V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Seminary Dean and Associate Professor of Liturgical Studies, was guest speaker at a conference at the Institute of Sacred Music of Yale University from February 24-27.
The conference was entitled, "The Place of Christ in Liturgical Prayer: Christology, Trinity and Liturgical Theology," and will feature renowned scholars from throughout the United States and Europe.
Fr. Findikyan's paper was entitled, Christology in Early Armenian Liturgical Commentaries.
The Armenian Church boasts a rich tradition of medieval commentaries on various liturgical services and books. These theological works, by authors such as Step'anos Siwnec'i and Grigoris Arsharuni (both 8th c.) are highly allegorical.
"When most people think of a commentary," said Fr. Findikyan, "They imagine a reference book that is read side-by-side with another book in order to unpack and elucidate the other book's meaning and relevance. One consults a commentary on Plato in order to better understand Plato, and we consult a liturgical commentary to help us grasp the full meaning of the Liturgy."
"But medieval theologians in Armenia had a different approach," Findikyan continued. "Their commentaries used the prayers, hymns and rituals of the liturgy as a jumping off point for exploring the mystery of mankind's salvation in Jesus Christ."
Fr. Findikyan's paper examines several Armenian liturgical commentaries from the first millennium. He discovers in them a common and distinctive system of allegorical interpretation that differs fundamentally from the way medieval Greek theologians interpreted their church services.
Fr. Findikyan also shows that these works are christological in their aim. Their primary purpose is to reflect upon the person of Jesus Christ and the deeds he accomplished for the sake of mankind's salvation. These Armenian commentaries are purely biblical and they are important witnesses to the Armenians understanding of the mystery of Christ.
"It is a great privilege for me to contribute to this conference, which will bring together world-class specialists in the history and theology of worship. Several of them were my teachers," Findikyan said.