GREAT THURSDAY – AVAK HEENKSHAPTEE
WASHING OF THE FEET – VODNLUVA
On Great Thursday Jesus ate the Last Supper with His disciples. The Last Supper was more than a common supper, it was their last Passover Meal together. The Passover Meal was a meal of thanksgiving and remembrance, during which Jews remembered their deliverance by God from the Egyptian bondage. It also pointed to the future fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to deliver Israel from its enemy. During the meal a specially slaughtered Passover lamb was eaten; bread was broken and wine was distributed to everyone at ritually ordained moments. The Holy Communion “Soorp Haghortootyun” was established during Last Supper, but “Soorp Haghortootyun” that takes place during Soorp Badarak is not the Last Supper. The institution of “Soorp Haghortootyun” is through the following words of Christ, God-incarnate: “Jesus took a loaf of bread , and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ Then he took a cup and after giving thanks He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins'” (Matthew 26:26-28). At the meal Jesus ,once more, revealed Himself as the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament and as the New Covenant that the Jews and the world both had anticipated. He was the New Covenant and the meal was the final Passover of the Old Testament. Christ would be the new and the true Passover lamb to be slaughtered, for us and in our place. During the Last Supper, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet as an example of the love and humility that His followers must show others.
THE VIGIL OF THE GARDEN – KHAVAROOM
This service recalls the Passion of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. It begins with the singing of songs from the Night Service. During the service seven Gospel readings are read, ethereal hymns are sung, and heartfelt supplications are made to the Lord.
After each Gospel, candles on the holy Altar are extinguished, until the church is plunged into total darkness, resembling the darkness that fell upon the soul of humanity as a result of His Arrest, Passion and Murder.
GREAT FRIDAY – AVAK OORPAT
On Great Friday, Christ, God-incarnate, was murdered on the cross. He gave up His spirit with the words: “It is finished.” (Jn. 19:30) The mission for which Christ had been sent into the world by His Father ( i.e., God the Father) was accomplished. He accepted the whole human nature and became God and human at the same time, in order to heal the human nature through his Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection. His Crucifixion was for our sins and in our place, because humanity could not have saved itself from the eternal control of Satan, hell and death. After His death, He descended into the place of the dead (i.e., hell) for three (3) days , to preach The Good News to those who lived a pious life and died with the expectation of the coming of the Messiah, who was to come to save human soul, eternally.
St. Paul emphasizing the meaning of the Cross, which reconciled humanity with God , says, ” the Cross is the power of God “and ” I glory, I boast in the Cross of Christ “.
SERVICE OF THE BURIAL – SOORP TAGHOOM
Through the Holy Burial Service of Christ, we remember His burial in the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph of Arimathea was a rich person and a deep believer in Christ. He buried the body of our Lord in his own personal tomb – what a privilege! It is our affirmative belief, that He was crucified and died in the body (i.e., in economy), but lived by the Godhead. The human body was placed in the tomb, being united with His Divinity; His human soul descended into hell being indivisible from His Divinity. It was His Godhead, His Divinity that healed the sinful, thus paralyzed nature of humanity. That is why His Godhead (i.e., Divinity)was never separated from His human soul and body. His Divine nature and human nature were inseparably had become one, without confusion, at the time of miraculous conception. He preached the dead, destroyed the hell, and freed the dead. After three (3) days He rose and appeared to His apostles, disciples and to His faithful followers.
GREAT SATURDAY – AVAK SHAPAT
The joyous feast of the glorious and victorious Resurrection of Christ begins with “Jrakalooytzee Badarak”, Lucermarium, on Saturday evening.
On the eve of major feasts (and each Sunday eve), it was the custom to light candles in the church during the evening service. The hymn “Looys Zvart” (Joyful Light ) is referred to, in fact, as “The Blessing of the Lights.” The term, Jrakalooytz, is now used only in reference to the evening services which precede the Nativity and Easter, at which time candles are given to the worshipers. In fact the entire day which precedes Nativity or Easter is known as Jrakalooytz as the day of preparation for the great feasts. The purpose of holding candles is to emphasize, ceremoniously, the meaning and importance of the Nativity and the Resurrection of Christ; in fact the faithful used to take those candles to their home and keep them lit for about seven days. The Jrakalooytzee Badarak must take place after sunset.
HOLY EASTER – SOORP ZADIG
The Resurrection of Christ stands at the center of the Christian Faith. Without belief in the Resurrection of Christ, God-incarnate, we cannot call ourselves Christians.
St. Paul says the following: “If Christ has not been raised… then our faith is in vain…If for only this life we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied “(I Cor. 15:14-19). Christ’s Resurrection is the assurance and guarantee that all the dead will resurrect on His glorious second coming, which is The Judgment Day. This is what we proclaim when we greet each other with joyous greeting on Easter Sunday:
“KRISDOS HARYAV EE MERELOTZ
ORHNYAL EH HAROUTIOUNN KRISDOSEE.
CHRIST IS RISEN
BLESSED IS THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.”