Turkey’s Armenian Apostolic Church, celebrated the Paregentan (Carnival) and started the Lenten period, closing the curtains of the altars. As a tradition of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the altars of the churches will be closed until the Easter, which means 7 weeks.
On Sunday, February 23, the Armenian Apostolic parishes celebrated Paregentan (Carnival) with Holy Liturgy and entered the Lenten period until April 12, the Easter day.
His Beatitude the Patriarch Sahak II. Mashalyan attended the Holy Liturgy which took place in Feriköy Surp Vartanants Armenian Apostolic Church. At the ceremony, the name day of the church and the church choir was also celebrated.
In the morning, the parish priest Rev. Tatul Anuşyan presided the Morning Prayers (Lauds) and the Holy Liturgy started. The Holy Liturgy took place under the auspices of His Beatitude the Patriarch, where the Holy Sacrifice was offered by Rev. Boghos Baronyan. The assistants on the altar were Deacon Setrak Davuthan, Deacon Sayat Çınaryand Deacon Armenak Kazancıyan. The chants were performed by the Vartanants Choir under the direction of Maestro Adruşan Hallaçyan.
Patriarch Sahak II said the following words in his sermon:
“A man seeks happiness throughout his life and does whatever good or bad, to be happy. In our hearts, there is a call to be happy – and we have a call to be happy. We are called to be happy, because if otherwise it hurts us. God created man in heaven, and the genetic structure of man always seeks the heaven; he’ll be happy only there. That’s why, for man, all the beauties he’s been through are actually a part of heaven. The truth is that sometimes we can’t find the right way to paradise and be happy. As Solomon said, “there are ways which lead to death.” But the word of God always leads us to the right path. God who created us, gave us the Bible, sent His words. Sometimes we read it and find it difficult to put in practice, so we choose different ways. But God’s word is never wrong. We’re always the ones who’re wrong. Later, we understand, we come before God and we say it’s true, or we perish in those wrongs. Life is precious and can only be lived once. If you miss life, you’ll never catch it again. We must live and be happy according to God’s will. People who research for happiness have found this secret: happiness is to know contenting oneself with little. Sometimes we’re after so many empty things in our lives and we want more… So, we discover that we’ve forgotten to live. We must discover the secrets of happiness in the words of God. Sometimes it’s not taking, but giving that makes the man happy; so, we must give. For example, during this fasting period, keep fasting and be happy to get rid of your weight. Get away from earthly work, go to churches, read and listen the Word of God. Those who fast know that the moment of finishing the fasting with prayers is their happiest moment. God has given us this heavenly world. People make the world a living hell, then they search for heaven. But the first step of heaven is in our hearts. God put it in our hearts in our birth. He gave us peace. If we don’t get this peace out and live, we’ll never be happy. The presence of God within us must be the greatest happiness for us. This is Paregentan (Carnival) day, as well as the name day of this church and choir, and I congratulate them on this occasion. Life is good, it’s good to be happy, so let’s raise our hands to God and pray. May God guide us and teach us how we can be more beautiful and happier. So, we can find peace in our lives. Let’s pray.”
After the sermon, the Communion (Holy Bread) was distributed. Afterwards, all religious officials, deacons, chorists, choir conductors who serve in this parish and those who are deceased were remembered in prayers during the mass.
The ceremony ended with the last blessing of His Beatitude the Patriarch Sahak II Marshalyan. Then the congregation came to the church hall. Paregentan (Carnival) celebration was held here with all participants. The celebration here began with the prayer of the Patriarch for the meal.