YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The province of Syunik will be the site of the next collective baptism on July 24th–27th and 28th–with some 1700 Armenia’s to be baptized. This undertaking has been organized by the 1700th anniversary church committee and will be realized by prominent religious leaders Arch. Mesrob Ashjian and Arch. Abraham Mkrtchian–primate of the Syunik diocese.
The 1700th Anniversary commission told Noyan Tapan that His Holiness Karekin II–Catholicos of All Armenia’s has given his blessing to the baptizing ceremony. Participants will include 1700th Anniversary executive-secretary Arch. Hovnan Terterian–Arch. Tatev Sargisian–several Etchmiadzin monks–Priest Vardan Gasparian from St. Louis (US),as well as other guests from Armenia and the Diaspora. Vartkes Margarian–who resides in Providence–Rhode Island–has been chosen to act as principal godfather of the ceremonies. Nevertheless–according to the holy canon of the Armenian Church–each individual should have a godfather of his own. The organizers have taken care of this by securing Armenian soldiers as godfathers for those who will need godfathers.
The three-day baptisms will take place in historical sites and churches throughout Syunik. The first ceremony will be held on July the 24th under the patronage of Hermonavank (in Yegheknadzor)–which was founded by Smbat Iskhan of Syunik in 936. The baptized will gather on the right bank of the Yeghegis River under the royal flags of the historic Armenian kingdoms of Artashisian–Arshakunyats–Bagratunyan–Rubinian as well as other historical principalities.
The second baptism will take place on July 27th–at the St. Grigor Lusavoritch Church in Goris. The church was originally constructed by Khrimian Hayrik–but was finally completed in 1996 and consecrated by the late Karekin I.
The final ceremony will be held on July 28 with the last group of people to be baptized in the St. Poghos-Petros Church of Tatev. The entire population of the region is expected to witness the one of a kind ceremony.
Similar baptisms undertaken by the 1700 Anniversary commission–have already been held in Kapan–Abovyan–Yervandashat–Etchmiadzin and other cities throughout Armenia.