Every year, on the Thursday preceding the Great Lent, the Armenian Church celebrates the anniversary of one of the most important events in her history. The event is the great battle of Avarayr between the Armenian soldiers of Christ and the mighty Sassanid Zoroastrian army in the year 451 A. D.

This year, on Thursday 8 February 2024, we were joined once again by the students of AGBU Alexander Primary School and Galstaun College who joined us for the Soorp Badarak followed by a program dedicated to the bravery and deep faith of Vartan Mamigonian.

Following the program, three students from the two schools received the annual Holy Resurrection Church award for exemplary student behaviour demonstrated throughout the school year. From Galstaun College – Palik Kouzikarayan Year 8, Karine Zilifian Year 3 and from AGBU Alexander Primary School – Serineh Mahmur Year 5.

Today, after many centuries, when silence has reigned on the field of Avarayr, the spirit of St. Vartan continues to bring us the sacred legacy of the Defenders of Faith whispering into our ears and saying, “Stand steadfast in your faith, do not be deceived by earthly kingdoms, idols or treasures, keep your covenant strong with God and be true soldiers of Christ.”

On the feast of Vartanants, we congratulate the Name’s Day of all those who bear the name of Vartan Mamigonian and his generals Khoren, Ardag, Hmayak, Dajad, Vahan, Arsen and Karekin. In memory of the 1,036 martyr soldiers, it is also the day of those who do not have a Name Day.

In the Armenian Church, the Feast day of St Vartan the Captain and Companions is also celebrated as the Naming Day of His Holiness Karekin II. To mark the occasion, at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, a Pontifical Prayer (Hayrabedagan Maghtank) is offered.