ADVENT: THE ARMENIAN CHURCH
Christianity is said to have been brought to Armenia by the apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the first century. Today, Armenian churches can be found across the Middle East, particularly in Turkey and Iran.
Ancient church tradition holds that Jesus was baptised on his 30th birthday. Because of this, the Armenian church celebrates both Jesus’ birth and baptism on the same day, 6 January, known as “the Feast of Nativity and Theophany”. In celebrating the two events together, Armenians contemplate both the humanity and divinity of Christ.
The feast is marked with a beautiful service called the “Blessing of Water”, full of rich symbolism of the waters of baptism and renewal. During the service, a12th century Armenian hymn about Jesus’ birth and baptism, Ov Zarmanalee, is sung:
“How wonderful that this mystery is revealed; the Creator God has come to Jordan. O River, do not fear, I am your creator; I have come to be baptised and am cleansing sins.”
PRAY AND READ
- Praise God that SAT-7 is building positive relationships with the Armenian Church in Turkey.
- Read the accounts of Jesus’ birth and baptism in Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 3:13-17. How do these two stories show that Jesus is human, as well as the Son of God?