Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
On Sunday, 2 April 2017, His Holiness Aram I presided over the Holy Liturgy at the Cathedral in Antelias, remembering the torture and imprisonment in the Khor Virab Dungeon of St Gregory the Illuminator, founder of the Armenian Church. In 1935, to honor St. Gregory the Illuminator, Catholicos Sahak II Khabayan of Cilicia issued an edict establishing the feast as the “Day of Faith.”
His Holiness Aram I entered the Cathedral at the back of the procession, led by the seminarians, the priests, the bishops, and the clergy carrying the 250-year-old silver box containing the relic of the Saint. The box is a reminder to the Armenian people of the founder of the Armenian Christian faith and of the tragic route followed by their ancestors and Church during deportation from Sis to Aleppo and to their final settlement in Antelias.
In his sermon, the celebrant, Bishop Shahé Panossian, said that the Armenian Church was born out of the sufferings of Khor Virab, but, with the light of Christ
and St Gregory as the second Iluminator of the Armenian faith, our people continued their spiritual journey and overcame all difficulties. He concluded by emphasizing the importance of educating the new generations to continue the spiritual journey.
At the end of the Holy Liturgy, Catholicos Aram I blessed the faithful with the relic as the procession walked among them. After meeting the people and blessing them, His Holiness returned to the altar and blessed the water with the relic. The relics of St Gregory the Illuminator and of Catholicoi Saints, Nicholaos and St. Seghpestros (Sylvester), remained on the Altar for the people to venerate.
Many faithful completed their pilgrimage by spending the night in the Cathedral.