Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
On Thursday morning, February 28th, 2019, the feast of St. Vartanants was marked at St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Antelias with a Divine Liturgy and a special ceremony at the Main Hall of the Catholicosate. The Divine Liturgy was presided over by His Holiness Aram I and celebrated by Bishop Torkom Donoyan, the Vicar General of the Western Prelacy.
Bishop Torkom delivered the sermon and talked about Christian faith as being an integral part of the Armenian Identity. He stated that because of this interconnectedness, Armenian soldiers and clergy lead the Battle of Avarayr in 451 against the Sassanid Persia, thus rendering their faith and national belonging into one whole entity.
Following the service, the procession moved to the Main Hall of the Catholicosate and the celebration continued with hymns and songs dedicated to the heroes of Sts. Vartanants. Here, His Holiness Aram I delivered the message of the feast.
The Catholicos stated that feasts are celebrated and commemorated because they carry a message, and the message of St. Vartanats transcends all time and indicates that for Armenians and throughout history, defending Christian faith has signified defending their national identity. His Holiness then talked about the interwovenness of the Armenian church with its people and the Armenian nation. He underlined that the Armenian Church has never been a self-centered institution but existed to serve its people, and the Battle of Avarayr is only one example of that particularity. Concluding, His Holiness Aram I invited Armenians throughout the world to continue living on the example of the warrior saints of Vartanants.