What Saint patronizes lovers in Armenia?
“… Will you still be sending me a valentine?“
of The Beatles, “When I`m 64“
C began 1990 - x when already some time the Soviet Union cracking under the pressure of “parade of sovereignties“ stopped - the existence, market rearrangement became foremost care for the states formed in the former Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the movement in a jungle of a transition period is remarkable not only economic cares. Despite the current difficulties, people are in time and to think of soul. And about love - as without it - that?
As for love, in the last one and a half decades the former Soviet republics - as well as, in principle, in general the whole world - wins St. Valentine`s Day which is celebrated on February 14 on the Gregorian calendar. During a pre-Christian era pagans this day esteemed god Vali (Twisted) - the patron of fertility and regeneration. Romans in the middle of February celebrated Lupercalia - some kind of erotic festival in honor of the goddess of love of Juno Februata. Initially the holiday was devoted to a victory of the reviving Sun over dark days of Winter. There came time for traditional family celebration with an exchange of gifts and wishes of love; this period was also considered suitable for wedding vows, engagements and actually weddings. Besides, the holiday was connected with honoring of ancestors.
But first of all this holiday nowadays is associated with the patron of all lovers - St. Valentine. Today it is considered that it was the real historic figure: Valentin lived in the 3rd century AD, was a Christian priest (according to other versions - the bishop) in the city Thorns. About it there is a set of legends. One of them has, one may say, socially - political background. The matter is that at the emperor Claudia II ruling in 268 - 270, the Roman army tested an acute shortage of soldiers for military campaigns, and the emperor considered that his main enemy “ Napoleonic “ plans - marriages because the married legionary of glory of the empire thinks much less, than of how a family to support. And, to keep a martial spirit in the soldiers, the emperor issued the decree forbidding to legionaries to marry. But to fall in love - that soldiers from it did not become less. To their happiness, there was a person who, without fearing imperial anger, began to crown secretly legionaries with their beloved. The priest Valentin from Thorns was him also.
Matter of course as soon as the emperor learned about it, he decided to stop such “ criminal activity “. Valentin was sentenced to death. The tragedy of a situation consisted also in that, as Valentin was in love with the jailer`s daughter. A day before execution the priest wrote to the girl the farewell letter where told about the love, and signed it “ Your Valentin “. It was read how it was executed.
On other legend, it happened so that one Roman centurion fell in love with the girl who was young, beautiful, but - Christian belief. The soldier decided to be her suitor for the hand and to accept belief of the beloved. For this purpose he came to the bishop Valentin and was baptized. But, while wedding celebrations prepared, the young bride was seriously ill. The situation was very serious, the girl was between life and death. St. Valentine perfectly saw all despair and lostness of groom madly in love. Then the bishop uplifted hands to heaven and asked God about that He granted the lover blissful oblivion, carried away in love with an eternal rest. The girl died, but hearts of beloved connected in the best world and now are eternally unseparable.
One more legend says that once the Saint was met requirements by a loving couple which quarreled from - for insignificant an occasion. Then he with words of reconciliation presented them a rose which they held between fingers, trying not to prick needles. The clear face of Saint Valentin and his flower created a miracle: lovers right there reconciled, and after a while got married, and he blessed them, the bishop Valentin. When people learned about this miracle, and other lovers began to come to it to receive blessing and to protect the love from petty cavils, from quarrels and adversities.
Subsequently as the Christian martyr who was injured for belief Valentin was canonized by Catholic church. And in 496 the Pope Gelasy declared on February 14 St. Valentine`s Day. However v1969 to year as a result of church service reform Saint Valentin was withdrawn from a liturgical calendar of Catholic church (together with other Roman Saints, data on whose life are inconsistent and doubtful). However, the church and till 1969 did not approve and did not support traditions of celebration of this day.
Nevertheless, since the 13th century the holiday is in large quantities celebrated in Western Europe, and since 1777 - and in the United States. The tradition to give gifts this day got stronger every year and for some became rather successful business: businessmen saw an additional opportunity to increase the income from the sales in a holiday. For example, at the beginning of the XX century at Americans it was accepted to send to the brides marzipans which were very expensive pleasure. In Japan tradition to give sweet this day appeared at the suggestion of one major company on production of chocolate. There began to celebrate St. Valentine`s Day in 1930 - e years, and still chocolate remains the most widespread gift. By the way, in the Land of the rising sun St. Valentine`s Day slightly reminds “on March 8 for men“ as the Japanese men receive, perhaps, even more gifts, than women. Usually it is all man`s accessories like razor, lotion, a wallet and so on. At passionate French on St. Valentine`s Day it is accepted to give jewelry, in romantic Denmark people send each other the dried white flowers. And in the Belarusian city of Gomel mission of “a love tree“ is carried out by the unique tree growing in city park gingko which is considered a love tree. Lovers leave on its branches multi-colored ribbons for all year, and on St. Valentine`s Day...
As for Armenia, the love will be read, of course, and here. But it has the heavenly patron making to Valentin the serious competition. This is the Saint great martyr Sargis. It is among about 400 Saints who are remembered by the Armenian Apostolic Church. Day of his memory which follows for 5 - a day Advanced post of new converts, is celebrated on Saturday during the period from January 11 to February 15. And that Saturday from which till Easter there are 63 days. This year it dropped out for February 3.
The native of Cappadocia, Sargis at the Roman emperor Konstantin was appointed the voivode there. But it proved not only as the skillful and brave military leader, but also as the jealous preacher of Christianity which then at last left an underground. Using protection of the emperor, it from a hail went to a hail, preaching the Gospel and building Christian churches on the place of pagan pagan temples. After Konstantin`s death on the Roman throne Yulian nicknamed subsequently the turncoat for the aspiration to reanimate paganism set in. Also Sargis underwent repressions. In voyemya one of prayers to it in vision was Jesus Christ and enjoined: “Go to the country which I will specify to you. There you will find prepared to you a virtue wreath“. And Sarkis together with the son Martiros went to Christian Armenia - to the tsar Tirana.
But stayed it here not for long. Yulian who intended to restore the power in the east moved to Syria. The Roman legions interrupted on the way of many Christians. Being afraid for Sargis`s destiny, the tsar Tiran advised it to move to Persia. The Persian shah Shapour, naslyshanny about Sargis`s valors, appointed him the military leader. So it had to hold the fort against Romans who already reached by then territories subject to Persia. The Roman troops outnumbered the divisions which were available at the disposal of Sargis. But he urged soldiers to reject fear and to entrust itself(himself) to the Creator. Many hosted a baptism. Finally attack of Romans was beaten off. And further, seeing virtue and devotion of the military leader, soldiers left paganism and passed into Christianity. Having learned about it, Shapour demanded to worship fire as it is accepted at Persians. Sargis did not accept this requirement, having declared that he will worship the Consubstantial Lord, but not idols. The enraged Shapour ordered to kill the son Sargis, Martiros, in the face of the father, and - to throw him into a dungeon. Subsequently for hardness in belief he was beheaded. Also fourteen newly converted soldiers who took a body blissful were executed to inter it.
And still relics of the martyr were not gone. Since the 5th century they are in Armenia, in the village Karpi where they from Syria were brought by the creator of the Armenian writing Mesrop Mashtots. Relics are based in specially constructed church which bears a name of the Saint.
Today Sargis - one of the Saints who are most esteemed in Armenia. And, probably, not incidentally this noble rider on a white horse became the heavenly defender and the savior. Especially - young people and lovers. The Catholicos of all Armenians Garegin II proclaimed day St. Sargis Dnem of blessing of young people. This day young men and girls appeal to the Saint to help to find the promised, to overcome these or those difficulties.
“To day sv. Sargis the Advanced post established still by Saint Grigory the educator precedes, - report in in a press - service of the Ararat diocese of AATs. - This year it lasted from January 29 to February 2. Earlier during a post it was forbidden not only to eat food to sunset, but also to erase, spin a yarn, to potter with hair or wool: was considered that it will wind fetters on legs of a horse of St. Sargis“. On Friday preparations for actually holiday began. Their main ingredient - pokhind (fried wheat flour). It was involved on honey, sugar or uvarenny grape syrup and manufacture flat cakes on number of family members. In the evening these flat cakes were solemnly eaten that symbolized the termination of a post. But this does not treat youth. To young men and girls allow to eat salty cookies which are cooked by adult women. Before it is impossible to drink anything. And young people go to bed, is most strong vozzhazhdav in a literal sense. If the girl dreams about the young man who brings her a glass of water, then for it to it and in marriage to go, maybe, even in the current year (guys, respectively, with the same hope waited for girls). If in a dream so nobody gives to drink you, then it is necessary to wait for the next year and to pass “salty“ test anew … This time nineteen-year-old Anna Sargsyan was not lucky, for example. “Nobody dreamed me, - she complains. - Though flat cake was such salty! But I do not despair“.
In the house the culinary sacrament proceeds meanwhile. Women pour kneaded on syrup pokhind in a bowl, carefully level weight and stand a bowl in the honourable corner of the house. It is considered that this night Saint Sargis goes down on the earth and bypasses dwellings of people. If comes to whom - by all means will check whether such obligatory ritual as preparation and storage of a pokhind is observed on the eve of its holiday. Many specially did not lock a door for the night to show how they wait for the Saint. Ran to check in the morning - whether the horse of the Saint, as a sign of goodwill left to owners, a print of the horseshoe on a pokhinda? Young people told what came in dream to them in a dream - who gave them waters, how many, in what vessel etc. Any trifle was important: the gold vessel symbolized the rich person, wooden - poor, full to the brim - a long matrimony, incomplete - opposite, short.
There was one more type of guessing. The piece of pokhindovy flat cake was put on the rooftop or on a window sill, inviting to a meal of birds. Where they will depart then - from that party and future spouse was expected (or the spouse).
this year St. Sargis`s holiday is noted with special scope. In the churches bearing his name (all in Armenia three such churches, including two in Yerevan from which one - vikarialny), festive prayers are served. Pleasant syuripriz the Ararat Patriarchal diocese which initiated a written competition on the best love story with an awarding the prizes presented. The author of the message will receive for correctly removed love formula “gran - at“ of 250 thousand dram (about 690 dollars). Among other nominations - “Sincere love“, “Romantic love“, “Long love“, “The most loving couple“, “Love for the neighbour“, “Love for the country“ and even “Love for God“. According to the chairman of jury, the chairman of the arts council of Armenakob TV company Armen Amiryan who is also a member of diocesan council, more than seven hundred various messages are received. “And on a surface mail sent, and on electronic, and brought. All messages will be considered and appreciated“, certifies g - N Amiryan.
For now works as jury on mail, people give each other “sargisovka“ - souvenirs, sweets, cards in the form of hearts. Because they trust in a miracle. Because in their hearts there is a spark. Because they love each other.
P. S. Neither Catholic, nor Orthodox churches celebrate “St. Valentine`s Day“ into which the western national legend turned day of memory of St. Valentin. Catholics celebrate on February 14 a liturgical holiday of Saints Kirill and Mefodiy who are considered as patrons of Europe. “We honor these Saints as well as Orthodox church”, the Secretary general of Conference of Catholic bishops of Russia Igor Kovalevksy declared the other day. Orthodox Christians remind that (according to the Julian calendar) on February 14 Saint Valentin is not in their calendar. And the deputy chairman of Council of muftis of Russia Damir Gizatullin urged “not to be fond of the western holidays which distract us from the primordial traditions“.