On February 14, the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church celebrated the Feast day of the presentation of the 40 day-old Christ Child to the Temple in Jerusalem.
The festivities began on the evening of February 13 in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
On this occasion, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; accompanied by a procession of priests, presided during an Evening Service.
Following the Evening Service, His Holiness performed the Andastan Service wherein the four corners of the world were blessed by the clergy.
At the conclusion of the service, under the delightful hymn "Christ in Glory", a candle was lit by His Holiness from the Holy Altar of Descent, and the faithful who were present lit candles from the fire and carried them to their homes.
Then, a pontifical procession was led to the courtyard of the Monastic residence where a traditional bonfire was lit, symbolising the Light and Wisdom of Christ.
The Seminarians of the Gevorkian Theological Seminary and members of the Brotherhood recited psalms and sang national songs.
At the conclusion, His Holiness blessed the faithful and conveyed his best wishes.
On the following day, in observance of the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord to the Temple, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Mother Cathedral by Very Rev. Fr. Shahe Ananyan, Director of the Publishing Department and the Ecumenical Relations Department of Mother See.
In his message, Father Shahe reflected on the mystery of the feast, specifically speaking about mans search for spirituality. Speaking on the parable of the presentiation of baby Jesus to the temple, Fr. Shahe noted that in the Gospel of Luke, there are several essential and important characters in the second chapter of the parable: Simeon the old man, Anna the prophetess, and the parents of Jesus, all of which are looking for someone, their favorite person.
“…Dear sisters and brothers, very often at a mature age we are by now looking for God. We often hope that in finding God, we’ll have answers to all our questions. As no man can give a definitive solution to our numerous questions. And because we have numerous wounds in our heart and soul which are still bleeding, which still no any human can heal. Very often we notice an abundance of empty rooms in our heart and soul, which only God can fill. We are searching in all places available to our mind and logic, but very often we find our Lord, Jesus Christ in places we did not expect”, stated Fr. Shahe.
Referring to the tradition of blessing newlyweds, that was established by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians years ago, Fr. Shahe addressed his remarks to the newly married deacons and their spouses attending the Divine Liturgy. He urged them: “For you too, dear young couples the search becomes an important aspect of your life. As you also get married and create a family through this searching. And no matter how surprising it may seem to you, during that search you mature and grow, as you find your loved one, someone with whom you are going to share your whole life. For the rest of your life, which you will pass together, seek God's love, as only God’s love and God's presence in your life will be able to sanctify your love”.
At the conclusion, Fr. Shahe invited the faithful to pray, so that they find all answers in God to their questions and problems.
At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, His Eminence ArchbishopVoskan Galpakyan offered a special service blessing newly married couples in the Mother Cathedral. Following the service, His Holiness received the married deacons and their spouses.
His Holiness conveyed his congratulations to the newlyweds and expressed his wish that God’s love always support their newly formed families, and that they live a healthy and happy life.
His Holiness expressed confidence that the families of the Deacons, based on Christian noble and sacred values, must be strengthened more in love and blossom through a patriotic character.
At the conclusion, His Holiness blessed the couples.