NEW YORK — In a ceremony that connected Armenia’s deeply-rooted traditions with our unwavering Christian faith today, New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral celebrated the eve of the Feast of the Lord’s Presentation to the Temple (Dyarnuntarach).
The two-part, pre-festal service of prayer and light, presided over by Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan, took place the evening of Saturday, February 13, as a prelude to the badarak the following morning on the presentation day itself. The events were broadcast over the Facebook pages of St. Vartan Cathedral and Vemkar, enabling the faithful to bear witness to this spiritually-uplifting and inspiring service from their homes.
The event began with a brief “anticipatory prayer service” within the warmth of the cathedral sanctuary, where members of the clergy participated in the recitation of prayer, as a small group of lay people observed and prayed while socially distanced from the pews.
Worshippers then moved in procession outside to the snow-covered cathedral plaza, braving the frigid temperatures.
Clergy gathered before the bonfire, situated in the middle of the plaza, to continue the second part of the service. Amidst the censing and singing of hymns, the light of the bonfire cut through the darkness of the cold night, its flames bathing the plaza in a deep orange hue under the night sky. The faithful, who remained appropriately distanced from one another at the foot of the stairs leading from the cathedral sanctuary to the plaza, watched and bowed their heads in reverence, their faces gently illuminated by firelight.
The light took on special meeting this year on account of the darkness and fear that the covid pandemic has cast over the world. Yet, despite the freezing temperatures and blowing wind, the fire did not die out, symbolizing our enduring Christian Armenian faith.