Christmas and Feast of Baptism at the Armenian Apostolic Churches in Turkey
The Armenian Apostolic Church in Turkey celebrated the birth and the baptism of Jesus Christ on 5-6 January, as all over the world, with great enthusiasm.
The feast that began with the Holy Mass on Saturday evening (vigil), January 5 at the Armenian Apostolic Church of Feriköy Surp Vartanants. The church was so crowded so that some people accompanied the mass in the garden, despite the cold and rainy weather. The celebration was led by the Rev. Tatul Anoushian, accompanied by the adults’ choir.
Towards the end of the ritual, the church lights were turned off and the congregation went to the garden with candles symbolizing the birth of Jesus Christ as a light. Then, salt, bread and water were blessed with hymns, distributed to the public. The busy crowd tried to take the light of Jesus Christ to their houses with the Christmas carols, carrying out the candles in their hands.
On Sunday, January 6, all the Armenian churches celebrated the feast of Nativity and the baptism of Jesus. The liturgy held in the Samatya Surp Kevork Apostolic Church was led by Bishop Sahak Mashalyan, Chairman of the Patriarchal Spiritual Council. The priest Zohrab Civanyan, the deacons, psalmists and the Sahakyan Chorus accompanied the liturgy with the hymns.
During the sermon of Bishop Mashalyan on the Christmas, the candidate for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality of CHP, Ekrem Imamoglu was present at the church. After the distribution of the Eucharist, a crucifix was immersed into the water and blessed with holy oil. (The crucifix represents Jesus Christ, the water represents the Jordan River.)