NEW YORK — Ordinarily, Holy Week signals the end of the Lenten period of separation, and a return to the full life of the church. The coming Holy Week will be unlike any other, with faithful Armenians physically isolated, but joining spiritually with the aid of various media.
While St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral is closed to the public due to the pandemic crisis, the cathedral will observe Holy Week, April 5 through 11, with a series of special services culminating in the Easter Sunday celebration on April 12, 2020. Plans call for these services to be broadcast to the public over the St. Vartan Cathedral Facebook page.
The schedule of services is as follows:
• Palm Sunday, the commemoration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, falls on April 5. Fr. Davit Karamyan (Vicar of St. Vartan Cathedral) will be the celebrant for the services, which will begin streaming over Facebook at 10:30 a.m.
- April 9 is Great and Holy Thursday, and the day’s services memorialize the Last Supper, Jesus’ vigil in the Garden of Gethsemane, his arrest and trial. In the evening, the Khavaroom or Vigil Service will begin broadcasting at 8 p.m..
- The crucifixion and death of Christ will be marked on April 10— Great and Holy Friday—and two services will take place. The Order of the Crucifixion of Christ will begin at 12:30 p.m. That same evening, at 5:30 p.m., the Order of the Entombment of the Lord, or Taghoom Service, will take place. Both will be streamed on Facebook.
- On Great and Holy Saturday, April 11, the scripture-reading ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the Jrakalouyts (“Lamp-Lighting”) service.
Finally, the drama of Holy Week will culminate on Easter Sunday, April 12: the central holy day of the Christian calendar, commemorating the discovery of Christ’s empty tomb and the news of his resurrection. The Divine Liturgy will begin at 10:30 a.m., with Bishop Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, celebrating the liturgy and delivering the homily.
All of these services at St. Vartan Cathedral will take place behind closed doors, without participation of the public. All are planned to be broadcast over the Internet. Parishes around the Eastern Diocese may have their own schedule of online services; contact your local parish for details.