Last Sunday, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I presided over the Pilgrimage Day of Antelias, which coincides with the feast of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Commitment to the Pit, which the Armenian Church celebrated on Saturday, March 21.

On the eve of Pilgrimage Day, the faithful spend the night at the courtyard of the monastery of Antelias Monastery, walking in a procession around the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral while they pray. The following morning, according to the tradition, they take part in the procession inside the church during Divine Liturgy, which was cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

The celebrant, Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian, quoted Hebrews 13:7 to urge congregants to “remember our leaders,” calling on us to keep in our minds the suffering endured by St. Gregory and his mission, and “see” the testimony of his faith. In these times of crisis, when desperation is eating away at our souls, we should find inspiration in our history to come out of the depths of the pit, Archbishop Shahan said in his sermon.

He concluded his homily by saying that, “Today we collectively remember and celebrate the commitment of St. Gregory the Illuminator to the Pit and the Pilgrimage Day, consecrated exactly 90 years ago, on March 16, 1931, by the gracious decision of Catholicos Sahag II Khabayan, of blessed memory.”

At the end of the liturgy, His Holiness celebrated the blessing of the water with the Right Hand of the Illuminator, praying that God protect the life of our people with the strong faith of the saint and destroy the barrier of evil and sins that surrounds us.