Home > Latest News > Church feasts are not memorial days, says Armenian priest

Church feasts are not memorial days, says Armenian priest

Photo by PanARMENIAN
Visiting cemeteries on church holidays is absolutely wrong, says a priest of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Speaking to Tert.am, Rev. Fr. Shahe Ananyan of the Holy See of St Echmiadzin explained that the church clearly distinguishes the days of commemorating the deceased from those intended for the people who are alive and are the its parishioners.
“Yes, there is a custom that people visit the graves the same day, but the Big Feast day is for the believers who live on earth,” he said, adding that the dead should commemorated on the day following the feast.
The priest said such confusion often stems from either ignorance or the conditions that make people visit graves on Sunday.
“People are not to blame if they are unaware. With the Mondays [following the feasts] no longer being working days, it is now quite common to go to the graves on Monday, thank God,” he added.
Asked why the population in the regions visit cemeteries more frequently, the priest said it depends on the local clergymen’s specific work.
“In the places that have a church, the population starts listening to the priest after a couple of preaches and acting accordingly. And that becomes a widespread form of attending liturgies on memorial days. The places that still lack clergy will naturally have difficulty in converting people to the traditional parochial custom,” the reverend friar noted.
Ananyan thinks the public in Yerevan is better informed as it attends holy masses more actively,
“If they attend the masses and listen to the preaches providing the right answer to their questions every time, that will be a way of awareness raising. They can, certainly, visit graves after the mass on the holidays too, but the grave prayer day follows the memorial day,” he added.
The priest said records about memorial days date back to the 4th-5th centuries, when people visited the graves for a liturgy after the Easter.
“There is an ancient tradition churches should host a liturgy first, before everyone visits the grave of his deceased [relative] to burn incense or call a priest upon necessity. But that takes place only after the liturgy,” he said. 

Armenian News

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