Finding God’s “True Peace”: Armenian Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral


Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)

630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Contact: Chris Zakian

Tel: (212) 686-0710

E-mail: [email protected]





EDITOR: Three photos attached, with captions below. Please credit Diran
Jebejian, Jebejian Images. Find additional photos at the following link:




God’s “True Peace”: Armenian Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral


Stephan S. Nigohosian


Armenian Christmas Divine Liturgy on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at New York’s
St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral once again brought the Armenian Christian family
together to mark the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus
Christ. Consistent with the early traditions of Christianity, the mystery
of the baptism of Jesus Christ is also commemorated on this day, with a special
“Blessing of Water” (Churorhnek) ceremony following the Divine Liturgy.


As the
congregation rejoiced together in this celebration of the revelation of God to
mankind through Christ’s nativity, it was abundantly clear that faith united
them as one body as the Kingdom of God became present and active within the


his first Christmas since his consecration as a bishop of the church, Diocesan
Primate Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy
before the faithful in the cathedral sanctuary, as well as to a global audience
via a livestreamed Internet broadcast.


year’s observance also provided an inspiring testament to the healing power of
Our Lord, as Bishop Mesrop robustly stood and walked throughout the entire
service despite having been gravely injured in a car accident less than two
years ago. It was, without a doubt, a time to give thanks for the blessings the
Lord has bestowed upon our bishop and the Armenian people, carrying them
through catastrophic events during the past year, particularly in Armenia and


candlelight bathed the bright red poinsettias adorning the holy altar, wisps of
incense billowed from the censers, enveloping the sanctum as it lifted the
prayers of the Badarak toward the heavens. Bishop Mesrop, clad
in violet and gold-colored liturgical vestments, led the congregation in prayer
and blessed parishioners as he walked in procession.


present among the lay people were Bishop Mesrop’s parents, Mihran and Manya
Parsamyan, who traveled from Armenia to share in the blessed joy of the
Christmas service with their son.



* A
Child’s Trust


Mesrop’s homily thoughtfully examined the meaning of the true peace that God
offers us, by juxtaposing a child’s simple, playful activities with that of an
adult’s life clouded with trepidation and burden.


child has the security and trust that his parents are watching over him to
ensure his safety, allowing him to completely immerse himself in the joy of the
moment without concern for the past or anxiety about the future,” he
said.  “We, too, have the assurance of placing our trust in a loving,
trustworthy parent—our Heavenly Father—who watches over us at all times.”


reiterated that our faith calls us to place our trust in God, enabling us to
live in the moment, liberated from the weight of our past regrets and future
anxieties. “We then can fully engage in the peace that God offers us,” he said,
“one that surpasses all understanding and guides our hearts and our minds in
Christ to guide our steps and embolden our spirits.”


Mesrop concluded his message by encouraging the faithful to trust in our
Heavenly Father and live in the present moment, so we can share that peace in
our hearts with others.


Godfather of the Cross (gunkahayr) for the Christmas Blessing of Water
ceremony was Kirk Hachigian, a member of St. Kevork Church in
Houston, TX, whose selfless involvement, guidance, and support of countless
initiatives have benefitted the Diocese and the larger Armenian community.


Christmas Day Divine Liturgy was also made possible with the participation
of Fr. Davit Karamyan, Vicar of St. Vartan Cathedral, as well as a large
contingent of deacons and altar servers. Maestro Khoren Mekanejian directed the
angelic voices of the St. Vartan Cathedral Choir, accompanied by organist
Florence Avakian.


the service, a Christmas reception took place in Haik and Alice Kavookjian
Auditorium of the Diocesan complex. The online broadcast was directed by
Yervant Keshishian, with Chris Zakian providing the narration. Dn. Diran
Jebejian photographed the service inside the sanctuary.


Vartan Cathedral’s Christmas celebration began on the evening of January 5,
with the solemn Jrakalouyts (“Lamp-lighting”) service followed
by scripture readings traditionally celebrated on Christmas Eve. The
Divine Liturgy, celebrated by Fr. Karamyan, immediately followed. In accordance
with Armenian Church tradition, the Feast of Theophany will be formally
observed through January 13, completing the “octave” of Theophany.


the following links to:


VIEW photos of
Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral.

WATCH the full
 of the Christmas liturgy.

WATCH Bishop
Mesrop’s sermon
 in English and Armenian.




* * *


Armenian Christmas at New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, on Saturday, January
6, 2024. Diocesan Primate Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan (at center) celebrated the Christmas
liturgy and led the Blessing of QWater Ceremony, shown here. Standing at right
is Mr. Kirk Hachigian, this year’s Godfather of the Cross, who hails from the
Diocese’s St. Kevork parish in Houston, TX.


Holy Communion on Armenian Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral, NYC. Pictured are Cathedral Vicar Fr. Davit Karamyan, Deacon Adam Bullock, and Deacon Manouel Rakoubian.



Primate Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan and Godfather of the Cross Kirk Hachigian,
during the Armenian Christmas service at NYC’s St. Vartan Cathedral.

* * *




Photo Gallery
(credit Diran Jebejian, Jebejian Images):


Service Recording:


Mesrop’s Sermon:


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