Reverend Father Serop Azarian, the pastor of St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Catharines and St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church of Hamilton conducted the sacred events of Holy Week starting at St. Gregory Armenian Church in St. Catharines on Palm Sunday, April 17th. For the entire week Der Hayr was substituted by Archpriest Fr. Parsegh Vanlian in the other church.
Palm Sunday – The program schedule was sent previously to all the parishioners in each respective church. The faithful gathered on the morning of Palm Sunday to relive the event of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. Der Hayr offered the Divine Liturgy and during the sermon gave a hearty and informative sermon regarding the coming of Jesus into Jerusalem and His allegorical coming into our hearts, minds and spirits. The day was beautiful with the presence of a few children, who were recruited by Der Hayr to serve the Altar as candle holders. It would have been better if more parishioners could attend that ceremonious day. Following the Badarak, the ceremony of the Opening of the Portals ‘Drnbatsek’ took place with its melismatic and sad tones that reminded us all of our sinful nature in comparison with God’s holiness and fullness.
Holy Thursday – On Holy Thursday, the faithful gathered into the same church for the Washing of the Feet. Father Serop read and sang the parts of prayers that reminded all of us that Jesus came to serve in humility and thus to become our best example in life. He asked us to serve one another in love and humility. He then proceeded to wash the feet of the deacons, choir men and boys and male parishioners. Following the Washing of the Feet the service of Tenebrae the ‘Darkness’ or ‘Khavaroom’ took place when the lights of the church were gradually all taken out and the church fell into the darkness of the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross for our dark sins. The parishioners were moved by the grace and solemnity of this most holy day in the Holy Week.
Holy Friday & Saturday – The following day, Father Serop was in Hamilton where since the morning he conducted the services of the most Holy day of Good Friday. The faithful gathered at the evening where they came to the tomb of Christ with utmost reverence and humility and prayed on their knees, asking the Lord for faith and humility, love and perseverance. They took home some individual flowers from the tomb of the Lord. Holy Saturday was the day of the heralding of the Lord’s Resurrection. Der Hayr did the Badarak in St. Gregory Armenian Church.
Easter Sunday – On Easter Sunday, Der Hayr was back in St. Mary Armenian Church. The church filled to its capacity since the morning. The Divine Liturgy was sang by our full choir. Der Hayr gave a very moving, solemn and strong spiritual message to all the faithful in which he compared the Resurrection of the Lord to the Resurrection of our people and asked all the faithful to walk through the narrow path in life in preserving the Armenian language, thought, life, traditions and culture alive. He said that though the Turks killed millions of Armenians, but they created millions of stronger Armenians yearning and fighting for justice and at the end brought the Resurrection as the banner of victory in saying to all “Krisdos Haryav e Merelots, do not be afraid, for He is with us”.
The faithful had a lovely day in the Church Hall in egg contests, games, choreg sales and get together. There were more than 135 people in St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church on that beautiful day.