Palm Sunday- Holy Week-Easter 2022 – Ծաղկազարդ-Աւագ Շաբաթ-Զատիկ

Աւագ Շաբաթ եւ Զատկական Կիրակի Easter Eve and Sunday Divine Liturgy

It was a joyful celebration of renewal and life, as faithful of St. Gregory Armenian Church once again gathered for Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter celebrations. The Church was once again vibrant and filled with smiles (masked and unmasked).

The last 2 years, due to restrictions from the pandemic, our numbers in person have been limited. However, Church is a family and we are to come together and be with one another. We hope and pray that slowly more and more of us will come together as we celebrate the joyous news of Christ’s Resurrection.

Palm Sunday began, with the opening of the doors service. Traditionally, this service in parishes has been done at the very end of Badarak, in order for faithful to participate in. However, the proper place is at the very beginning. As we enter into the Church after 40 days of fasting, we gather to commune with our Lord.

Following Badarak, Fr. Andreas blessed the Palms, Palms Crosses, and children, as everyone together processed outside for a blessing of the 4 corners of the world, Antasdan, as is the tradition of the Church.

On Holy Tuesday, our wonderful girls participated the service remembering the 10 Wise and Unwise Maidens. As they held their candles, burning brightly, our children teach us how to remain wise and allow Christ to shine brightly through us and that we must always be prepared living in such a way that reveals Christ to the world. Prior to the service, Fr. Andreas spoke to the girls about what it means to be wise. The girls beautifully answered, that to be wise means to learn and know things. As Christian’s we learn how to love, forgive and care for each other through God. Wisdom teaches us to then share the love, forgiveness and all of God’s blessings with each other.

Holy Thursday, which is the liturgically most heavy day of Holy Week, remember the Last Supper, Christ establishing the Holy Communion, washing of the feet of his disciples and finally the betrayal, passion and sentencing of Christ to be crucified.

On Thursday, faithful gathered in the morning for Badarak. Again in the evening faithful gathered for the washing of the feet service, where we understand that Christ, who is King of Kings, who is God, humbled himself and washed the feet of his beloved disciples, calling us to do likewise.

That is why Der Hayr, removed part of his vestment and washes the feet of faithful, symbolizing that humility that Christ calls us to. Then afterwards, the Church is transformed and the service of Darkness or Khavaroom is conducted, as the lights and candles of the Church are extinguished for Christ is betrayed by Judas, beaten by the Romans and called to be crucified by the rest of the Jews. During this very powerful service, Fr. Andreas spoke about the darkness that is around us and how it may feel unfair that we who believe in God also feel darkness. However, the darkness in this world is temporary, a shadow and the true light of God will overcome it.

On Good Friday, with the decorating of the Tomb of Christ, a vespers service commemorates the crucifixion and burial. We remember of how Christ willingly gave up his life on the cross to free us from sin. However, he did not remain on the cross. When he died, he descended into heaven and broke free all those who suffered in Hell. And finally on Saturday Evening and Sunday morning, together as one family, one community, one body we all declared together KRISDOS HARYAV I MERELOTS, CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD. Blessed the Resurrection of Christ.