By Florence Avakian
NEW YORK — Held up for display before the crowd of expectant onlookers was an eight-inch silver cross — one unlike any other.
Embedded within its central gemstone was a tiny sliver of wood: a holy relic of the True Cross of Jesus Christ — the cross Jesus carried to Golgotha, and on which he was crucified.
On Sunday evening, September 16, that relic was on display in the sanctuary of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York. It was held with tenderness in the hands of the Very Rev. Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, as he entered the sanctuary in a majestic procession, to celebrate the major feast day known as the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Findikyan had envisioned and organized this special ceremony in accordance with old traditions of the church, to accentuate the symbolic power of the Exaltation feast — called Khatchveratz in Armenian. It marked the first time the cathedral had celebrated the occasion separately from the morning badarak.
Some two dozen local clergy and deacons — most from the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region, but one from as far away as California — participated in this awe-inspiring Medz Antasdan: a blessing service over the Four Corners of the Earth.