Tag Archive for: Light

Gregory, Catalyst

Armodoxy for Today: The Road to the Center of Light – a five-part mini-series of daily messages dedicated to this special week in the life of the Armenian Church. Five days, five inspirations, five sparks that connect to shine the Christ Light.

Day 3: Gregory: Gayané kindled Hripsimé’s spark, but still, a catalyst was necessary to get the Revolution burning. Gregory was that catalyst, bringing the message of Christianity to the pagan world. He was the son of a Parthenian nobleman, and while his biographical details are laced with tragedy, including assassination, rejection and executions, for our purposes, we remember that Gregory, brought up in a Christian family, arrives in Armenia toward the end of the 3rd century, preaching the Gospel. He entered the King’s service and accomplished his tasks conscientiously. However, when asked to make offerings to the pagan gods, he refused, professing his faith in the one God revealed through Jesus Christ.

The King, Dirtad, did not tolerate his insubordination, and viewed Christianity (represented by Gregory) as a threat to the stability of his kingdom. He sentenced Gregory to death in a deep pit at the base of Mt. Ararat along the path of the Arax river. In Armenian this place is call խոր վիրապ (khor-virab), which is a literal translation of the words “deep pit.”

Gregory stood his ground. He did not resist evil, as he was instructed by Christ. He knew that the ways of the world could be sweet, but temporary. He did not give up His commitment to the Truth of Jesus Christ.

In the world we are always given options between the light and dark. While khor-virab is a place, and still attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year, khor-virab is also a metaphor in Armodoxy. It is the deep abyss and its darkness that blinds us to beauty and God’s wonders. In that darkness we follow the illusion of worldly wealth and remain ignorant to the love and compassion of family and friends. Physical death is what Gregory faced. We face spiritual death every day, and deliverance from that pit is available as it was for Gregory.

Gregory stayed firm in his commitment to Christ. He entered the pit as a death sentence only to walk out of it 13 years later, when the King Dirtad, suffering from a grave illness required healing. Gregory was kept alive with his prayers, his pious spiritual practices and the offering of the king’s sister, Khosrovitoukhd, who would bring scraps of food to the dungeon-pit sustain him.

Upon the king’s healing and recovery, Dirtad declared Christianity as the state religion. The year was 301, thus Armenia became the first Christian nation on earth. St. Gregory is revered as the patron saint of the Armenian Church. He is known as the Second Illuminator of Armenia, for bringing the Light into the darkness. The title of First Illuminator belongs to the Holy Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew who brought the Light of Christ to Armenia in the fifth decade of the first century.

Saturday is the feast of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s deliverance from the pit. Let us pray, Christ our God, you crown your saints with triumph and do the will of all who love you, looking after your creatures with love and kindness. Hear us from your holy and heavenly realm by the intercession of the Holy Mother of God and by the prayers of all your saints, especially the great patriarch of the Armenian people, St. Gregory the Illuminator. Hear us Lord and show us your mercy. Forgive, redeem and pardon our sins. Make us worthy thankfully to glorify you with the Father and with the Holy Spirit. Now and always and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Easter Eve – ‘Before the Dawn’

Holy Week Day #8 – Easter Eve – It’s always darkest before the dawn, but the Light cannot be contained. It’s radiating from the Tomb of Christ, as we anticipate the Good News of Resurrection; Matthew 28;
Music: Selections from “Ornyal eh Asdvadz” by Students at the Vazkenian Seminary at Lake Sevan; Cover: Easter Morning at the Hollywood Bowl, 2003.
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for ePostle.net

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Armodoxy for Today: Light

Over the last 50 years or so, people who have succumbed to heart failure have been brought back to life thanks to developments in medicine and better methods of resuscitation. It is interesting to note the experiences of the victim/survivors, upon being revived. Many describe being in the presence of a calming and warm light. Yes, light is being described not by kilowatts or power, but by temperature, by warmth, they say.

I have had the pleasure of knowing a couple of these survivors and I found that there is no denying the reality they experienced on the “other side” of life. They understand people’s skepticism over their experience, but they won’t renege on their story: they were dead, they felt a warm light and then they returned from death. Some will also add that they had an out-of-body experience, where they witnessed themselves being resuscitated from a birds-eye view. In the end, they returned to tell of their experiences.

Within the Judeo-Christian tradition, the first creation story written in Genesis begins with God creating light (1.2) on the first day. It is interesting because the qualifier of what we consider “light,” that is, the sun, doesn’t appear in this account until the fourth day! (1:14-19)

Light is the first thing that is created. And whether you take the story of creation metaphorically, mythically or literally, you have to admit that the placement of the creation of light as the first act of the story (before the Sun) points to a light that is quite different than what we understand when we open the window or turn on the switch. It is a light that can be measure in intensity and warmth.

This week we have been looking at the Biblical passage John 3:13-21, which was the Sunday lectionary reading. We come to understand that Jesus Christ was there in the beginning, before time and matter. He is Divine. Reading on, we find in the passage that we connect true love with the sacrifice of the Cross.

Today we focus on the concluding words of the passage: … the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

Therefore, in a passage which begins by placing Jesus at the beginning of time, it concludes with an explanation of Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

The Armenian Church prescribes this passage on the third Sunday following Theophany for a reason. When God is revealed – whether as presented by Matthew & Luke with manger, kings, shepherds, the inn and all the nativity props, or by John’s placement of Jesus at the beginning of time – the Light is present. It is light defined by something greater than photons and powered by wattage. It is the Light eternal. It beckons us to walk, pray, meditate and grow in the Eternal Presence of God.

Let us pray, Nersess Shnorhali’s prayer of the 21st hour, O Christ, True Light, make my soul worthy to behold with you the light of Your glory, in that day when You call me and to rest in the hope of good things in the mansions of the just until the day of Your glorious coming.” Amen.

The Primer

Armodoxy for Today: The Primer

There is one word for love “սէր” (pronounced sehr) in Armenian and in this one word, the erotic (eros), brotherly (philia), and unconditional (agape) elements of love all come together, remarkably, but not surprisingly.

In science and specifically in the field of physics attempts have been made to describe all the fundamental forces and the relationships between elementary particles in a single theoretical framework. A unified field theory has been the quest of many great physicists. During my youth I was fascinated by the notion that everything might be explained in a unified field theory. I carried my interest and curiosity for an answer with me into seminary. If there exists one explanation, if there is a unified field theory, I thought, why must it be limited to the physical world? A true unified field theory would also pertain to the emotional, psychological, and spiritual world and therefore be explained as a part of religion. From a religious vantage point, particularly a Christian one, the unified field theory would also account for God. The problem there, of course, is that God has to be greater than the words that can contain or describe Him. And so, I thought, is it possible that God is the Unified Field Theory? But, who in the scientific community would entertain such an assertion?

Throughout the years as I contemplated this puzzle, I was fascinated by the work of physicists who pondered the question and came up with theories. I would dive, even if shallow, into experiments with particle accelerators and the latest with Higgs boson or Higgs particle, especially when the term “The God Particle” was assigned to the work.

Something was missing. There was a missing piece to everything I was absorbing. I needed a primer – a piece of the puzzle that would give meaning to everything else. And then it happened! One Sunday morning as we were singing the Hymn “Aravod Louso” a verse that I had sang a thousand times before jumped out at me. St. Nersess Shnorhali writes, in the 36 verse hymn, in the 29th verse, the words, “The name of love is Jesus.”  It clicked! From that moment on, I saw something very clearly, that relied on the truth of pure logic, that is, if A = B and B = C, then A = C. If God = Love and if Love = Jesus, then God = Jesus. In other words, the primer opened the world of understanding by expressions of equality. God, Jesus and Love could be used interchangeably.

I went ahead and tested this discovery. Jesus makes a statement, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” This has caused isolation and rejection of Christianity by people who only had a superficial understanding of the terms. Testing began. I interchanged the word “Love” for Jesus. Can we now agree – everyone agree – that Love is the way. Love is the truth. Love is the life? It works! It was remarkable but not surprising. Jesus Christ, is the fulfillment of the law and the profits, the Alpha and the Omega. The Way is a person, the Truth is a person and Life is a person. They are Jesus Christ. The primer works! It connects the story of Jesus Christ to all of eternity, to the beginning and end of time. Armodoxy makes this bold proclamation, and everything we teach is based on this solid foundation, that there is only one element from the beginning of the universe to the end, and that is love. It is the strongest element in this universe. It is the beginning and the end.

Let us pray, O Lord Jesus Christ, you are the way, the truth and the life. Help me to walk in your path of love. Guild me to proclaim boldly the name of Jesus Christ and inso doing, may I carry this message to the hurting world. Amen.

Hitting the Mark but Missing the Point

Next Step #632: At Vartavar the story of the Transfiguration is washed up. Put into perspective, there is an opportunity for Peace for the world, but we miss the point and therefore we lose that opportunity. Fr. Vazken takes you on this journey with some challenges along the way. Light: the beginning of the Universe, revealed today.
Tigran Hamasyan – The Call Within
Vardavar (2013)
The Transfiguration narrative
Catholicos Karekin II: Peace and Harmony
Kindergarten – Diocese of Tavush
Armenia/Azeri Fighting today
This week’s WD-168
The Transfiguration – Armenian Christianity Today
Cover: Cut pencil; Pikrepo
Technical Director: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand! 

C^2 at the Transfiguration

Next Step #582: From E=mc^2 to the Divine Liturgy – the Peace of Christ being beyond understanding and words, is matched up against the constant speed of light in a manner only Fr. Vazken can. Here’s a connection of dots – a religious unified field theory – that brings it together; the scriptures of Transfiguration and astrophysics, lending to the discussion of mass/energy equivalence and why did you become a priest, Fr. V? More so, the gross and vulgar expressions of Vartavar in the light of the Light: grab a ticket to Magic Mountain. Laugh tracks and canned laughter – being told what’s funny, what’s not and what’s acceptable (a loaded word but only if from the church!)
“About the Light” Gor Mkhitarian from the Spirit Album
Unified Field Theory
Mass Energy Equivolence
Sasnashen Youth Center
Transfiguration Narrative
NPR on Laugh Tracks (Study Confirms)
Neil Degrasse Tyson Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Stephen Colbert
Technical Director: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!


Next Step #566: First pictures of a Black Hole – a place where not even light escapes – is contrasted with Xavarum, the service of darkness – a place where Light might not have escaped but did. Fr. Vazken takes you on this pre-Holy Week Meditation with looks at fantasy becoming reality as we dream and use the creative energy in each of us. All laws of physics fall apart inside the Black Hole – sound familiar? “Reclaim Gomidas” now complete – reflections on the Conference. Translating beyond language.
Vahan Artsruni “Ten Revelations of Komitas
Gakavik by Gor Mkhitarian (Yeraz)
PBS – Black Hole and Space
What first pictures of Black Hole reveal
Anduni (Homeless) by Komitas
AC202 – Gomidas
Holy Week Explanation (English)
Holy Week Explained (Armenian)
Bowels of the Earth
Technical Director: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!

Usurped again: Light & Water

Next Step #477: Definitions for Transfiguration and Vartavar provide the groundwork for a pre-creative experience in faith. Light and water are the elements of these feasts, coming together. Elijah & Moses for sure, but how about Enoch? Only in the Eternal Jerusalem. Other – “Focused Vision” 15 years later. Borrowing from Marketting 101 – Finding the “sale” 24/7, because “Everything must go!”
“Vardavar in the Mountains” by the Tigran Hamasyan
Armenian Genocide & The Problem of Evil by Fr. Vazken Movsesian
Transfiguration in the Bible: Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:2–3, Luke 9:28–36
Cover: Man, Beach, Landscape, Light – Licensed under CC BY 2.0
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!

The Better Candle

Next Step #274: Lighting a candle is much better than cursing the darkness. Fr. Vazken looks at two darknesses – cancer (breast) and war (Syria) in this light. He follows the light from Jesus to us, and our responsibility to be beacons of peace and love. Rev. Martin Luther King’s stand on Vietnam is used as inspiration for today.
Song: Peaceful World by Lara Derbedrosian
Compass – Anti War (#39)
Team In Her Shoes
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Now on Stitcher Radio! 

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Solstice Celebration: Light, Love and Life

Next Step #80 – December 17, 2009

Winter Solstice Edition – Celebrating Love, Light and Life – The Birth of the Son and the Birth of the Sun are looked at through the lens of Armenian Orthodoxy. Children’s memorial: never letting these precious lives be forgotten, in real and concrete expressions. Shall we stop dreaming and imagining PEACE, now that Obama has given an excuse for violence? A look at Christmas shopping: WWJWFHB? And how an 8 year old changed his Christmas from getting to giving (to the homeless). This is a podcast in a series of Advent messages with a very fresh and unique flavor.
Linked info at:
Forgiveness: www.7×77.org;
Nataline Sarkisyan: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/;
Vahagn Setian: http://vahagnfoundation.org/;
Compassionate Friends: www.compassionatefriends.org;
In His Shoes: www.InHisShoes.org
Ani’s Bubble – A Child Explains God
Song: Gor Mkhitarian’s “About Light”
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for www.epostle.net
Sponsored by www.Pomegranateandeye.etsy.com

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