By Stephan S. Nigohosian
NEW YORK — Before a full-capacity gathering of the faithful at New York City’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, Diocesan Primate the Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan celebrated his inaugural Easter Sunday badarak on April 9, 2023.
In addition, the physical presence of hundreds of participants, as well as the return of the “Release of Doves” ceremony following the close of the service, was another step toward the pre-pandemic normalcy that so many have prayed for. How fitting that this renewal of the sacred Easter Liturgy occurred during the celebration of the most glorious new beginning: the Resurrection and victory over death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Streams of sunlight cascaded through St. Vartan Cathedral’s stained-glass windows, bathing the sanctuary in rich hues of color as the spiritually-moving Easter service began. Following Parsamyan’s entrance accompanied by a procession of clergy and altar servers, he moved through the sanctuary, bestowing his blessings among the faithful.
Upon his reaching the altar, angelic strains of the choir swelled to further heighten the joy and triumph of Christ’s Resurrection. White lilies adorning the altar represented new life and the purity of Christ our Savior, providing a sacred backdrop for this hallowed event.
Multiple cameras placed throughout the sanctuary provided those participating in the Easter service at home with immersive views of the service, including an intimate, front-facing view of Fr. Merop praying on the holy altar during the Synaxis (teaching) section of the badarak. Among the clergy and altar servers assisting Fr. Mesrop throughout the liturgy were Cathedral Vicar Fr. Davit Karamyan and Fr. Hovel Ohanyan.