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Holy Mysteries In Armenia – Once Every 7 Years

Rev John Barker writes from Yerevan in Armenia; “We were very glad to welcome Bishop Martin Wharton as Archbishop Justin's representative for the Holy Muron Feast. In Armenia, the Blessing of the Holy Chrism oils takes place only once every seven years and so I am both lucky and privileged to have been in Yerevan at this time.  Bishop Martin arrived on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning we celebrated Eucharist as an Anglican congregation, with Bishop Martin preaching and presiding. We used the newly refurbished lower chapel at Surb Zorazor because our liturgy coincided with the main Apostolic liturgy of the day, and we managed to fill it, with representatives of at least six nationalities and probably as many Christian denominations!

“In the afternoon we made our way through the congestion of traffic and crowds of people to Holy Etchmiadzin where we were able to participate in the Service of Blessing. There were literally thousands of people there, including many representatives from churches from all around the world. The liturgy was both spectacular and rich, with excellent singing both by the priests and by the cathedral choir. His Holiness, Catholicos Karekin II, read the Holy Gospel and led the liturgy, having processed to the open air service from the Cathedral surrounded by the deacons who had been entrusted in the preceding days with mixing the chrism oils. The ingredients were added sequentially during the week by His Holiness, preserving the mystery of the recipe that is passed from Catholicos to Catholicos over time.”