The liturgical season of Lent prepared us for the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The fathers of the Church designated the 50 days following Easter (Hinoonk) for the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord. Thus, from Easter until Pentecost, the liturgical services of the Church are indeed celebrations of the Risen Christ.
Apart from the specially designated Sundays, two other feasts are commemorated during Hinoonk.
The Saturday following Easter, the Armenian Church commemorates the Beheading of St John the Baptist (also known as the Forerunner).
The first 40 days end with the Feast of Ascension, which is celebrated on the Thursday of the sixth week of Resurrection.
During Hinoonk, the Lectionary is arranged such that every day a passage is read from the Book of Acts of the Apostles to impress upon us the effect of the Resurrection of Christ on his disciples and the formation and the development of the Christian community. A passage from each Gospel is read everyday from the beginning until the Passion narratives: Luke at Matins, John at the Divine Liturgy, Matthew at the beginning and Mark at the end of Vespers. The Blessing of the Fields (The Four Corners of the World Antasdan) Service is offered every Sunday, as it was on Easter Sunday. We thus continue to greet one another with the good news that:
Christ is Risen from the Dead
Krisdos Haryav ee Merelots.
Each of the Sundays following Easter have a special designation.
New Sunday or Renewal Sunday (Nor Giragi) is also called Second Easter (Grgnazadig), which means “Easter repeated” as it is the eighth day of Easter and a day similar to Easter in readings and hymns.
Sunday of the World Church (Green Sunday)
The second Sunday of Easter commemorates the first Church of Jerusalem, established by Christ. On the first day of the Jewish festival of Passover, Jesus instructs two of the Apostles, Peter and John, to go into Jerusalem and meet a man, who would direct them to a house where Christ and His Apostles could celebrate the Passover Feast. Peter and John are led to the “Upper Room” of a house, where they make the necessary preparations for the meal. Later that evening, Christ and the Twelve Apostles sit together to eat supper. This “Last Supper” was the event where Jesus Christ established the Sacrament of Holy Communion, which we celebrate every Sunday during the Divine Liturgy in Armenian Churches throughout the world. The Upper Room in Jerusalem is considered to be the first Church, as founded by Christ. The Sunday of the World Church is also called “Green” Sunday, which according to Archbishop Malachia Ormanian, is the popular name of the feast and is linked with the awakening of nature in the Springtime.
Although there seems to be no ecclesiastical origin or significance for Red Sunday, the colour red recalls numerous themes within Christianity and the tradition of the Armenian Church. It is the blood of Jesus Christ that redeems and heals us, the source of life which spilled into the ground from the Cross to give life and salvation to the entire created order.
The colour red also recalls the blood of the Church martyrs: those who follow the pattern of Jesus, those men and women who demonstrated valiant faith, unafraid to die for Jesus Christ, confident in his words and promise to raise to new life for those who know and follow him.
Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross
This feast is dedicated to the Apparition of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.
Second Palm Sunday
The name of the feast has been derived from Palm Sunday, which precedes Easter. The Second Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the triumphant entry of the Ascended Christ into the Heavenly Jerusalem, where the angels meet him with great happiness and delight.
Second Palm Sunday is a reminder of the hope to ascend to heaven after our deaths, and being in the bliss of God’s presence.
Feast of Pentecost (Hokekaloust)
The coming of the Holy Spirit (or Hokekaloust in Armenian) is celebrated by the Armenian Church, as in all Christian churches, 50 days after Easter.