehem observed Theophany, which is a Greek word meaning Revelation of God. In the Roman Empire, December 25th was a day associated with a pagan feast, and thus in the 3rd century, the Church in the West moved Christmas to December 25th. This did not affect the Armenian Church, which continued the traditional January 6th celebration.

The night before, on January 5th, a Ճրագալոյց Jurakalooytz (lamp-lighting), or Candlemas, service is conducted. On the 6th, the church blesses water to commemorate Jesus' baptism. The service of Ջրօրհնէք Chrorhnek is conducted after the Divine Liturgy, recalling the baptism of Christ and the sanctification and purification of water, source of life. After the service, the blessed water is distributed to the faithful. In the early years, Chrorhnek was held at the banks of rivers and streams, but for practical reasons, it was moved to the church sanctuary.

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