O Come All Ye Faithful

On 6 January, sanctuaries of the Armenian Apostolic Church worldwide will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the commemoration of the Birth and Baptism of Jesus.

We encourage our community faithful to be a part of the joyous celebrations as we raise up our voices in praise of our Lord’s birth.

Click here for the schedule of church services over the coming days.

Feast of St Stephen the Protomartyr

The Armenian ecclesiastical calendar marks December 25th as the feast day of St Stephen.

St Stephen was an early Christian convert, one of the original seven deacons ordained by the Apostles. Due to his passion for spreading the word of Christ, he directed his attention towards synagogues, preaching often. His preaching was confirmed by many miracles.

He became the first martyr of the Orthodox Church after being stoned for upholding the Christian cause. Further historical details about St Stephen’s life are recorded in Chapters 6 and 7 of the Acts of the Apostles.

As such, this feast in the Armenian Church is appropriately dedicated to all current deacons. They serve the altar on that day adorned with their finest orarion (stole – Ourar) and are also granted the privilege to wear a crown (Saghavard).

The Advent Gospels

Advent (Hisnag), 50 days counted back from Christmas celebrated on January 6, is a time to prepare ourselves for the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ. Similarly to the 40 day Lenten period in preparation for Easter, a unique set of Gospels are read on the six Sundays in the Armenian Church.

These are essential readings to reflect on our Christian walk to remind us how God wants us to share the goodness of His provision in our lives.

All the Gospels come from the Book of St Luke and the message from each talks about our response to Christ, specifically how we respond to those in need identified by Christ – the poor, the meek, the needy. We are also reminded of the foolishness of attaching too much importance to wealth, how faith must bear fruit and warned about excuses, idleness and pride.

THE SUNDAYS OF ADVENT
1st Sunday:   Luke 12:13-31 – The Parable of the Rich Fool
2nd Sunday: Luke 13:1-9 – Jesus Calls People to Repent or Perish
3rd Sunday:  Luke 14:12-24 – The Parable of the Great Feast
4th Sunday:  Luke 17:1-10 – Jesus Tells About Forgiveness and Faith
5th Sunday:  Luke 18:9-14 – The Parable of the Two Men Who Prayed
6th Sunday:  Luke 19:12-28 – The Parable of the King’s Ten Servants

Feast of All Saints – Known & Unknown

By this feast the Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates the memory of all those saints, whose names are not included in the Church Calendar but whose names are registered in the sacred book of the Heavenly Kingdom.

Many people have been subjected to severe torments and martyred during the wars for the sake of faith. As their names are not known, this feast was established in the Armenian Church Calendar to commemorate their memory as persons who have shed their blood for the sake of Christ and His Church.

The Season of Advent (Hisnag)

The Season of Advent refers to the coming of Christ and in the Armenian language it is termed ‘Hisnag’ derived from word for fifty.
Hisnag refers to the fifty-day period of preparation in celebration of the Nativity and Theophany of Jesus Christ.
What type of preparation does this involve?
During Advent, we can rededicate ourselves to Christ through our actions, thoughts, and prayers. This is a good time for us to improve our habits and offer them as gifts to God. Perhaps Advent can also be an occasion to discover God’s gifts all around us. We need to have an open heart to receive Christ—God’s greatest gift of all!

In the Armenian Church the season is introduced by a week of fasting, called “the Fast of the Beginning of Hisnag”. During this period the Armenian Church also celebrates a number of feasts including the Presentation of the Holy Virgin to the Temple, the Conception of the Holy Virgin by St Anna, founders of Christian theology and early bishops of the church, apostles, enlighteners of Armenia and St Stephen the Protomartyr.