This Sunday, June 8, is the Feast of Pentecost (Hokekaloust), which is celebrated fifty days after Easter. Jesus had commanded the apostles to “Go therefore to all nations and make them my disciples,” (Matthew 28:19). Recognizing the difficulty of this great responsibility, Christ had advised His disciples not to begin their teaching mission until after the “Descent of the Holy Spirit.”
In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that on the day of Pentecost the apostles gathered in one place, and suddenly a strong wind seemed to fill the house in which they were assembled. “And there appeared to them flames like tongues of fire distributed among them and coming to rest on each one. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them power of utterance,” (Acts 2:2-4).
It was the Jewish feast of Pentecost (Shabuoth) commemorating the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, and many people from different lands had come to Jerusalem. They marveled that each one of them could understand the Apostles’ words in his own language. This day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles was the beginning of the mission of the Church to spread the Good News throughout the world.
“We celebrate the descent of the Spirit who comforted the apostles having rested in them in tongues of fire, blessed be he forever. We celebrate the manifestation of the Spirit; we confess him God who makes new and gives life; blessed be he forever. Today, filled with joy by the Spirit, we confess as God the Holy Spirit who is procession and fills all things; blessed be he forever. Bless the Lord, O all the works of the Lord, bless and exalt him forever. Bless him who proceeds from the Father, the Holy Spirit, of one essence with the Son and exalt him forever. Bless God who came today in tongues for fire as a word of discernment and exalt him forever.
From the Canon for the First Day of Pentecost according to the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church.