This week, New York became the permanent home to a unique piece of Armenia’s sacred history: a holy relic of St. Vartan the Brave. The relic is the gracious gift of His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, given to the Eastern Diocese in honor of the 45th anniversary of New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral. Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian accepted the relic on behalf of the Diocese during his recent trip to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
The 1,500-year-old relic—a piece of stone encrusted with the blood of Armenia’s 5th-century warrior saint—is encased in a beautiful, hand-crafted silver cross, which was sanctified in a special ceremony at the Holy See in late August.
In its cross-shaped reliquary, the relic of St. Vartan will be unveiled to the public on Sunday, September 15, as part of the official celebration of the 45th anniversary of St. Vartan Cathedral. Archbishop Barsamian will celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the cathedral sanctuary, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The badarak will conclude with a hokehankisd (requiem) service for the souls of the departed cathedral godfathers and cathedral project committee members.
Following the services, a luncheon and program will be held in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium—to which the public is cordially invited. Click here to view a flyer with information on the September 15 event.
If you live in the New York region or are planning to visit this weekend, please join us for this splendid occasion.
Click on the images below to view photos.
Pictured above: In its cross-shaped reliquary, St. Vartan’s relic stands before the cathedral bearing the martyred saint’s name. The relic itself is encased in the gemstone at the center of the cross.