Концерн 'БАЙАЗЕТ'

The Holy Relics of the Armenian Church

The Armenian Apostolic Church keeps many priceless relics. One of the greatest treasures is the legendary “Spear of Destiny” (also called the Holy Spear or the Holy Lance). It is the lance that pierced the side of Jesus Christ as He hung on the cross.

To make sure that Jesus Christ was dead, the Roman centurion Gaius Cassius stabbed him in the side, and blood and water came out. After that miracle Gaius exclaimed: "Indeed, this was the Son of God”. He was converted to Christianity and started missionary work. Later on, Gaius Cassius, now known as Saint Longinus, was arrested, tortured and beheaded because of his new faith.

According to the legend, the Holy Spear that pierced the side of Jesus Christ was brought to Armenia by the apostle Thaddeus. In the Middle Ages it was kept in the monastery of Ayrivank (meaning “the monastery of the cave”). Nowadays the Holy Spear is kept in Holy Etchmiadzin, the center of the spiritual life of the Armenian people.

The Armenian Church keeps and worships the relics of the Saints. One of the greatest holy objects is the Right Hand of Saint Gregory the Illuminator – the symbol of power of Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The relic is kept in Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenia.

During chrism-preparation (it happens once in 7 years), the Catholicos of All Armenians blesses the Holy Chrism (Muron) with the Holy Right hand of St. Gregory and the Holy Spear that pierced Jesus Christ.

In the monastery of Holy Etchmiadzin there is also the third major relic - a piece of Noah’s Ark. According to the legend, in the beginning of the fourth century Patriarch St. Hakob (Jacob) of Mtsbin (+350) wanted to climb the peak of Mount Ararat to find Noah’s Ark and take a part of it.

The ascending to Ararat was long and exhausting. After the trip to the peak of the mountain, Jacob fell asleep. In his dream he saw an angel giving him the reliquary of the Ark as an award for his faith and effort. When Jakob woke up, he saw a piece of wood turned to stone near him. He praised Jesus Christ for the gift and went home.

In 1766 a small piece of Noah’s Ark was given to Ekaterina the Second as an expression of gratitude for her care about the Armenian people.

In Holy Etchmiadzin there are also such treasures as a piece of Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns, a piece of the Holy Cross, as well as the relics of St. John the Baptist, St. Stephen the Protomartyr, the Apostles St. Thaddeus, St. Bartholomew, St. Andrew the First-called, and St. Thomas.


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