Tag Archive for: Armenian Church

The Connection that Binds

Roots of Armodoxy: The Connection that Binds

The landscape of Armenia is riddled with ancient Armenian churches, monasteries and chapels. They are recognized uniquely by the cone shaped domes that point toward heaven.  If you go around the world, this design is the identifying marker of the Armenian Church. Whether in Argentina, Paris, London, Egypt, Australia, on one of the three countries of North America, wherever this dome is standing, with a cross atop its point, you know that an Armenian Church community is to be found. Each Armenian Church throughout the world is connected to all the others through an invisible threat that unites them at their foundation. Christ is at foundation, and the thread that ties them together is the Apostolic Tradition, that is, the Scriptures, the customs, and the methods that facilitate the mission.

Buildings from antiquity, particularly religious buildings, have an element of mystery attached to them and with that mystery comes wonder. We are first intrigued by the size and nature of the structure. We question the how – how were these stones placed on atop the other, without the use of machinery? How is the dome supported atop these arches? Next we are intrigued by the ornaments, and the weathering they have endured during difficulties.  How did the etchings and carvings reach such perfection with primitive tools? How have they survived natural and man-made disasters?

But if you dare to see the connection between all the Armenian Churches throughout the world, you start understanding that each time and age had their challenges that have been overcome through unwavering faith in the Foundation, Jesus Christ. In fact, most of the Armenian Churches in the diaspora were built in the aftermath of the Genocide. People who had every reason to complain, instead came together and validated their faith in Jesus Christ as their only hope for life. If you dare to see this connection, then you can walk into any Armenian Church in the world, even the newest, and find the mysteries that unite us.

Many years ago, while on vacation in the Southwest, my wife and I found ourselves in Albuquerque, New Mexico on a Sunday morning. There was no Armenian Church in town, and we went into the local Roman Catholic Church for mass. We attended and were truly renewed and invigorated after the service. It was one of the most meaningful celebrations of the Divine Liturgy we had ever experienced. And then it hit us! We had gone in to pray and celebrate the Eucharist. That was it. We didn’t know the background stories of the parish, nor did we know members of the parish council. Unlike our experience of running a parish, in this case we were not exposed to the day-to-day workings of the parish.

It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. We might suggest that the opposite is also true, that unfamiliarity promotes admiration. Going into these ancient monasteries in Armenia should be no different that walking into your local church, but it is. The challenge is to find the foundation and the thread that ties them all together. It’s the challenge that will guarantee the harmony that we seek in our lives.

In the capital city of Armenia, Yerevan, the world’s largest Cathedral stands atop a hill next to a statue of St. Vartan the Brave. This Cathedral, named after St. Gregory the Illuminator, is one of the newest construction in Armenia. It was dedicated in 2001, on the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia. The modernism doesn’t detract from the mystery and wonder. A group of us went for Sunday worship, and found the thread that connected us. It’s there and the Foundation was firm.

We pray, Lord Jesus, open the door of your Church to me, and open my heart to understand the essence of the Church in Your presence within those doors. Whether in Armenia on any of the other continents, or even virtually, may I find the wonder and beauty that has been placed there from the beginning of time and proclaimed at your Birth: Peace on Earth and Good will toward one another. Amen.

Texas Armenian Church Wins US Building of the Year 2022

Saint Sarkis Armenian Church, located in the north Dallas suburb of Carrollton, has received the most votes in our poll for US Building of the Year 2022. Designed by David Hotson Architect, the church reaches far back in time and thousands of miles across the globe to link itself with Armenian traditions and people.

Read the story at this link.



Theophany Sermon 2023

Theophany 2023 – Sermon by Fr. Vazken Movsesian
at the St. Gregory Armenian Church, Pasadena, California
6 January 2023
Sermon delivered in Armenian and English
Fast forward to minute 12:45 for English Sermon
Excerpt from Divine Liturgy in its entirety

Baptism Revelation: Theophany

We have arrived at the Theophany. Advent has prepared us to accept the great news: Christ is Born and Revealed. More than a “Christmas Celebration” we now understand that this is the Revelation of God to the world. “God so love the world that he gave his only begotten Son…” (John 3:16) says the Scripture that most have learned by heart. Following Advent and this Advent Journey, I trust that these words resonate deep in your spiritual consciousness.

It is not by accident that we haven’t spoken about the virgin birth, the obedience of Joseph, the visit of the Magi or the shepherds’ vigil until now. Today we move to the Baptism of Jesus, which is recorded by all the evangelists in their gospels. It was after his baptism, that Jesus began his ministry. In a very real sense, his baptism was the “birth” of him ministry; it was immediately after his baptism that Jesus went into seclusion and began the period of his life that we read in the Gospels. Reading the account of St. Matthew (chapter 3) we find, “Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”

At this one moment in history, God is revealed as the Holy Trinity. The Son of God stands next to John the Baptist in the River Jordon, the Holy Spirit of God descends on Jesus in a dovelike manner and the voice of God the Father is heard. The Holy Trinity is revealed at this moment in History. Hence, the name of the Feast is “Theophany” = the Revelation of God: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.  The Armenian word for the feast is Asdvadzahaydnoutiun, which is a literal transition of God is revealed.

In the Armenian Church the Feast of Theophany encompasses all of the events in the life of our Lord Jesus from his Birth to his Baptism. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, water is blessed to symbolize the Baptism of Jesus. Into the water is poured Holy Miuron, that is chrism or “Holy Oil” which is made up of the essence of forty different flowers indigenous to the Arartian plateau in Armenia. It is blessed every seven years by the head of the Armenian Church, who is referred to as the Catholicos, or the chief bishop. During the Blessing of Miuron, some of the previous batch is poured into the new batch. Technically, there are molecules in the miuron from the time of Christ. This is the strength of the Apostolic continuity of the Armenian Church.

Today is a new beginning. It is a new day of celebration. In modern terms, you can think of it as a hard-reset, it is like hitting the reset button on your device and coming back to the original form.

Now that you have arrived at Theophany after an intense period of Advent, I invite you to follow along the daily podcasts, “Armodoxy for Today” where we will explore the intricacies of the Armenian Church and her faith. We’ll learn where do the Christmas narratives of shepherds, wisemen and stars fit into our Faith? What is the mystical and magical quality of Holy Miuron? What is the strength of the Holy Divine Liturgy that is repeated every week? Mostly, Armodoxy for Today will connect the dots between the relationships and aspects of our lives with the beauty of God’s Kingdom and His Love and Kindness for each of us. I look forward to having you join us.

For today, we play the hymn of the synaxis dedicated to the Holy Mother of God. It is meditative and I invite you to be swept away by the melody and this celebration by the Luyse Vocal Quintet.

The Parable of Archbishop Vatché

Next Step #759 – December 22, 2022 – Archbishop Vatché Hovsepian (1930-2022) enters his eternal rest and leaves a legacy from 70+ years of love and devotion for the Armenian Church. Here is an intimate reflection by Fr. Vazken. Listen as he shares unheard stories of humility, strength and devotion. Including The Church under communism and Ordination of Women. Up close and personal views of the archbishop, spiritual father, and member of the “God generation.”
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for https://epostle.net
Subscribe and listen on demand on your favorite pod-catcher!
We’re on StitcherPandoraSpotify and Apple Podcasts

Busting the Soul-Resting Myth

Next Step #743: Busting the myth of “hokehankist” – its meaning and the significance. Why we need the Requiem service? Gorbachev, his time, his celebrity and now. History marked, and mother ignored: the Armenian Church in the diaspora.
Western Diocese new building in Glendale
Epostle dot net https://epostle.net
Sasnashen Shoot-down
Fr. Vazken at Sunday at St. Gregory, Pasadena
David Benoit
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org and Epostle.net
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The Evolving Face

Next Step with Fr. Vazken #689: The evolving face of the Afghani girl from the 1985 National Geographic cover to the women clinging to the last vestiges of hope as Afghanistan turns to Taliban rule and braces for the changes ahead. From obedience to equal partnership: the evolving face of Armenian Church matrimony. Abandoning apologetics for a frank look, time differences and the handmaid’s warning.
The Afghan Girl (NG1985)
Jesus on the Tower of Soloam
Problem of Evil during Genocide by Fr. Vazken
Handmaid’s Tale
WD168 this week
Sarah Skinazi
Global Divas: Voices from Women of the World
Female politicians risking everything in Afghanistan
IRC Help Link
Cover credit: Afghan women fear ‘dark’ future, loss of rights as Taliban make gains – Lana Marketing
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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Changing Lens

Next Step with Fr. Vazken #687: An interview with Ani Shahinian, candidate in History and Theology at the University of Oxford. Hear her articulate the teachings (vadapetutyiun) of the Armenian Church as expressed through a group of doctors of the church. Switching political lens for religious, here is an understanding of identity through Scripture, Culture and Tradition. Shahinian brings energy and knowledge that will inspire the listener to learn more about the amazing Christian Faith of the Armenian Church.
Ani Shahinian
WD168 this week
Komitas: Ten Revelation Artsruni
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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Afterlife Connections

Next Step #683: Extreme Unction, a sacrament of the Armenian Church, is perhaps one of the seven that is most misunderstood. And why have some reduced the list to six? Fr. Vazken starts the discussion on the secular plane, with current political trends and the place of faith in evaluating your belief system, and takes the conversation to end-of-life reflections. Don’t check-in your brain at the door for this one; uncomfortable for some, it’s an important discussion in Armodoxy.
Prayer for “good death”
Houdini exposing fraud – contacting the dead
Transfiguration Sermon (2020)
Transfiguration blog post
Djivan Gasparian passes away
Mama – Djivan Gasparian
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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Next Step #674: Azerbaijanis in the Armenian Church at Shushi under the guise of renovation. Archbishop Barkev of Artsakh, speaking from a place of authority and a mystical place. Some basics of civility. “Demanding” from others? Here’s what the punks asked and what we answer: Plainly, what we have to offer the world. Elevate the conversation.
Azeris in Shushi’s Ghazanchetsots
WD168 this week
International Clergy Conference 1991
Archbishop Barkev blessing (00:45:00) and sermon (01:10:00)
Haig Beylerian, I’m Artsakh
Cover: Church at Shushi at four different points in time
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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