Antelias Pilgrimage Day

 

Antelias Pilgrimage Day, celebrated on the Feast of St. Gregory’s Descent into the Pit, is of special significance to Armenian faithful.  Besides the Blessing of the Holy Chrism every seven years, it is the only day of the year that the relic of the right hand of St. Gregory is revealed to the faithful.  On this day, pilgrims flock to St. Gregory the Illuminator Mother Cathedral in Antelias for a chance to receive the blessings of St. Gregory through this relic.

On Sunday, April 6, 2014, Divine Liturgy was celebrated at St. Gregory Mother Cathedral presided over by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, and with the participation of Brotherhood members from around the world.  H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, participated in the festivities. A number of services were also conducted throughout the day on the eve of the feast.

The celebrant was H.E. Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian, Prelacy of Aleppo. In his sermon, Archbishop Sarkissian beseeched the intercession of St. Gregory of Illuminator for the safeguarding and protection of the Armenian people. On behalf of the Aleppo Armenian community, His Eminence thanked His Holiness for his concern and tireless efforts in supporting the needs of the Armenian population. Thanks to His Holiness, Catholicosate Prelacies worldwide lent their support and will surely continue to do so, especially given the current situation in Kessab, concluded Archbishop Sarkissian.

Following the service, His Holiness led the traditional procession around the courtyard of the Catholicosate.  Thousands of faithful of all ages had come to receive the blessing of St. Gregory.  In keeping with tradition, the Catholicosate had also displayed relics of other saints.

The ceremony continued inside the Cathedral with the blessing of water by the relic of St. Gregory, during which His Holiness offered prayers for St. Gregory to illuminate our minds, hearts, and souls, strengthen us with hope, cleanse our bodies and spirits, grant health to the sick, and grace the Armenian people with divine blessings, for the splendor of the Armenian church and the endurance of the Armenian nation.

The relic remained on the altar late into the night to give faithful the opportunity to receive blessings.

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