In the Turkish Armenian Apostolic Churches, the Sacred Offering Rite was performed publicly for the first time after 4 months because of the pandemic.
Due to the decision made by the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, it was banned to have public rituals in churches 4 months ago because of covid-19. In the “new normal” period, which the country is in, after the mitigation of the measures taken, weddings, baptisms and funeral ceremonies were first liberated with the measures to be taken. With the decision taken at the Spiritual Board meeting last week, the Sacred Offering Rites were allowed to be open to the public as of July 19, 2020, in line with the measures to be taken by every Church administration.
After these decisions, on the 19th of July, in the Vardavar Day, (VARDAVAR, one of the 5 great holidays of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the appearance of Jesus Christ and His impersonation of the LIGHT) Because there was an occasion of love table at the Surp Garabed Church in Uskudar, Turkish Armenian Patriarch, His Beatitude Sahak II attended the Sacred Offering rite performed by Father Husik Hergelyan. In the ceremony, besides Father Bedros Buldukyan, the church’s religious officer, Senior Father Krikor Damatyan, Father Shirvan Mürzoyan, Deacons and readers were present. On the other hand, the hymns were performed under the direction of Sevan Şencan, the choir conductor of the Kadıköy Surp Takavor Church choir. Believers who could attend the ceremony in the Church after a 4-month break, took their places in the queues by paying attention to the precautions taken and accompanied the prayers. His Beatitude Sahak II gave two sermons both in Turkish and Armenian in the Vardavar Day. After the ceremony, very few people from the public except for the religious officials, could attend the love table prepared by the Church’s board of directors. In addition, due to the pandemic measures, the fun tradition of getting people wet, could not be performed.
His Beatitude Patriarch Sahak II said in his sermon, in summary:
“Today we are celebrating the Vardavar Day in our Church, which is one of our most important holidays. Vardavar is a holiday celebrated by Armenians back in the idolatry days. “Vard” means rose. “Vardavar” means change from rose. In the old times Armenians would decorate their idols with roses and water them. Then they would spray each other with water. This tradition continues with us. Only our Church Fathers and Clergymen said; Let us combine this tradition with “The Transformation Day of Jesus Christ”. Because when Jesus Christ appeared to his disciples on the mountain, His Image changed. His hair and beard became white. He started reflecting light. And there appeared the God of Jesus Christ. On this great holiday, our Ancestors said; The real rose is Jesus Christ himself. In fact, a rose is a bush. It is the most irregular of plants and is a thorny shrub. But the most beautiful flower in the world emerges from it. Therefore, our ancestors did not see any harm in combining ‘Aylagerbutyun – Bayzaragerbutyun – Transformation Day’ with the old Vartavar Festival.”
With a decision made by the Patriarchate, the Sacred Offering Rite and the sermon of the day, which was carried out during the pandemic period and published on the Facebook account of the patriarch, continued. While the ceremony at the Vortvots Vorodman church located in the complex of the Patriarchate Surp Asdvadzadzin (Virgin Mary) Church was broadcasted live, the sermon by the Patriarch Sahak II about the Vartavar Festival was published.