GLENDALE–According to the calendar of the Armenian Apostolic Church–February 14 is the Feast of Dyarntarach–a feast that symbolizes the dedication of the Lord to the temple.
Armenia’s all over the world–including the Western Prelacy faithful–celebrated this feast Monday–February 13–with unique ceremonies and traditional celebrations. On this occasion and under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Prelate–special services took place in all the Prelacy churches followed by the traditional lighting of the bonfire.
The Prelate–joined by Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian–Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian–pastors of St. Mary’s–and before crowds of parishioners–presided over services at Glendale’s St. Mary’s Church. Also present were members of the Executive Council and representatives of various organizations.
The theme of the Prelate’s sermon was the acceptance of Jesus Christ into our hearts with faith. He reminded the faithful that Christ fulfilled his earthly mission by complying with the Lord’s Divine law–thus setting an important example for mankind. He also spoke of the significance of the heavenly light as the illumination for our lives and the force that will lead us to goodness: "It is the light which makes us wise and brightens our lives–transforming us into enlightened servants," said the Prelate and added that the Good Lord blesses those who follow in this path. He then welcomed the Homenetmen’scouts who are traditionally present at this ceremony.
At the conclusion of the service–clergy members took children of the faithful around the altar following the example of Jesus being presented to the temple–while Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian sang a centuries old song unique to this feast.
Following the church services–the Prelate–clergy members–and faithful gathered in the church courtyard to light the bonfire. The organizing and supervision of the bonfire was entrusted to the Homenetmen’scouts. The joy among the youth was apparent as they participated in this tradition by jumping over the fire. Those gathered around the fire then joined the clergy in the singing of songs dedicated to St. Vartan and also nationalistic songs–after which they headed home–lit candles in hand.
After the bonfire ceremony–Archbishop Mardirossian–members of clergy–Executive Council representatives–and Homenetmen’scouts gathered at the church hall where a reception was held–organized by Homenetmen. The master of ceremonies was Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian of St. Mary’s Church. Hrair Boyadjian of Homenetmen welcomed the guests and expressed his thanks to the Prelate for offering them this opportunity–then introduced scout leaders and representatives from different regions. Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian briefly spoke about the meaning of Dyarntarach and the traditions associated with it–followed by a question and answer session.
In his closing remarks–the Prelate praised and encouraged the Homenetmen’scouts. He then presented the guests with mementos after which the evening came to an end with the singing of the Homenetmen anthem followed by the "Bahbanich" prayer.