January 3 - 9, 2016
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Seventh Sunday of Advent 
Morning Service  9:00 AM
Divine Liturgy    10:00 AM
Bible Readings:  Isaiah 51:15-52:3; Hebrews 13:18-25; Luke 22:24-30

HOKEHANKISD- Requiem Service
For the soul of:
Requested by:
Jenik Babayan (3 years)
Areknaz, David and
Arpie Babayan
France Babayan
Nadya, Grisha and George Baghdasarian
Mr. Hovsep Babayan
Andre and Violet Babayan           
Alen Babayan
Shoushik, Rozik, Anahid, Tamara and Seroj Baghdasarian

Eve of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Evening Service   6:00 PM
Divine Liturgy      6:30 PM
Bible Readings:   Titus 2:11-15; Matthew 2:1-12
Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Evening Service   9:00 AM
Divine Liturgy      10:00 AM
Bible Readings:   Titus 2:11-15; Matthew 1:18-25
New Year 
Presently all Christian denominations celebrate New Year on January 1. The word "January" means "birth." Before Christ's coming to the world, mankind was the captive of hell and was constrained by eternal death. Being born in January, Christ destroyed hell and saved mankind from eternal death and led it to the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why January became the first month of the year. Thus January 1 is the first day of the first month of the year and symbolizes the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ.   

It is a folk tradition that on January 1 people decorate the New Year tree, which symbolizes the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. 
Blessing of Pomegranates
We invite you to St. James Armenian Church on  New Year's Day, Friday, January 1st at 12 noon to offer a Prayer for the Catholicos of All Armenians and to participate in the ceremony of the Blessing of Pomegranates. This is a new tradition established by the Pontifical Order of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians that will become a part of Armenian New Year's traditions.

The pomegranate symbolically represents the Church of Christ. Although the seeds of the pomegranate are separated by thin membranes, they hold tight together, in the same way that the Christian Church holds all Christians around the world together in Christ's love - separate, but not divided. The pomegranate shows unity in diversity.

The crown of the pomegranate represents Jesus' crown and His sovereignty over the world. The red color symbolizes His Salvific Blood that was shed for All. It also contains 365 seeds as the number of days in a year symbolizing new life in Christ in the new year. Each family will receive one blessed pomegranate to take home.

In 2015 H.H. Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians Etchmiadzin blessed pomegranates in the Mother See of Holy for the first time and established it as a tradition on New Year's Day.

The blessed pomegranates will be distributed to the faithful.
Eve of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Candlelight Divine Liturgy (Lucernarium) 
According to our Church traditions, the feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ begins at 5:00 after evening service on January 5 and is continued after midnight on January 6. On the eve, a solemn candlelight Divine Liturgy is celebrated, following the conclusion of which the assembled take home their lit candles and lamps to symbolize the divine light and blessings of the Church. Lighting candles and lamps symbolizes the light of the Star of Bethlehem that guided the way of the Magi to the Baby Jesus.

Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ
During the first centuries of Christianity, the night before every feast, a vigil was kept. In the evening, the faithful assembled in the church or some other sacred space where the feast was to be celebrated and prepared themselves by saying prayers, chanting Psalms and reading the Holy Scriptures. In addition, incorporated into the vigil on the eve of major feasts was the ritual of Jrakalooyts. The faithful would carry their candles into the sanctuary during great processional of the Divine Liturgy. Furthermore, the church would be brightly lit with candles and lights. Today, Jrakalooyts is reserved only for the eves of Theophany and Easter, and we distribute candles to the faithful only after they are already in the sanctuary, though we continue to brightly illuminate the church and sanctuary. The tradition of the faithful taking their lit candles home also continues today. The Feast of the Theophany (Asdvadzahaydnootyoon), literally translated as God revealing himself to mankind, is one of the five great tabernacle (Daghavar) feasts of the Armenian Church and is always celebrated on January 6. This feast combines the celebration of the birth, baptism and manifestation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Feast of the Theophany is an eight-day celebration between January 6 to 13.

Blessing of Water
In the Armenian Church, each year after Divine Liturgy on January 6, the Blessing of Water ceremony takes place as a symbolic commemoration of the Baptism of Christ. The ceremony, called Churorhnek in Armenian, was originally performed in the Holy Land at the River Jordan on the Theophany, January 6. As word spread of this beautiful ceremony throughout the Holy Land, churches outside of Jerusalem began to perform it as well at various riverbanks and seashores. Later, because of Islamic prohibitions under the Ottoman Empire, this and other public outdoor Christian rituals were restricted to the confines of church courtyards. 

To perform this sacred rite, first, a large basin of water is placed on a table in front of the altar. Then, to signify Christ's entry into the River Jordan, the celebrant immerses a cross into the water. Next, the water is blessed, and a silver dove-shaped container of chrism (muron) is brought forth in procession as the choir sings the hymn Looys ee Looso (Light of Light). The celebrant takes this dove-shaped container, raises it above the basin and dispenses a few drops of the holy oil into the water through the mouth of the dove. The muron is kept in a dove-shaped container to symbolize the peace and grace the Holy Spirit dispenses on those anointed by the sacred water at this ceremony.

Click here to view a video episode explaining the symbolism of the "Water Blessing" service performed in the Armenian Church on January 6, the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord.
Schedule of the Nativity Services at St. James
The Nativity and Baptism of Jesus Christ will be observed at St. James Armenian Church. A special liturgical schedule will be in effect for these services; please make a note of the times.

On Friday, January 1 - The Prayer for the Catholicos of All Armenians will be offered at 12:00 Noon followed by the Service of the Blessing of the Pomegranate.

On Tuesday, January 5-The Evening Service with Scripture Readings will start at 6:00 p.m. The Divine Liturgy will immediately follow, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Traditional HOME BLESSING SERVICE will be performed in the Nishan Hall at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.

On Wednesday, January 6- The Morning Service begins at 9:00 a.m., and the Divine Liturgy follows at 10:00 a.m.

On Sunday, January 10- The Morning Service begins at 9:00 a.m., and the Divine Liturgy follows at 10:00 a.m. Women's Guild of St. James invites everybody to their traditional NATIVITY APPRECIATION LUNCHEON to honor deacons, choir members, and outgoing Parish Council members.

Click here to see a flyer.

For those parishioners whose employers or school administrators require documentation for their absence from school or work on January 6, please click here for the explanatory letter written and signed by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian.
How should we explain the celebration of Christmas on January 6
in the Armenian Church to our families and children?
Parents could explain to their children that even at the time of the Holy Apostles the traditions in the Christian churches in the different parts of the world were not uniform and that Christmas was probably not observed at all in the very early Church. Parents could add that by the end of the 3rd century Christmas in Rome was help on December 25, which coincided with a major pagan feast, while in the Eastern churches it was observed on January 6th. The Armenian Church has maintained that ancient tradition to this day, whereas the Greek- speaking Christian world switched to the Latin tradition at the end of the 4th century. Children should know that both traditions are old and must be respected, and that as good Christians they must focus on the spirit of the Nativity of the Savior and not the differences in traditions. 

Click on the icon to view a video episode explaining why churches celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of different days (in Armenian).

Click on the icon to view "An Armenian Christmas Message" from Mike Connors (born Kreker Ohanian) recorded in 1982. 
Gift of Love- Yughakin
Christmas Yughakin. In this Holy Season of Christmas it has become a tradition in our church to donate our Christmas Yughakins as a gift of love in memory or in honor of our loved ones.  The Yughakin form and the enclosed Offering Envelope are for your convenience.
Yughakin tradition is an ancient custom, which goes back to the Old Testament times. The faithful would bring oil to the temple of God so that its servants would have enough to eat.  Later on this custom entered into the Christian religion when oil was brought to Church by believers in order to illuminate it by lighting the lamps in the Church.
Today, Yughakin is simply the price or the value of oil donated to the Church. Yughakin in Armenian means "price of oil." In our church, today, we of course do not burn oil in order to illuminate the sanctuary, but we use electricity, gas and other operating expenses. Let us continue the custom of Yughakin to keep the lights of St. James always burning!

Home Blessing
Holiday season is the time when homes are blessed by the Pastor. All parishioners who wish to have their homes blessed on the occasion of the Feast of the Theophany and Nativity of Christ should call Der Hovhan (847) 644-7389 to make arrangements. Have a piece of bread, dish of salt and glass of water available for the blessing.

Click here to read more about home blessing.
Video of the Week

Calendar of Worship Services and Events at St. James
January 1
January 3
January 5
January 6
January 10
January 15
January 17
January 23
January 24
January 28
January 31
February 6
February 6
February 7
February 8
New Year. Prayer Service at 12 Noon
Blessing of Pomegranates
My Two Pilgrimages. Prese ntation
Eve of the Feast of the Theophany and Nativity
Feast of the Theophany and Nativity
Annual St. James Nativity Luncheon and Program
Family Night at the AGBU Center
Women's Guild Meeting
Saturday Evening Worship (in English)
ADCC Bake Sale
Syrian Relief Fundraiser at Raven Theatre
Parish Assembly
Vespers - Kirakamtits
Poon Paregentan Dance
Poon Paregentan Sunday                                                 Great Lent begins


January 4       

January 5      
Eve of the Theophany and Nativity of Our Lord Jesus 

January 6      
Feast of the Theopany and Nativity of Our Lord Jesus

January 7       
Second Day of the Theophany

January 8       
Third Day of the Theophany

January 9       
Fourth Day of the Theophany


Hebrews 12:5-17; 
Luke 20:41-21:4

Titus 2:11-15; 
Matthew 2:1-12

Titus 2:11-15;
Matthew 1:18-25 

Mark 1:1-13; Acts 6:8-8:2; John 12:24-26

Matthew 3:1-4:11; Hebrews 1:1-12; Matthew 2:24-26

John 1-17; Galatians 4:1-7; Luke 1:26-38 

Presentation by Tatevik Khoja-Eynatyan

Sunday, January 3, 2016
after Badarak

Click here to see a flyer.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
12:00 noon

Tickets: Adults - $ 15, Children under 10- $7

Click here to see a flyer.


Make in lieu of Christmas card donation and have your name appear in our Christmas Sunday Bulletins on January 6th and 10th wishing all of your friends at St. James Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Please consider becoming a member or renewing your membership. Help us to fulfill our mission and to grow our ministries, worship programs and activities to strengthen our parish family. 

to read about membership.

to print membership form.

to pay your membership online.

2015 dues must be paid by December 31 to be able to vote in the 2016 Parish Assembly.
Please park on the street or in the Maple Street Parking Garage at the west end of Clark Street which is free on Sundays.  Thank you.

Rev. Fr. Hovhan Khoja-Eynatyan, Pastor
816 Clark Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Tel:  847-864-6263