The second of the six-part Prelacy Lenten program took place last night, February 29, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, presided by His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan. The speaker was His Grace Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General, who spoke on “The Bible in our Worship Services.”
Bishop Anoushavan prefaced his presentation by underscoring the fact that the Armenian Church, in all aspects of her life, is biblical through and through. He then went on to demonstrate that fact in one area of the life of the Church—in the worship services of the Armenian Church, focusing on the hymns (sharagan). Srpazan Hayr first spoke about the structure of the Armenian Church hymns in the cycle of the daily services, based on the eight-mode system, with introductory verses taken from the Psalms and canticles from the Bible. He then showed the participants how our hymns either quote directly from the Bible, or allude to an image or echo an event from the Bible, using three different types of hymns—a penitential hymn attributed to St. Mesrop Mashdotz (Hayr pazoommoghorm, “O greatly merciful Father…”), a hymn from the Husgoom service (i ken haytsemk, “We entreat you…”), and a pre-communion hymn from Soorp Badarak (Orhnyal e Asdvadz, “Blessed is God…”). A lively discussion ensued after the informative presentation.
The program began with the Lenten Service (Husgoom) from 7:30-8:00pm, followed by the lecture and Q/A (8:00-8:45pm), and concluded with table fellowship. Next Wednesday, the speaker will be Rev. Fr. Paul Tarazi, Professor of Biblical Studies at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminar (Crestwood, NY), and he will reflect on “All Scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Timothy 3:16).