Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
The feast of the entrance of St. Gregory the Illuminator into the dungeon is a period of pilgrimage and prayers at the Cathedral named after the Saint in Antelias. The feast also coincides with the Sixth Sunday of Lent, when the church remembers the first and second comings of Christ.
The pilgrimage, which began with a spiritual concert on Thursday night and continued with prayers, vespers and services on Friday and Saturday, concluded with the final Holy Liturgy on Sunday morning. His Holiness Aram I led the meditation during the Saturday night Vespers. After speaking of the life and sufferings of the Saint in the dungeon, the Catholicos said, “St. Gregory the Illuminator through his life and witness founded our church, and kept the apostolic continuity following the Saints Thaddeus and Bartholomew. Each year his Feast is a call to us to renew our Christian faith.” Vespers ended with the Sunday school choir singing spiritual songs dedicated to St. Gregory.
Arcbishop Gorun Babian celebrated the Sunday Liturgy and His Holiness Aram I presided and blessed the people with the relics of the right hand of the Saint. In his sermon, the Archbishop spoke of the meaning of celebrating the shepherd of the Armenian Church on the Sixth week of Lent. The liturgy continued with a procession, during which His Holiness blessed the pilgrims with the Relic of St. Gregory the Illuminator; the bishops and priests accompanied him carrying the relics of other Saints. At the end of the procession, His Holiness blessed the people with a prayer inspired by the life of Saint Gregory the Illuminator.