This year the parishes of St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church and St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church of Southern Ontario, celebrated the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ on their days, on January 5 and 6 of 2012. Fr. Serop Azarian along with the parishioners of St. Gregory came together for the traditional ‘jragalouyts’ (lighting) badarak inside the church. The Divine Liturgy is a reminder to all of us that the good news of the birth and revelation of our Lord happened when certain shepherds were in the field tending their sheep, and the angel of the Lord appeared to them and they gave them the evangelion of the good news. ‘Today a saviour was born for you in the City of David’. The Divine Liturgy is preceded by evening service and reading of the books of prophecy and of Daniel.

Fr. Serop was helped by Fr. Parsegh in the Divine Liturgy as well as the deacons of the church who were at the altar. The choir sang the appropriate hymns. The parishioners greeted one another and were glad to see Father Serop conduct for them the ‘Christmas Lighting Ceremony’ in English, in which all did participate.

On the morning of Nativity, the same did happen in St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church of Hamilton. Traditionally and be lection the Liturgy of Christmas is celebrated in the morning, however in St. Mary the holy celebration was in the evening. The parish had around 70 parishioners who came together and were given the good news that ‘Krisdos Dznav yev Haydnetsav’. Christ the King was born and revealed’. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the parish pastor and assisted by the deacons. Many children were participating in anticipation of the promised ‘Christmas Lighting Ceremony’ that took place right after the water blessing, whose godfather this year was Vatche Kaloustian. The water blessing and lighting ceremony created the spirit of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, when Father Serop spoke about the King of Christ and the spiritual connection that a faithful should have to this holy event. The choir was directed by our able organist Mrs. Varsenig Papazian.

On Sunday January 8th, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Bagrat Galstanian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Canada. The primate was assisted by Father Serop Azarian and V. Rev. Fr. Isahak from Etchmiadzin as well as the deacons of St. Gregory. Following the Divine Liturgy, Srbazan Hayr blessed the water in the church and the faithful came forward to receive it. The godfather of the water blessing was Dr. Hagop Mazmanian. Bishop Bagrat spoke about the glorious Birth of the Lord Jesus and about the faith exhibited by the faithful.

Following the Divine Liturgy, the faithful were all invited for the traditional annual “Pagharch” meal, which is the traditional dish of all Keghi Armenians and that of Kharpert. The Pagharch meal was blessed and distributed. There was a word of welcome by Chairman Haroutioun of the Church and subsequently both Father Serop and Srbazan Hayr addressed those who were gathered.