Armenian Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral

22 December 2016

The Nativity and Baptism of Jesus Christ will be observed at New York's St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral on Thursday and Friday, January 5 and 6, 2017. A special liturgical schedule will be in effect for these "Armenian Christmas" services; please make a note of the times.

On Armenian Christmas Eve -- Thursday, January 5 -- there will be an Evening Service with Scripture Readings at 6:30 p.m. The Divine Liturgy will immediately follow, beginning at 7:00 p.m., celebrated by the Very Rev. Fr. Mamigon Kiledjian, the dean of St. Vartan Cathedral.

The St. Vartan Cathedral Choir will sing the Divine Liturgy, under the direction of Maestro Khoren Mekanejian. A reception will take place following the services.

On Armenian Christmas -- Friday, January 6 -- Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), will celebrate the Divine Liturgy. The Morning Service begins at 9:30 a.m., and the Divine Liturgy follows at 10:30 a.m.

The sacred music will be sung by the St. Vartan Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Maestro Mekanejian.

In Armenian tradition, this feast day commemorates not only the birth of Christ, but also his baptism by John the Baptist. The latter is remembered through the "Blessing of Water" ceremony, which will follow the Divine Liturgy. Artyom Sahakyan will serve as "godfather" of the Blessing of Water service.

After the cathedral's January 6 church services, a Home Blessing Service and Christmas Reception will take place in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium. The Astxikner Junior Vocal Ensemble of St. Gregory Mission Parish of Brooklyn will perform during the reception, which is open to all. Admission is free.

A special photo exhibition will be on view at the Diocesan Center during the celebration of Armenian Christmas. It will showcase candid portraits of Armenian dignitaries and celebrities in the homeland and the diaspora over the past 60 years, as captured by photographer Robert Karapetian.

The exhibition opens on January 5 at 8 p.m. in Guild Hall of the Diocesan Center, and will remain on view through January 6. It is free and open to the public.

Armenian Christmas will also be observed at local parishes across the Eastern Diocese. Many parishes will celebrate on the day itself-Friday, January 6. However, Diocesan parishes have also been authorized to celebrate on Sunday, January 8, if local circumstances so demand. Please contact your local parish to ascertain the date and time of its Armenian Christmas celebration. 

St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral is located at 630 Second Avenue (corner of 34th Street and Second Avenue), in New York City. Armenian Christmas Eve services begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 5. The Armenian Christmas Service on Friday, January 6 will begin at 9:30 a.m., with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy beginning at 10:30 a.m., followed by the traditional Blessing of Water ceremony.

For information, call (212) 686-0710.

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