The Divine Liturgy

The Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church


Zohakordzootyun - Sacrifice
Parapanootyun - Glorification   



“Take, eat; this is my body.”  Then taking the cup he says, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the New Covenant.” (Mt. 26:26) 

Scriptural Reading: Titus 2:11-15

 “For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:11   

The fullest and most complete way of worship is the Holy Eucharist (Thanksgiving) or Soorp Badarak – Holy Sacrifice.  In this service of thanksgiving, devotion and praise, there is saving power through the sacrament of Holy Communion. 

Our Lord instituted this life-giving sacrament on Holy Thursday at the Last Supper.   

The earliest Christians observed the Lord’s Supper in connection with the communal meal.  The term “Agape,” which means “Love Meal,” became connected with the Eucharist as a preliminary service. This is now called “Jashou” – Midday Service or Synaxis. 

The early Christians met at someone’s house for breaking of the bread-the Body of Christ, and sharing of the cup-the Blood of the New Covenant, as the Lord said.  The early Christians worshipped Christ secretly and quietly because of the persecutions of the Romans.  The deacon’s duty was to serve the tables.  The Kiss of Peace was exchanged as a sign of brotherly love (1 Cor. 16:20, 2 Cor. 13:12) 

The order of the Liturgy in the second century was: lections, sermon, prayers, psalms, Kiss of Peace or Holy Kiss, thanksgiving, breaking of the bread and sharing of the cup of wine as the Body and the Blood of the Lord and the Love Meal.  

The Armenian Liturgy book was first printed in 1706, but had reached its final form between 950 and 1177 A. D.


The Divine Liturgy consists of four parts:

A – Vesting of the priest.  The celebrant priest (or bishop), while vesting, recites prayers for each vestment he puts on.  Psalm 131 is recited. 
B – Purification.  While standing in front of the holy altar, the priest washes his hands and makes a public confession.  Psalm 100 is recited.
C – The celebrant priest and the deacons ascend to the holy altar. Psalm 43 is recited.
D – Preparation. The priest receives the gifts: the bread and wine, blesses and offers them to God.  At this point the curtain of the holy altar is closed.

      Midday Office (Synaxis) - Jashoo

A – The curtain opens.  Procession around the church in the nave takes place.  The priest comes down from the holy altar with the deacons and walks among the faithful blessing them with the hand cross and offering incense.  The procession reminds us of our Lord Christ walking among His people, preaching and teaching to His followers.
B – The Lesser Entrance.  The Trisagion Soorp Asdvadz, Holy God, Holy Almighty, Holy Immortal is sung while the deacon, holding the Gospel high above his shoulders, brings it to the celebrant priest. 
C – Scriptural readings.
D – Sermon.  In today’s practice, the sermon is delivered either before the Lord’s Prayer in the middle of the Liturgy or at the end of the Liturgy.
E – The Creed (Confession of Faith) is recited by all.
A – The Great Entrance.  At this point the priest removes his crown and the sleepers.  The deacon lifts up the chalice from the side altar and going around the holy altar brings it to the priest.  The priest and the deacon exchange the Psalm 24:7-10, then taking the chalice from the deacon the priest blesses the people and places it on the main altar.
B – The Kiss of Peace or the Holy Kiss is taken from the holy altar by the deacon and upon the blessing of the celebrant the Holy Kiss is exchanged among the faithful.  In the meantime the hymn “Christ is revealed among us” Xrisdos ee metch mer haydnetsav is sung.
C – The Preface:  This Prayer is the first part of the Eucharistic Prayer.  It praises God for sending His Son to the world for our salvation.
D – The Hymn of the Angels:  “Holy, Holy, Holy (Isaiah 6:3) is sung by the choir and faithful.  At this point the priest taking the unleavened bread repeats Christ’s words: “Take, eat; this is my body.”  Then taking the cup he says, “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the New Covenant, ... (Matthew 26:26-28). 
E – Epiclesis:  The second part of the Eucharistic Prayer.  The priest prays to the Holy Spirit to descend upon the gifts: the bread and wine and transform them into the Body and Blood of Christ.
F – The Intercessions.  The deacons chant praying for the peace of the world, for the stability of the Armenian Church, for the Catholicos, bishops and priests, deacons and civil leaders, travelers, prisoners, for the sick and suffering, for weather, for those who help the poor, for all the living and all the dead.
G – Hymns of Praise.  The first hymn is addressed to Christ: Meeayn Soorp, “The One Holy” is an acclamation that the gifts lifted up by the celebrant are the Body and Blood of our Lord Christ.  The second hymn is sung in praise of the Holy Trinity: Amen Hayr Soorp, Vorteet Soorp, Hokeet Soorp.
H – Then the curtain is closed and the “Lord have Mercy” Der Voghormya is sung, after which, the curtain is opened and the faithful are asked attentively to follow the General Confession read by the deacons.  After the absolution given by the priest the Holy Communion is administered.
I – After the Holy Communion is distributed, the curtain is closed again.  The priest consumes the remaining Holy Communion, washes the chalice, wears his sleepers and the crown and recites the prayer of St. John Chrysostom.  Then the curtain opens and everyone comes down the holy altar to the bema, which is the part between the holy altar and the nave.  Here, the celebrant reads the holy Gospel.  He then offers the last prayer asking Christ to protect and guard the Church, all the faithful and servants under the holy and venerated cross in peace.  Then the celebrant and all the faithful recite the Lord’s Prayer and the priest offers the dismissal prayer.  The holy Liturgy is concluded.
The last Gospel is read.  The Lord’s Prayer is sung and the faithful are dismissed.  Before leaving the church the faithful approach the priest and kiss the Gospel and then depart from the church.
The Divine Liturgy is concluded.    

Soorp Badarak - Explanation, part 1 Armenian
             Soorp Badarak - Explanation, part 2 Armenian
             Soorp Badarak - Explanation, part 3 Armenian




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