Ararat Surprise

The Roots of Armodoxy: Ararat

In stark contrast to the wonderful and joyous hospitality you’ll be extended as a tourist in Armenia, is your first encounter with its people, at the small passport control booth as you exit the plane and enter the country. This passport official in that small booth is not interested in chit-chat or idle conversation. Just the facts. A quick look up-and-down, and a few back-and-forths at the documents, and then relief! They have stamped your passport and so you enter into this amazing land of enchantment, dreams and surprises. And the first surprise is in the document that you hold, in your newly stamped passport!

You look at the stamp, that identifies the date of your entry and directly at the top of the stamp is a drawing of a mountain with two peaks, one small and one large. For me, and I assume for many Armenians who have grown up with the double peaks, its recognized as the symbol of the Biblical Mount Ararat. In fact, its so recognizable to Armenians that the element of surprise might escape you.

Mount Ararat is identified in the Bible, Genesis 8:4, as the resting place of Noah’s Ark following the great flood. Whereas Genesis 2:10 locates the Garden of Eden in Armenia, we discover that the second change for the cradle of civilization is once again in Armenia at Mount Ararat.

Armenians are described as the people who inhabit the land at the base of Mount Ararat. Politics being what they are, has the mountain within the borders of Turkey today, but it is the Armenian mountain, so much so, that on this legal document, on this internationally recognized and accepted passport, the symbol of the country is Mount Ararat. Surprised? The root of both the mountain and the people is the same, the “Ar,” just as it is for everything that is essential, such as the sun, “arev.”

Poet Yeghishe Charents proclaims, travel around the world and there is no peek such as Ararat. I’ve been to both sides of Mount Ararat. When seen from the other side, the majesty of the peaks is just not there. Viewed from Yerevan, Armenia, Mount Ararat is overwhelming and grand, like a mother forever present in the life of her children, witnessing the struggles, the pains, the joys and triumphs they experience.

Ararat sets the tone for the journey through this sacred and inspiring land. Here is a small area, occupied by a people who sit at the crossroads of three continents, who have been trampled and bullied by invaders and barbarians. And yet, with no military strategy that weighs on the world theater, this group of people continue to live and prosper, based on a Biblical game-plan, not of floods and disasters, but of resurrection. Armodoxy, brings that game-plan to our lives today. We begin with a visit to this holy land.

For today, we conclude with Psalm 36, “Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgements are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

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