Ermeni Kiliselerinde Kutsal Paskalya Haftası Törenleri

Holy Week and Easter Celebrations at Armenian Churches

20-27.March.2016 Istanbul / Turkey


Today, Armenians living in Turkey is about 80,000 people and almost all live in Istanbul. The population Vakıflı Armenian village in Anatolia is 100 people the only village where Armenians live collectively. Those who live in different parts of Anatolia go to the churches in the nearest city and perform religious duties.

The Armenians living in Istanbul celebrate the Easter holidays on March 27, 2016 after 50 days of fasting. During the last week of the Holy Easter Week, different teachings were transmitted to members of the congregation through rituals in the Church between 20-27 March 2016.

I worked at the churches that I visited,for the purpose of photographing these events with the permission of Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, General Vicar of Armenian Patriarch. The most important of these events was the first day event, symbolising Christ Jesus's coming to the Jerusalem and being celebrated as an olive feast. For this purpose, the head priest knocks the altar and seeks permission to enter Heaven. He is told, from behind the door, “Only the sinless can be admitted.” Hence, the people waiting at the door admit to having sinned in the past, but let the priest know they have long repented, and once again ask for permission to be let in. The doors are then opened and they are allowed to step in.

The second most important ritual is the foot washing ceremony. Maundy commemorates the Washing of the Feet, a Christian rite symbolizing Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles after the Last Supper. The ritual teaches members of the congregation to be humble. The service is held on Thursday of the Holy Easter Week.

The last day is celebrated as Easter feast, and the ascension of the soul of Jesus is symbolized. Breaking the painted eggs symbolizes Jesus come out from the grave and rise to the sky.

All these rituals and teachings are important events that symbolize a certain culture beyond religion and convey to people what is right. These ensure that the transfer of information is permanent.




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