St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral (photo: Yerevantsi, Wikimedia, 2016)

Armenian Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral

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NEW YORK — The Nativity and Baptism of Jesus Christ will be observed at New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral on Friday and Saturday, January 5 and 6, 2024.

On Friday, January 5, there will be an Evening Service at 5:30 p.m. The Divine Liturgy will immediately follow, beginning at 6 p.m., celebrated by the Rev. Fr. Davit Karamyan, Vicar of St. Vartan Cathedral.

On Saturday, January 6, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated by Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese–leading the Christmas badarak for the first time since his episcopal consecration last fall.

The Morning Service begins at 9 a.m., and the Divine Liturgy follows at 10 a.m.

The sacred music will be sung by the St. Vartan Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Khoren Mekanejian.

In Armenian tradition, this feast day commemorates not only the birth of Christ, but also his baptism by John the Baptist. The latter is remembered through the “Blessing of Water” ceremony, which will follow the Divine Liturgy. This year The Godfather of the Cross will be Kirk Hachigian.

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A Christmas reception will take place following services, in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium of the cathedral complex.

Local Celebrations

Armenian Christmas will also be observed at local parishes across the Eastern Diocese. Many parishes will celebrate on Saturday, January 6. However, Diocesan parishes have also been authorized to celebrate on Sunday, January 7, if local circumstances so demand.

The cathedral’s Armenian Christmas Divine Liturgy will be broadcast live over the cathedral’s Facebook page and the Eastern Diocese’s YouTube platform. Many local parishes will also broadcast their services.

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