Armenia: Sundays in Etchmiadzin

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Sunday is church day in Etchmiadzin (‘the Vatican’ of the Armenian Apostolic Church). Around 11 in the morning a great variety of people gather at the Mother Cathedral for a mass that takes up to three hours. Today was a special one as there were nine new priests to be ordained. Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians presided over the celebration of Divine Liturgy. The newly-ordained turned to the people and knelt, raised their hands and renounced secular life and were called to the priesthood. The bishop consecrated the foreheads, then the right and left hands of the new priests with Holy Chrism and gave them new names. During the ceremony they change robes and make the transition to priesthood. At the end the newly ordained priests conveyed their first blessings to the attendees. The choir provided the beautiful liturgical chants that moves people to tears

I like most to observe all that is going on away from the ‘main stage’: see how people participate, how they light candles and take a moment for themselves, I like the way the priests are greeted by family members.. I can walk around and observe for hours…

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