YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Among the events scheduled by the Church Commission overseeing preparations for the celebration of the 17th centenary of the proclamation of Christianity as a state religion in Armenia is also a collective baptism of children born in Armenia in the period of January 1 to February 14. The ritual will be performed in the Mother See of St. Etchmiadzin on July 24 and 25 and will also be dedicated to the 2000th anniversary of Holy Nativity.
Preparations are underway–with dioceses and patriarchies of the Armenian Apostolic Church–Armenia’s ministries of health and nature protection involved in the preparatory stage. The program has been approved and blessed by Catholicos of All Armenia’s Karekin II–who will lead the ceremonial baptism of infants. The 1700th Anniversary Office will cover all travel and food expenses of up to four members of each infant’s family. All infants baptized will receive crosses and special gifts.
A tree-planting event is scheduled to be organized near maternity houses and churches in Etchmiadzin in March. An apple tree for each newborn will be planted in these days. Special notes indicating the first and last names of the baptized infants will be fixed to the branches of the apple trees on the day of the baptism. The apple trees will be growing up along with the children–who are supposed to take care of the trees later in the future.