LA CRESCENTA, CA—Very Rev. Father Bartev Gulumian will deliver a lecture about Armenian Church Traditions at the Western Prelacy headquarters in Crescenta Valley on Sunday, January 23 at 1pm.
The discussion will begin after the Sunday church service at the Western Prelacy’s Dikran and Zarouhi Der Ghazarian Hall located at 6252 Honolulu Ave., La Crescenta, California.
Gulumian serves as the Western Prelacy’s Co-Director of Christian Education and is an instructor of religious studies in Prelacy Day Schools. He also oversees youth group activities and Bible study classes at Prelacy parishes. He has also served as Dean of the Seminary in Antelias and has been a conductor of Armenian choirs and an instructor of Religious Studies in Antelias and Rome.
“The feasts and traditions that the Armenians practice today are the legacy of their forefathers,” said Father Gulumian. “This legacy has been passed from generation to generation, changing through the decades and centuries, adapting to the times and events of history.”
According to Gulumian, scholars who have been studying these feasts and traditions have found traces of pagan rituals dating back to the pre-Christian era when Armenians worshiped the sun and fire, water and soil. These included pagan ceremonies dedicated to the good forces of nature and personal wellbeing.
“After the advent of Christianity, Armenian religious feasts and ceremonies changed and were conformed to the Christian faith—a development mirrored in other societies embracing Christianity,” he said. “Despite their pagan roots, both the Armenian Church and the Armenian nation have observed these traditions for the past 1700 years.”
Gulumian, who holds a bachelors in Theology from the Seminary of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilica and a Masters of Arts Degree in Theology from the Pontifical Institute in Rome, explained that many of these feasts and ceremonies have changed over the centuries, adding that some might have even been altogether forgotten or completely changed because of moments of calamity in Armenian history.
“The Armenian Genocide disrupted the momentum and the natural evolution of these feasts, both in Diaspora and in Armenia, resulting in the partial loss of many of the rich social traditions and rituals,” explained Father Gulumian. “It is therefore important that we as individuals try to learn as much as possible about our feasts and national traditions and pass them on to the next generation.”
According to Gulumian, there are many pious customs and traditions connected with the feasts and Saint’s Days of the Armenian Church. “The Sign of the Cross, the Incense, the Home Blessing, the Madagh, the Lighting Candles, the Pilgrimage, the Yughakin, the Grave Blessing and the Hokehankisd (Requiem Service ) are some of the most common customs of our faithful,” he explained.