Why Do You Belong to the Armenian Church?
Belonging to an Armenian Church gives you the opportunity to identify yourself through discovering who you are and where you belong. It provides education, community, and a place of devotion for those in faith and in culture. My Armenian Church sits on nine acres of land in New Rochelle, New York: The St. Nersess Armenian Seminary. Inside this beautiful seminary holds a tiny chapel, which is where I belong. This place of worship is constantly being used by the seminarian, high school and college students. Even though it may be small in size and may not hold a typical parish council, it is unique and one of its kind. Its members range in age and come from across the country. This young and growing chapel holds students searching and eager to find the Lord.
You might be asking yourself why I have chosen to associate myself as belonging to a tiny chapel. But to me, it makes perfect sense. For the past five years I have participated in St. Nersess programs throughout my summers and winters. Coming to St. Nersess has brought me into the Armenian community and is where God reveals himself to me.
This past Christmas conference, our discussion topic was Revelations and how our Lord reveals himself through situations, people, and nature. As the days came closer to Armenian Christmas, we narrowed our focus to God's ultimate revelation: He revealing himself through Christ. Jesus the living word. As the hour came close to midnight on January fifth, God revealed himself in His Chapel at St. Nersess Church. In the middle of Badarak, I prayed, asking God to open my heart and my eyes to see his possibilities. In doing so, I felt this intense comforting feeling surge through my body. At this moment my friend Alexis slipped her hand in mine without knowing of this special feeling. As I lifted my head up we began to sign the Hayr Mer. The voices of the group were lifted up to heavens and the sounds resonated in the chapel.
St. Nersess is where most of my friendships have been formed. The connections one makes are long lasting and filled with love. This Christmas, St. Nersess brought me a gift in a surprising package. Alexis Papazian and I live in the same town and went to the same high school. But, because of our different grade levels and different groups of friends, we never got a chance to get to know each other. This conference was Alexis's first time at St. Nersess so she had no idea what to expect. When I arrived, we reunited and chatted briefly. As the session continued, our hearts began to grow closer together. It was so comforting knowing a fellow Armenian close to home. St. Nersess helped us form our friendship on the foundation of Christ. Alexis's presence helped me embrace God and open my heart to his wonders. I believe in God not because I see him but because I feel him, not only in His church but in His people. Through her, God showed himself, revealing all things are possible with his power and love.
With the help from the Lord, St. Nersess has given me the best Christmas present. His Church has rejuvenated my faith and has brought a friend close to my heart.