Armenians throughout the world celebrate Christmas on 6 January. A special religious service was held last night in the Cathedral Centre of Echmiadzin, where the Catholicos of all Armenians, Garagen II conducted mass in the presence of Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, the President of the National Assembly Galust Sahakyan, cabinet ministers and members of the National Assembly, as well as ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited to Armenia. Similar services were held throughout the world, including in the Middle East where there are still large Armenian communities, including in Tehran and Beirut.
In his address to the congregation gathered at Echmiadzin, Patriarch Garegin II referred to the current situation in Armenia and the Middle East, saying that the feast of Christmas gives Armenians the strength to face current tributlations:
"The message of renewal in the gospel and the apostolic exhortation, have perpetually resonated and sustained our people. Life renewed by the Gospel for centuries has granted our people the fortitude of faith, strength of soul, and courage to be able to withstand tribulations, to endure hardships, and to create accomplishments worthy of written remembrance. With this same spirit, we confront the illegal blockade of our homeland and military provocations that cost lives. We overcome the difficulties and challenges we face, and strive to build a peaceful and prosperous life for our people, at the same time lending support to our sisters and brothers who endure the devastation of war in the Middle East. In the face of crisis and adversity, the feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Christ brings a new dawn of life, warming our hearts and giving us hope and optimism."
As is the tradition, those attending Church services took back home with them a lighted candle.
source: commonspace.eu with the press service of the Armenian Apostolic Church and tert.am
photo: Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II leads a Christmas religious service in the cathedral centre of Echmiadzin in the early hours of 6 January as Armenians throughout the world celebrate Christmas. (picture courtesy of tert.am)
The president of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker led dignitaries from a number of countries attending the celebrations