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About An Orthodox Faith

They celebrated their Christmas Eve of 2020-1 as per the Gregorian and Julian Calendars on January 5, and Christmas on January 6 at the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth, an 18th-century Armenian Apostolic Church in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata. Armenians, not numbering much who have been living in and around the central part of Kolkata for many years, took all necessary precautionary measures as they gathered at the Church, during post-COVID-19 Pandemic period. This year, the celebration was a bit different mainly because of the Pandemic, and the ongoing war between Armenia and Azerbaijan…

According to the Armenian Apostolic Church, December 25 was celebrated as a festival in pre-Christ Era, as well. The Romans used to worship their Sun God on that day. Usually, Lord Jesus Christ was supposedly identified as the Son of God by the three old men in the East at the end of the 12th night after Christmas. The Christians mark January 6 as the Feast of Epiphany. However, the Orthodox Armenians, by the faith exhibited by the adherents of Eastern or Greek Orthodox Churches, celebrate Christmas on this day! They did not organise their usual tea-party in Kolkata this year due to restrictions imported regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Holy Church of Nazareth

Vache Tadevosian, who has been living in Kolkata for more than two decades, said that he and his wife, Narine, are music teachers at La Martiniere School for Boys. They also play the Oboe and the Dudukh (an age-old Armenian wind instrument) in the Church. According to Vache, the number of people who had attended the Christmas Party at the Armenian Church of Holy Nazareth was 14. Most of the elderly Armenians staying in Kolkata skipped the party this year. For his part, Javen Gaspar, a 21-year-old student of Sports Management at a Private College in Kolkata, said: “Most of the Armenian college students come from Armenia, Iraq and Iran. They have returned to their countries due to the Pandemic. Normally, they attend the party at the Church.

It has become difficult for them to return from Armenia to Kolkata because of the war that is going on between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Javen, whose Mother is an Anglo-Indian and Father is an Armenian, stressed: “We celebrate Christmas on December 25 and also on January 6!” He further said that his family members love Bengali dishes, especially fish recipes!

This year, the Armenians remembered Sonia John on Christmas. Sonia passed away in Kolkata at the age of 95 in September 2020. She had once told Javen that Kolkata had accommodated many Armenians during crises in the past. Thousands of Armenians arrived in this Indian city during the Turkish Invasion of Armenia in the early 20th Century. Buildings in Kolkata, including the Grand Hotel and Stephen Court, bear the symbols of Armenian heroics. The Pastor, meanwhile, prayed for their war-torn motherland on the occasion of Christmas. Kolkata, according to many, still remains as a safe haven for the Armenians…

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