Transfiguration of Christ

The Lord appears to His disciples today on Mount Tabor
and the boys marveled and said in supplication:
"Let us build three tents, one for the Lord,
and one for Moses, and one for Elijah".

Now we sing, the sensible flock,
with the true witnesses:
Send us your light of grace at your second coming
and make us alive.

Annually, 14 weeks or 98 days after Easter Sunday, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ (arm. Այլակերպութիւն Տեառն մերոյ Հիսուսի Քրիստոսի). "Vardavar" (arm. Վարդավառ) called. This festival, which is one of the five high festivals of the Armenian Church, combines, like many other church festivals, the religious and the popular.

In the Christian sense, this festival commemorates an important event in the life of our Lord (cf Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:1-7; Luke 9:29-36 such as 2 Peter 1:17-18). This event takes place in the final stage of the Lord's earthly life. Before this event, Christ had spoken to his disciples about his impending death, which left his disciples in despair and uncertainty. Jesus' announcements were very pessimistic. The disciples could not believe their ears: "God forbid that, Lord! This must not happen to you" (Matthew 16:22). But the Lord announced a thorny path for them too: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). Certainly the disciples were in great distress. And a week after this conversation, the glorious and wonderful event of the Transfiguration of the Lord took place on the top of Mount Tabor.

The evangelist Matthew reports: “Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up a high mountain. And he was changed before their eyes; his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became blindingly white like the light. …A luminous cloud cast its shadow on them, and out of the cloud a voice cried: This is my beloved son, in whom I have found delight; you should listen to him"( Matthew 17:1-2:5). With this last sentence, Christ's three-year ministry on earth began with his baptism in the Jordan (cf Matthew 3:17). This phrase is repeated at his transfiguration, thus affirming the divine power and glory of the Lord. And the disciples were witnesses of this glorious and wonderful event and "They saw him in all his majesty" (Luke 9:32) and announced it.

For the Vardavar high festival, the hymn (charakan) "You who were glorified on the mountain and showed your divine power" sung. The hymn was most likely written by St. Movses Chorenatzi in the 5th century.

From: S. Isakhanyan, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, Etchmiadzin, 2012

Annually, 14 weeks or 98 days after Easter Sunday, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ (arm. Այլակերպութիւն Տեառն մերոյ Հիսուսի Քրիստոսի). "Vardavar" (arm. Վարդավառ) called. This festival, which is one of the five high festivals of the Armenian Church, combines, like many other church festivals, the religious and the popular.

In the Christian sense, this festival commemorates an important event in the life of our Lord (cf Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:1-7; Luke 9:29-36 such as 2 Peter 1:17-18). This event takes place in the final stage of the Lord's earthly life. Before this event, Christ had spoken to his disciples about his impending death, which left his disciples in despair and uncertainty. Jesus' announcements were very pessimistic. The disciples could not believe their ears: "God forbid that, Lord! This must not happen to you" (Matthew 16:22). But the Lord announced a thorny path for them too: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). Certainly the disciples were in great distress. And a week after this conversation, the glorious and wonderful event of the Transfiguration of the Lord took place on the top of Mount Tabor.[1]

The evangelist Matthew reports: “Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up a high mountain. And he was changed before their eyes; his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became blindingly white like the light. …A luminous cloud cast its shadow on them, and out of the cloud a voice cried: This is my beloved son, in whom I have found delight; you should listen to him"( Matthew 17:1-2:5). With this last sentence, Christ's three-year ministry on earth began with his baptism in the Jordan (cf Matthew 3:17). This phrase is repeated at his transfiguration, thus affirming the divine power and glory of the Lord. And the disciples were witnesses of this glorious and wonderful event and "They saw him in all his majesty" (Luke 9:32) and announced it.

For the Vardavar high festival, the hymn (charakan) "You who were glorified on the mountain and showed your divine power" sung. The hymn was most likely written by St. Movses Chorenatzi in the 5th century.


[1] The evangelists do not mention the name of the mountain, but in early Christianity it was widely believed that it happened on Mount Tabor. Peter names him "Sacred mountain".

From: S. Isakhanyan, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, Etchmiadzin, 2012

Origin of the term "Vardavar"

The exact meaning of the word "Vardavar" is unknown and is explained in very different ways.

According to some linguists, the word exists "Vardavar" from two Old Persian words. "vard" means Old Persian "Water" and "var" means "splash" or "to wash". They claim to have found an explanation for the widespread spraying with water.

The others think so "Vardavar" about "firebrand" means. The reason for this declaration is the fact that the sun in Armenia reaches its highest point in July and the nature burns and dries up under its hot and scorching rays. Because of this, people sprinkled themselves with water and asked gods for the water.

Other linguists bring the word "Vardavar" associated with the goddess Astghik, who also "Vardamatn" was called because she had rose fingers. And they mean that the root of "Vardavar" the Armenian word "vard" (rose) is. Astghik spread love in Armenia by giving roses and spraying rose water, and the weak Vahagn always defended this love fighting evil, because without love, nature is covered with thorns and prickles.

A beautiful and interesting Armenian story tells about the origin of the red roses: one day Astghik hears the sad news about the fatal injury of her lover and rushes to him barefoot. On the way she steps on thorny rose bushes and the blood from her injured feet turns the roses red. And this is how the flower of love is created – the red rose.

According to the Church Fathers, the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord is also popularly known as "Vardavar", because the Lord is compared to the rose. Just as the beauty of the rose remains hidden in its bud until it blossoms, so Jesus had the splendor of his divinity within him until he was transfigured. And just as the rose blossoms and reveals its splendor and beauty, so Jesus radiates his splendor and divine glory through the transfiguration. And as the rose smells sweet, so through his transfiguration smells the divine fragrance of the Lord.

As the rose grows among thorns, so our Lord appeared among the rejecting and rejecting unbelievers who crucified him.

festival folk customs

Because the Feast of the Transfiguration or "Vardavar" Often falling in July, it gradually took the place of the celebrations dedicated in Armenian mythology to Astghik, the goddess of love and beauty. Although this day acquired a different meaning and meaning due to the Feast of the Transfiguration, folk traditions and some pagan customs remained alive in people's memory.

To this day, it is a tradition among our compatriots to hold various folk festivals and competitions on the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ (Vardavar), to spray each other with water, to release doves, to give each other bouquets of roses, etc.

The traditional Armenian tale associates the showering of one another with water and the flying of doves with the Old Testament Deluge and Noah. It is told that when Noah descended from Mount Ararat after the Flood, he ordered his sons to sprinkle water on themselves and this custom was passed on from generation to generation as a sign of remembrance of the Flood. The release of doves into the air is also associated with Noah. The Bible records that Noah sent a dove flying to mark the end of the flood (cf Gen 8, 8). Armenians commemorate the Flood and Noah by releasing doves on the Vardavar festival.

All these beautiful customs, widespread in the pre-Christian period, were not rejected by the Armenian Church, and they continued their existence in the Christian period as well.

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The Annual Cycle

  • Nativity and Theophany
  • Lent
  • Easter
  • Pentecost
  • transfiguration of the Lord
  • Assumption of Mary into heaven
  • Cross Exaltation Festival
  • Hisnak or Advent season

THE FIVE HIGH STRENGTH

The Armenian Apostolic Church has five main festivals called "Taghawar toner" (Arm. Տաղաւար Տօներ). This designation most likely comes from the Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles (arm. Taghawaraharats ton / Տաղաւարհարաց Տօն). The Armenian word "taghawaraharats" is composed of the roots "taghawar" (hut, tent) and "harel" (to beat, to prepare). Since the Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated over several days, believers and pilgrims had to pitch a tent or build a hut. The Armenian word "Taghawaraharats" was in all probability changed or shortened to "Taghawar".

The five main festivals of the Armenian Church were also celebrated for more than three days and many believers not only made the pilgrimage to the main festivals but also to other festivals to places of pilgrimage and lived there in tents (Arm. Taghawar / Տաղաւար). This tradition has been preserved in some places to this day. An example is the pilgrimage of the Iranian Armenians to the St. Taddäus church.

On the eve of the five main festivals, a special ceremony called the "pre-festival" (Arm. Նախատօնակ) is held. This is already considered the beginning of the respective main festival.

The Armenian Apostolic Church has five main festivals called "Taghawar toner" (Arm. Տաղաւար Տօներ). This designation most likely comes from the Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles (arm. Taghawaraharats ton / Տաղաւարհարաց Տօն). The Armenian word "taghawaraharats" is composed of the roots "taghawar" (hut, tent) and "harel" (to beat, to prepare). Since the Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated over several days, believers and pilgrims had to pitch a tent or build a hut. The Armenian word "Taghawaraharats" was in all probability changed or shortened to "Taghawar".

The five main festivals of the Armenian Church were also celebrated for more than three days and many believers not only made the pilgrimage to the main festivals but also to other festivals to places of pilgrimage and lived there in tents (Arm. Taghawar / Տաղաւար). This tradition has been preserved in some places to this day. An example is the pilgrimage of the Iranian Armenians to the St. Taddäus church.

On the eve of the five main festivals, a special ceremony called the "pre-festival" (Arm. Նախատօնակ) is held. This is already considered the beginning of the respective main festival.

SOPHISTICATION OF THE CHURCH

SOPHISTICATION OF THE CHURCH

SOPHISTICATION OF THE CHURCH

SOPHISTICATION OF THE CHURCH

SOPHISTICATION OF THE CHURCH

The classification of festivals

Theophany / Surb Tsnund (immobile)

  • Jesus' birth and baptism (Christmas) - 6th January
  • Naming of the Lord (8th day of birth) – January 13th
  • Presentation of the Lord in the Temple – February 14 (40th day)

Resurrection (Easter):  (Moving between March 22 and April 25) 
Celebrations associated with Christ's resurrection include:

  • Remembering the resurrection of Lazarus by Christ
  • Palm Sunday and Holy Week
  • The period of 40 days from Easter to Ascension
  • Pentecost (7 Sundays after Easter, between May 10th and June 13th)

Transfiguration / Wardawar (7 Sundays after Pentecost)

  • Annunciation – April 7 (immobile)
  • Discovery of the Blessed Mother's chest (fifth Sunday after Pentecost)
  • Assumption Day (the Sunday closest to August 15)
  • Discovery of the Belt of the Blessed Mother (second Sunday after the Assumption of the Virgin Mary)
  • Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary – September 8 (immobile)
  • Introduction of Mary into the Temple – November 21 (fixed)
  • Conception of Mary by Anna – December 9 (immobile)

Feasts of the Holy Cross

  1. Apparition of the Holy Cross (Fourth Sunday after Easter)
  2. Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sunday closest to September 14)
  3. Holy Cross of Varak (Third Sunday after the Exaltation of the Cross)
  4. Finding of the Holy Cross (Seventh Sunday of the Exaltation of the Cross)

Feasts of the Holy Church

  1. New Sunday (first Sunday after Easter)
  2. Green Sunday (second Sunday after Easter)
  3. Red Sunday (third Sunday after Easter)
  4. Feast of Saint Echmiadzin (second Sunday after Pentecost)
  5. Commemoration of the Old Ark of the Covenant and the Feast of the New - the Holy Church (Saturday before the Transfiguration)
  6. Shoghagate Feast of Echmiadzin (Saturday before the Assumption of Mary)

In the Armenian Apostolic Church, the saint is commemorated on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. During Great Lent, saints' days are celebrated only on Saturdays, and no saints' days are celebrated during the Easter Triad.

The Saints can be divided into three groups:

This group of saints includes Old and New Testament saints such as B. the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament, or St. John the Baptist, the disciples and the evangelists.

These include saints celebrated by the entire Church. They are saints such as St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory the Theologian, the bishops of the first three ecumenical councils and many others.

This group includes saints who have their lineage in the Armenian Church or who are primarily venerated here. There are saints like B. the Virgin Sanducht, St. Gregory the Illuminator, St. King Trdat (Tiridates) and Queen Ash'chen, St. Mesrop Maschtotz and the Catholicos St. Sahak Partev, Movses Khorenatsi and other translators up to St Nerses Schnorhali, the Holy Priests of the Ghewont, the Saints of the Vardananz and more. In 2015, the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide were elevated to the rank of Holy Martyrs and canonized.

A.Pahq – No food of animal origin (vegan)
B. Tsom – Abstaining from any food (usually only on Sundays before receiving Communion and on Good Friday)

– Great Lent before Easter from Bun Barekendan to Palm Sunday
– Holy Week from Holy Monday to Easter
– Hisnak from Hisnakats Barekendan to Christmas. (about 50 days before Christmas. It used to be intended for all believers, currently it applies to the clergy)

There are ten week-long fasts preceding major festivals and observances, observed Monday through Friday. The exception is the 6-day fast before Christmas:

  1. Fasting before Christmas: December 30th – January 4th
  2. Fasting of catechumens
  3. Fasting before the memorial of Holy Prophet Elijah
  4. Fasting before the feast day of St. Gregory the Illuminator
  5. Fasting before the Transfiguration Feast
  6. Fasting before the Feast of the Assumption of Mary
  7. Fasting before the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
  8. Fasting before the feast of the Holy Cross of Varag
  9. Hisnak/Advent Fast
  10. Fasting before the feast of St. James (Surb Hakob)

– Every Wednesday and Friday except the 40 days from Easter to Ascension Day and the eight days after Christmas.