News

Armenian Church to Celebrate Feast Day of St. Sarkis the Warrior

Published on Feb 03, 2012 by Communications Department
Armenian Church to Celebrate Feast Day of St. Sarkis the Warrior

Download this photo

In the Armenian Church Calendar, the Feast Day of St. Sarkis the Warrior falls on Saturday, February 4. St. Sarkis (Sergius) the Warrior is one of the most beloved saints among the Armenian nation. Together with his 14 soldiers-companions, he was martyred for the sake of his Christian faith.

During the period of reign of the king Kostandianos the Great (285-337) St. Sarkis, being very courageous, was appointed the prince and General in chief of the region of Cappadocia bordering Armenia. When during the period of reign of the king Julianos the Betrayer (360-363) the persecutions against Christians started by God’s will St. Sarkis and his only son – Martyros, came to live in Armenia, and the Armenian king Tiran, grandson of Tiridates, received them very well. From Armenia St. Sarkis and his son went to Persia, and started serving in the army of the Persian king Shapouh as the captain of regiments. Become aware of the fact that Sarkis was Christian the king Shapouh ordered him to worship the fire and offer sacrifice to the heathen gods. But the captain immediately refused to obey the order saying, “We should worship one God - the Holy Trinity, which has created the earth and the heaven. Whereas fire or idols are not gods and the human being may destroy them.” After these words the saint destroyed the temple. The annoyed crowd fell on the saint and his son. First the son of the saint was martyred.

The saint was put into prison and remaining unshaken in his faith was beheaded. After the martyrdom of the saint light appeared over his body. 14 soldiers-companions of the saint also were martyred for the sake of Christian faith.

Later St. Mesrop Mashtots brought the relics of the saint to the village Karbi and the Church of St. Sarkis was built over his relics.

According to one of the folk stories upon return of their victorious battle Captain St. Sarkis and his 39 soldiers-companions celebrated their victory in the royal palace, When all of them were drunk and went to sleep, the king ordered 40 young women to kill the brave soldiers. 39 of the women obeyed the order and killed the soldiers, whereas one of them seeing the handsome and peaceful face of sleeping Sarkis fell in love with him and instead of killing kissed him. Getting up and seeing what had happened St. Sarkis straddled his white horse and taking the young woman with him smashed the gates of the city, brought up violent snow-storm and left the city. It is because of this folk story that people in love started to consider St. Sarkis their intercessor and protector. St. Sarkis always helps and supports all young people asking his help and support.

The feast of St. Sarkis the Warrior and his soldiers-companions is celebrated not only by means of church rites and prayer, but also folk traditions.

On the day of the feast young people pray asking the saint to make their prayers audible to God. The day before the feast young people eat salty cookies and relate the appearance of their future bride or bridegroom in their dream to eating of the salty cookie. After eating the salty cookie they eat nothing else and pray waiting for the dream. Seeing future bride or bridegroom in the dream is the result of the wonder worked thanks to sincere faith.

There are many miracles and folk traditions related to the saint. On the night preceding the feast of St. Sarkis the faithful people place a tray full of gruel before the door believing that while passing near their door at dawn St. Sarkis will leave his footprint on the gruel symbolizing the fulfillment of their dreams.

People in love present each other cards, flowers or sweets on the occasion of the feast.