It is a respected tradition in the Armenian Church for families to request requiem prayers for the soul of their loved ones who have passed away.
According to the teachings of the Armenian Church, those who have died enter into a period of rest while awaiting our Lord’s glorious second coming at the end of time. But while separated from the Christian community, the souls that are resting continue to be counted among the faithful, who “rest in the shadow of the church.” We therefore pray for them, as we pray for all our earthly cares. Essentially, our prayer for the dead is that they rest in peace, that the Lord forgive them all of their sins and find them worthy of eternal life in the Father’s kingdom when Christ comes again.
We believe that with the Resurrection of Christ the barrier between the living and the dead has been vanished. By His Resurrection, Christ conquered death. The Church of those who have fallen asleep in Christ is as real as of those who live on this earth. This is why our Church teaches us that not only can we pray for those who have departed, but they can also pray for us and intercede on our behalf until the second coming of Christ, when all will stand before the Righteous Judge.
Praying for the dead is a proclamation of our faith in Christ’s second coming, and our hope in the resurrection of the dead. When the Armenian Church prays regularly for the dead we are reminded that life is transient, and we are filled with hope because we believe that death is too.
In our Church, the most common times to request a Hokehankist are on the 7th, 40th (Karasoonk) Day following a death, on the occasion of the 1st year anniversary and all the following anniversaries.
The Gospel is read for the soul of the departed and at the end of the service the priest recites the prayer “Christ, Son of God” during which he mentions the name of the departed ones asking from the “forbearing and compassionate” Son of God, to remember and have mercy on them.
It is important to know that the Armenian Church does not have Hokehankist on the Five Tabernacle Feast days (Christmas, Easter, Vartavar, Assumption and Khatchverats).
Instead, the Monday following the Feast days is designated specially for the departed souls (Merelots). On these days, the loved ones and friends of the deceased gather together at the cemetery for a Hokehankist prayer with the conviction that death is not simply the end, but rather a passing into a new reality, where the immortal soul of man enters into another position, a place where there is no sickness and pain.
Please click on this link to Organise a Requiem Service.