Feast Days

Presentation of the Lord to the Temple – Diarnuntarach

Forty days after Christ was born, he was presented to God in the Jerusalem Temple by his parents.  The story of the Presentation is told by St. Luke (2:22-29).  Baby Jesus was taken to the Temple and was dedicated to God by Simeon the Elder and the prophetess Anna.  According to the custom, if the parents were capable, they were to bring a lamb to be offered as a sacrifice at the Temple. If the parents were poor, they were to offer two pigeons or two turtle doves for the sacrifice. 

Simeon the Elder was a holy man, and it was “revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Messiah” (Luke 2:26).  In the Temple Simeon met the Messiah, took him in his arms and dedicated him to God, saying, “Lord, now let your servant go in peace according to your promise, because my eyes have seen Your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all people, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and for the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).  

In the Temple there was also Anna the Prophetess who spent her time in the Temple worshipping, praying and fasting. When she saw baby Jesus she praised God and “spoke of Jesus to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).

After Jesus was presented to the Temple, the family returned to Galillee to the town of Nazareth. The Gospel tells us that Jesus grew strong and was filled with wisdom.

In the Armenian Church, the Feast is celebrated on the evening of February 13th and on February 14th.  The Feast is called “Diarnuntarach,” which means to go before the Lord. On the evening of February 13th, clergy and parishioners gather at the church for prayer before the holy altar to praise and thank God for giving the Messiah to the world for the salvation of mankind.  Then the priest lights a candle from the holy altar and takes it outside to the courtyard to light the fire of Derundess/Terentes, meaning to see the Lord.  People gather around the fire, sing songs, recite prayers and make their wishes.  The newly wed couples, the engaged, and the young at heart jump over the flames by making a wish. The light of the fire symbolizes the Light of Christ as He says, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Traditionally, the Armenian people light their candles and take the light of Diarnuntarach to their homes to let the Light of Christ shine in their homes and bring peace, love hope and healing to all the members of the family.

Fr. Vartan Joulfayan  






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