The Feast of the Transfiguration (Vartavar)
Sunday, 7/23/17, All Day Event
Divine Liturgy: 9:45 a.m.
Celebrant/Homilist: Fr. Vasken A. Kouzouian
The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (Vartavar) is one of the Five Major Feast Days of the Armenian Church. This is a "variable" feast that can fall anytime between June 28 and August 1. Jesus took His three closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, up to Mt. Tabor with Him. There He was "transfigured," appearing radiant; His clothes became "dazzling white." The prophet Elijah and the patriarch Moses appeared at His side. A voice from heaven exclaimed: "This is my beloved Son."
The story can be read in the Synoptic Gospels: Mark 9:2-10; Matthew 17:1-9; Luke 9:28-36.
Some customs of an ancient Armenian pagan festival for the goddess Ashdhig are still associated with this feast, such as decorating the church with roses or flowers (hence the Feast's name Vartavar; it is more formally called Aylagerbootyoon or Baydzaragerbootyoon) and spraying one another with water.