Varaka Surp Cross, which is unique to the Armenian Church, was celebrated with great enthusiasm at Vakıflıköy Surp Asdvadzadzin Church on Sunday, September 26.
Priest Harutyun Damadyan, Religious Officer of the Islands, who was in Antakya as a visitor, presided over the ceremonies. Priest Damadtyan presented and preached the Holy Liturgy. The believers living in Vakıflıköy attended the ceremony, in which the Anatolian Armenian Community Overseer and Hatay Churches Religious Officer Father Avedis Tabasyan were also present. Senior Readers Misak Hergel, Aren Kuş, and Yusuf Tabas served the Lord’s Supper in the Holy Liturgy, presented by the priest Harutyun Damadyan. Reciters, led by Father Avedis Tabashyan, sang the hymns.
At the end of the service, Priest Damadyan first conveyed the paternal greetings and blessings of the Patriarch Sahak II. He said that His Beatitude the Patriarch was always praying for Vakıflıköy and was always very interested in the life of the village. Then, at the end of August, he greeted Father Avedis, who was appointed as the Overseer of the Anatolian Armenian Communities by His Beatitude the Patriarch, and congratulated him.
Then, in summary, in his sermon; He briefly touched upon the history of the Surp Cross of Varaka and stated that this feast is celebrated only in the Armenian Church. He said, “So much so, that it has a special meaning to present the Surp Badarak in Vakıflıköy, where the members of the Armenian Community reside, on this feast of the Cross, which is unique to Armenians.”
He invited the inhabitants of the village to pray before the Holy Cross, to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ for giving their daily bread, and concluded by saying: “The Holy Cross has united you, so appreciate the Holy Cross well and be worthy sons to Him. So that both your village will be blessed and you will be blessed with the village.”
After the sermon, at Father Avedis Tabasyan’s request, two Crosses prepared by Mıgırdiç Sertşimşek and sent to Vakıflıköy were presented to the church. Afterwards, the last blessings were read with these crosses.