Today, as I discovered in church, is the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak. This celebrates the appearance of a relic of the Holy Cross (Sourp Khatch- the same one that we celebrated 2 weeks ago) on an altar in a monestary on Mt. Varak. Mt. Varak is in "historic Armenia," which means that it is not in the actual country of Armenia, but rather in modern-day Turkey.
We had a visiting priest today. Our regular priest was out of town officiating a family wedding. I wish I was able to have an Armenian wedding! The cost would have been prohibitive- we would have had to fly a priest in, put him up somewhere, find a church, pay rental fees, etc. So we just got married at the Baptist church my parents go to for $250. We could have gotten married out here, but this presented a whole other set of money issues. Weddings are MUCH more expensive out here, everyone would have had to fly out here, etc. It was more practical to get married in my hometown. God was still at my wedding, even though it was Protestant and in English.
It would have been a fight on some other levels with my odar husband, because it would have meant that he couldn't have his Jewish best friend as our best man. So... probably for the best that it didn't work out.
I actually missed our regular priest- the visiting priest's English wasn't as good, and he didn't really give a sermon at all, only a brief explanation of what we were celebrating, but Badarak today wasn't really any different than Badarak on other days.
Today was also the first day of Sunday School for the kids. They go to Sunday School during the service. My church is very open and friendly to kids- Der Hayr is a married priest, and has 2 teenage kids, so he is all about young people. This church apparently has a tradition of being welcoming to kids, young people, and newcomers, dating back to the former parish priest, who was born in the US, raised in Glendale, and just really loves kids and young people and is really passionate about getting people involved in the Armenian Church.
I am passionate about it too, but need to find the energy and strength to translate that passion into concrete service. I especially feel called to help make the church more welcoming. By "the church" I mean "the church" in general, not my specific church. I have some ideas for the other church I go to near my university, which isn't as friendly or young as the one near my husband's university.