Exchange of Greetings with the Armenian Orthodox Church

In the first centuries of the Church, several Christians celebrated on January 6th Christmas (the incarnation of Jesus), the Epiphany (the revelation of Christ’s divinity), and the Wedding Feast of Cana (Jesus’ first “official” miracle).
The Armenian Orthodox Church, called Apostolic, has chosen to maintain this early tradition and to not separate these feasts which are gathered under the title of “Theophany”, literally “revelation.” Thus is celebrated on the same day: the coming of Christ on earth and his revelation as Son of God through the celebration of his baptism.
According to the “Status Quo” of the holy places, the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate celebrates the Theophany on January 19 in Jerusalem.
Every year, on the day following the feast, representatives of the various Christian denominations in Jerusalem visit the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate to present their greetings. A small misunderstanding on the time of the appointments resulted in gathering together three of the co-owners of the Holy Places, representatives of the Greek Orthodox and the Franciscans met in the Armenians’ diwan (living room).
Nourhan Manougian I, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, received the two communities in a packed diwan, inviting them to pray for this “Middle East torn to pieces and, above all, for Syria,” hoping first of all for the faithful’s health and energy and for the men of the Church living in this part of the world.
Fra Dobromir, head of the Franciscan delegation, then spoke, saying: “We must never forget what we have received from the Lord and which we must share with others. Let me repeat, in the name of my Franciscan brothers, our joy to be near the Armenian Church on this day of celebration: Glory to God in the highest!”
The Armenian Orthodox Church of Jerusalem is comprised of more than 4,000 faithful. In this period of celebration, the Church receives tourists and members of the many Armenian fraternities of the diaspora. Canadians, Lebanese, Americans and French were present in the diwan at the time of the Friars’ visit. As they were leaving, the Franciscans crossed paths with representatives of the Latin Patriarchate and the Coptic Orthodox who were waiting to be received.
The Armenians, without planning it, had in a certain way fast-forwarded the week of prayer for the unity of Christians which, officially, begins only January 25th!


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