Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak

Sunday Messenger

September 26, 2021

Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak

COVID UPDATE:  August 23, 2021, The Montgomery County Office of Public Health advises that masks should be worn in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. Please exercise your best judgment and caring for everyone in our Church community. Thank you   

Scripture and Feast Day Notes

From Today’s Readings

Matthew 24:30-36 Jesus gives this description of His Second Coming alongside warnings not to be deceived as to when it will happen: it will be sudden, like a lightning bolt, but unmistakable. (The fig tree is one of the few trees in Palestine that sheds its leaves annually, making it the perfect symbol for a reliable sign of things to come.) He will appear in the sky with power and great glory; angels will trumpet a call to the elect from the four corners of the world. Discuss/reflect: Explain verse 35 (“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”) in your own words. How might this change your priorities?

Galatians 6:14-18 St. Paul declares that all his praises are reserved for the Cross; through it, the world was crucified to him. Traditions are not as important as being part of the “new creation.” Discuss/reflect: What do you think St. Paul meant when he said the “world had been crucified to him” (v.14)?  What are some of the ways this might be true for you as you grow closer to Jesus?

Isaiah 65:22-25 A vision of God’s ultimate restoration of creation, in which joy, peace and blessing will prevail. Unlike other apocalyptic visions, life goes on here on earth but it will be free from grief and oppression, and God will be immediately present. Discuss/reflect: “Children will not be doomed to misfortune” (v.23). What misfortunes have we left our children to face and resolve? What might we do for them and these issues right now to see God’s vision realized?

Proverbs 3:18-26 An ode to wisdom, with which God laid the foundations of creation; and a call to all to live by “sound judgment and discernment,” which will lead to fearlessness, honor and even a good night’s sleep. Discuss/reflect: Define wisdom. In what ways might wisdom, understanding & sound judgment “keep you safe” (v23)? Ask God for those qualities in prayer.

Today is the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak
In the late 3rd century, the nun Hripsime – the same St. Hripsime so important to the story of Armenia’s conversion — was fleeing from her Roman persecutors. In desperate flight, she buried a piece of Christ’s cross, her most precious possession, on Mt. Varak (near Van). After her martyrdom by King Drtad, the sacred relic she had buried was forgotten for centuries. Then, in 660, Totig, a hermit monk who lived on Mt. Varak, saw a vision of a church with twelve pillars on the top of the mountain. In the center of these pillars was a radiant cross. This luminous vision descended over the altar of the monastery of Varak. When Totig and his student Hovel rushed to the church and knelt at the altar, they discovered the holy relic. He joyously shared the news with Catholicos Nersess (the Builder) who verified the authenticity of the relic, proclaiming the Sunday nearest September 28 to be the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak. Reflection: Close your eyes and dare to imagine you are Hripsime desperately scratching at the earth to hide your precious relic of the Lord’s cross, knowing you will probably die for your faith. Why does this matter to you? Why does He matter to you?

    Department of Christian Education/Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)/elisea@armeniandiocese.org

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” (1 Tim 2:8). Prayers are requested for the families of the soldiers killed in the 44-day Artsakh war, the soldiers who are struggling through catastrophic injuries suffered, and those who are still being held as prisoners of war all these months later; Ethel Terzian, Taron Poghosyan, Alice Charles, Larry Grocott, Doris Alahverde and Genevieve Miller.

REQUIEM SERVICES: Hokehankist today will be for:

– JOHNNY MILLER (12th Anniversary of His eternal life) requested in loving memory of our brother & uncle by Maggie Miller, Theresa Nedbal and Madison Lumpkin.

– Azad Ayvazian, Haroutioun & Diramayr Hripsime Ayvazian, Garbis & Arousiag Kelyan, Yeznig & Maxim Torossian requested by Alice and Karnig Torossian.

Men’s Club News: The 200 Club tickets were mailed out in August! If you have not done so, we kindly ask that you send in your check now to be included in the first drawing this November.  Didn’t receive your ticket(s) or want to get a ticket for this new season? Please contact the church office with any questions. (We have only 6 tickets available!) Thank you.

COUNTRY STORE IS OPEN AND READY FOR BUSINESS:  We are well stocked in our store and invite you to come in after church most Sundays or place an order for pickup with Lorraine Damerjian @ 215-572-8465. 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS to attend the Philadelphia Inter-Communal gathering on Sunday, October 10 at 3 pm, which will take place at Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church in Havertown.  This special program will feature Rev. Nishan & Maria Bakalian as they share their first-hand experiences about their missionary work in Beirut. This will be most enlightening for all of us. Everyone is Invited!

Welcome Back!  We’re pleased to announce that registration for our Christian education and Language education programs will be held today in the lobby beginning at 10:30. Classes for students from Pre-School to Grade 11 will begin next week, Sunday, October 3. A “welcome back” pizza party, ice cream truck and games will take place following today’s Divine Liturgy.  Please join us. PLEASE NOTE: All staff and students will be required to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Seeking Part-time Organists – the Choir of Holy Trinity is looking for multiple talented musicians who would be seriously interested in playing the organ for the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy (Badarak) on a rotating schedule. Organ lessons will be provided to the interested candidates, along with one-on-one direction from a senior choir person.  For further information, contact Karinne Andonian @ karinne.hov@gmail.com.

Message from Montgomery County: Our community is stronger when we’re all protected. The best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and widely available. The COVID-19 vaccine will protect you from severe illness, hospitalization, and death; and protects vulnerable people in your community who can’t get the vaccine. A healthier community starts with you. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, call the Montgomery County Office of Public Health at 610-278-5117 or visit https://www.montcopa.org/3660/COVID-19-Vaccine.


Since we do not stream services at our church every week, we invite you to click on one of the following links to partake of Badarak at any of the following:

https://www.facebook.com/SSSMAAC/live/ (St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Church)
http://www.stleon.org (St Leon Live Stream)
https://www.facebook.com/stvartancathedral (St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral)
http://www.holy-martyrs.org (Holy Martyrs Live Stream)