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HOLY WEEK

holy_weekJesus’ entry into Jerusalem, His teachings, His betrayal, His being accused, His arrest, His being sentenced, His crucifixion, His death, and finally His Resurrection are all considered to be events in the Savior’s life that were foretold in the Scriptures. These were events that in consummation proved the basic meaning and purpose of Jesus becoming man.

In Christianity, the concepts of earthly life, eternal life, and similar ideas are regarded as being consolidated in the events that took place in the last period of His life on earth, and it is for that reason that these events are memorialized within the one-week period with appropriate ceremony.

In the Armenian Church that last week is called “Avak Shapat” (Holy or Great Week), meaning that it, of all weeks in the liturgical year, is the greatest, the most splendid, the most sacred. It is the week of weeks.

For many centuries it has been the week for prayer and spiritual reappraisal. Workaday activities ceased, schools were in recess. Even in present-day life, when government and religion are generally separated and there are restrictions on official religious activity, popular feelings are respected and recognized in appropriate ways, such as by granting “spring recess,” and in other ways.

It must be mentioned that Friday of that week, “Good Friday,” is an especially revered day, and non-Christians and governments allow that day, or at least the afternoon of that day, to be a non-work day, regarding it right to observe and revere it as a day representing supreme sacrifice.

Courtesy of “Feasts of the Armenian Church and National Traditions” by Garo Bedrosian, 1993