The Holy Week was commemorated in St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Catharines and St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church of Hamilton with spirituality and solemnity. Father Serop Azarian, the pastor of both churches, offered the sacred events of Holy Week starting at St. Gregory Armenian Church in St. Catharines on Palm Sunday, April 1st and ended with the Divine Liturgy of Holy Resurrection in St. Mary on April 8th. For the entire week Der Hayr was substituted by Archpriest Fr. Parsegh Vanlian in the other church.
Palm Sunday “Dzaghkazart” – Palm Sunday, commemorating our Lord Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, was celebrated with joy in St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church. The program schedule was sent previously to all the parishioners in each respective church. The Eucharist of Palm Sunday to relives the events of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. Fr. Serop offered the Divine Liturgy and delivered a spiritual sermon about 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 registered into the new Sunday school by Mrs. Debbie Zakarian and Fr. Serop. 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. Palms were blessed and distributed reminding each that praise and worship belongs to the eternal King.
Holy Thursday “Khavaroum” – On Thursday, April 5th, the Armenian Church commemorated The Last Supper and Washing of the Feet of our Lord Jesus Christ with His twelve apostles. In St. Gregory of St. Catharines the commemoration of washing of the feet took place when, following the readings of biblical readings and prayers, Fr. Serop Azarian washed the feet of the men and children in the church and anointed them with oil. At 8pm, the church entered the time when Khavaroum was commemorated, when Christ was to be delivered to His passion and death, the lights were gradually taken out and darkness came upon the church, reminding all with this moving celebration that Christ died on the cross for our sins and redeemed us with His precious blood. Fr. Serop delivered a moving sermon to remind our contrast with Christ’s purity and the need to follow His example in life and conduct.
Holy Friday & Saturday – On Good Friday, the day of the death and burial of our Lord, the symbolic tomb of Christ Jesus was set and decorated with candles, flowers, crosses and incense. Father Serop offered the rite of the Burial of our Lord in St. Mary Armenian Church in Hamilton. 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. Every parishioner with great faith and devotion walked under the Tomb of Christ by accomplishing their vows.
Holy Saturday was the day of the heralding of the Lord’s Resurrection. Fr. Serop offered the Badarak in St. Gregory Armenian Church in St. Catharines where the light of Christ was delivered into the hearts of parishioners.
Easter Sunday – On Easter Sunday, Rev. Fr. Serop Azarian celebrated the Divine Liturgy in St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church of Hamilton. The church was filled to capacity on this solemn and most holy day. The Holy Altar was served by the following servers, Deacon Ara Siroonian, Dcn. Hirant Citak, Dcn. Manuel Akcambazian and Acolyte Armenak Arteen. Fr. Serop delivered a sermon in which he compared life given by the earth and life given by our Heavenly Father, and that the resurrection of the Lord is a refuge to all from the waves of the world. He urged our youngsters to remain faithful to our Armenian language, history and culture. We also had a few children join our Sunday school under the directorship of Mr. Vahag Asatryan. An “egg and choreg” feast was organized by our Lady volunteers of the Church. The faithful had a lovely day in the Church Hall in egg cracking contests, games, choreg sales and auctions and getting together on this very happy and joyful day