Armenian rite

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The Armenian rite (also: Armenian liturgy ) is the divine service of the Armenian Apostolic and the Armenian Catholic Church . It encompasses a large number of individual festivals and rites , which have also changed their shape more or less profoundly in the course of history. There is no overall representation in western languages ​​that meets today's requirements. For this reason, translations from the liturgical books of the Armenian churches and accompanying studies are given here primarily.

Eucharistic celebration in the Armenian Church in Amsterdam, 18th century

Liturgical history

The Armenian rite developed from the 5th century onwards on the basis of the liturgy of Jerusalem with influences from Cappadocia and the Syrian region. In the Middle Ages, closer to the middle of the 12th to the end of the 14th century, the Byzantine rite of the Greeks and, especially in and about Cilicia ( Lesser Armenia ), the Roman rite of the Latin Church exerted a noticeable influence on texts, ceremonial and liturgical clothing .

Sacramental celebrations


In the order of the Armenian Eucharistic celebration, initially Mesopotamian-Syrian and Cappadocian, subsequently (from the 5th century) Jerusalemian, then (from around 1000) Byzantine, and finally (Crusade) Latin influence. As usual, the celebration led by a bishop ( pontifical liturgy ) reflects the full form of her figure. As the only of the Eastern Churches, the Armenian maintains the sacramental wine to mix no water and was criticized for in East and West long before you this as a commitment to monophysitism understand. The Eucharistic bread is made without leaven.

Of several known in Armenian Prayers today alone after Athanasius of Alexandria called anaphora in use. Before the end of the 10th century it became the common anaphora of the Armenian Church and is considered a translation from the Greek. In research it is sometimes traced back to Gregory of Nazianzen , sometimes to an older version of the Armenian Basil's anaphora , or it is regarded as a composite text.

The most important Armenian commentaries on the liturgy come from Xosrov Anjewacʿi (Chosroes the Great), approx. 900–963, and Nersēs Lambronacʿi , Bishop v. Tarsos in Kilikien, 1175–1198, and Yovhannēs Arčišecʿi , approx. 1260–1130.

Texts :

(a) Armenian Orthodox:

  • Divine liturgy. Armenian Orthodox Church. Comp. by Nareg Alemezian. Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia, Department for Ecumenical Relations, Antelias 2001.
  • Deacon's Guidebook in the Divine Liturgy by Archbishop Torkom Manoogian. 3rd edition, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America 1992.
  • The Mystery of the Sacred Liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church . Armenian text and German translation. Edited and translated by Diradur Sardaryan and Gabriele Winkler. St. Etchmiadzin , Vagharschapat 2012, ISBN 978-9939-59-108-7 .

(b) Armenian Catholic:

  • Vahan Inglisian (arr.): The sacred mass liturgy according to the Armenian rite, with an introduction . 2nd, improved edition, Verlag der Mechitharisten-Congregation, Vienna 1995.
  • Divina Liturgia in Rito Armeno . S. Lazzaro, Casa Editrice Armena, Venice 1993.

Prayers :

(a) In use:

  • Hans-Jürgen Feulner: The Armenian Athanasius anaphora. Critical edition, translation and comparative liturgical commentary . Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Roma 2001. ISBN 88-7210-332-0 .

(b) Historical texts:

  • Gabriele Winkler: The Basil's Anaphora. Edition of the two Armenian editorial offices and the relevant fragments, translation ... , Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Roma 2005, ISBN 88-7210-348-7 . - The Armenians call the older editorial staff Gregory the Illuminator .
  • P. Ferhat: Monuments of the ancient Armenian mass liturgy 1. One dedicated to St. Liturgy attributed to Gregory of Nazianz . In: Oriens Christianus NS 1 (1911) 201-214.
  • P. Ferhat: Monuments of ancient Armenian Mass liturgy 2. The alleged liturgy of Catholicos Sahaks . In: Oriens Christianus NS 3 (1913) 16–31.
  • A. Baumstark : Monuments of the ancient Armenian mass liturgy 3. The Armenian review of the St. James liturgy . In: Oriens Christianus NS 7-8 (1918) 1-32.
  • A. Rücker: Monuments of ancient Armenian mass liturgy 4. The anaphora of the patriarch Kyrillos of Alexandreia . In: Oriens Christianus 3rd Ser. 1 (1927) 143-157.
  • A. Rücker: Monuments of ancient Armenian mass liturgy 5. The anaphora of St. Ignatius of Antioch . In: Oriens Christianus 3rd Ser. 56-79.

Liturgy Commentaries :

  • Commentary on the Divine Liturgy by Xosrov Anjewacʿi. Translated with an introduction by S. Peter Cowe. St. Vartan Press. New York 1991, 263 pp. ISBN 0-934728-23-2 .
  • Nerses de Lambron (1153-1192): Explication de la Divine Liturgy . Trad. by Isaac Kéchichian. Dar el-Machreq, Beirut 2000, 360 pp. ISBN 2-7214-6017-X .

Studies :

  • V. Inglisian: The Armenian mass liturgy . In: Th. Bogler (Ed.): Eucharistic celebrations of Christianity . Maria Laach 1960, 30-39.
  • F. Köckert: Sowrb Patarag - "Holy Sacrifice". Texts and studies on the liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church . mach. Diss. Halle 1986. ULB Halle <87 H 83>
  • Robert F. Taft: The Armenian "Holy Sacrifice (Surb Patarg) " as a Mirror of Armenian Liturgical History. In: RF Taft (ed.): The Armenian Christian Tradition . Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Roma 1997, 175–197. ISBN 88-7210-316-9
  • Charles Renoux: La célébration de la parole dans le rite arménien avant le Xe siècle. In: AM Triacca - A. Pistoia (ed.), L'eucharistie: célébration, rites, piétés. CLV- Ed. Liturgiche, Roma 1995, 321-330.
  • Gohar Haroutiounian: La christologie des anciennes anaphores arméniennes , Diss. Paris IV-Sorbonne 2007.
  • Gorun Shirikian: An Interpretation of the Holy Liturgy or Soorp Badarak of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church .
  • Diradur Sardaryan: Surb Patarag - The Holy Liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church. An introduction (= Studies on Oriental Church History , Volume 51), Lit, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-643-13154-6 .

Videos :

Baptism, confirmation

The Armenian initiation liturgy combines baptism , confirmation and receiving the first communion in one celebration. Their shape is based on the liturgical customs of the early church adult baptism , which, with the necessary adjustments, also apply to children to be baptized.

Basic structure :

1. Catechumenate and associated rites (simplified for infant baptism)

2nd celebration

At the church entrance
Preparatory rites (psalms and prayers)
Rejection of the bad guys and creed
After moving into the church
Consecration of the oil
Consecration of the baptismal water
Baptismal bath (in principle by immersion or immersion)
Post-Baptism rites
Adoration of the altar
Eucharistic communion (also for child baptism)
On the day of the octave
Removal of the "crown" (head band).

Texts and literature :

  • Initiation chrétienne. 1: Rituels arméniens du baptême. Trad., Introduits et annotés by Charles Renoux. Ed. du Cerf, Paris 1997. ISBN 2-204-05395-3 .
  • Gabriele Winkler, The Armenian Initiation Ritual. Historical and liturgical study of the sources of the 3rd to 10th centuries. Pont. Inst. Studiorum Orientalium, Roma 1982.
  • Lévon Boghos Zékian , I Sacramenti dell'iniziazione nell'Oriente cristiano, con particolare riguardo all'antica tradizione catechetica antiocheno-armena . In: Marcianum 3, 2007, 127-153; ISSN 1825-991X


Myron consecration

Armenian consecration of myron in Antelias

Myron is an oil enriched with numerous fragrant herbs , which is used in particularly high-level sacramental acts. Its solemn consecration is carried out by the Armenians every seven years by a Catholicos , in the present day by both that of Etschmiadzin and that of Cilicia . The last consecration of the Myrones took place in Biqfaya (Lebanon) on July 18, 2015 and in Etchmiadzin on September 27, 2015. As a sign of continuity and unity, something from the previously consecrated Myron is added to the new, and recently also something from the Myron of the sibling Catholic.

  • Hrant Papazian: Le Saint-Chrême arménien. Photographies en couleurs de l'auteur. Renkler Matbaası, Istanbul 1983.
  • Erich Renhart: The Holy Myron. The ingredients according to ancient Greek and Armenian tradition , in: Erich Renhart (Ed.): Work and research report from the Institute for Liturgical Science, Christian Art and Hymnology at the Karl-Franzens University Graz . Manumedia Verlag Schnider, Graz 1999, 69-80.
  • Photo series from the consecration of Myron in 2015 by the Catholicos of Cilicia


  • Paul F. Bradshaw: Ordination Rites of the Ancient Churches of East and West. New York 1990.
  • Claudio Gugerotti: La liturgia armena delle ordinazioni e l'epoca ciciliana. Esisti rituali di una teologia di comunione tra Chiese (Orientalia Christiana Analecta 264). Pont. Institutum Orientalium Studiorum , Roma 2001, ISBN 88-7210-330-4 .
  • Charles Renoux: L'ordination du catholicos arménien. In: AM Triacca - A. Pistoia (ed.): Ordination et ministères. CLV - Ed. Liturgiche, Roma 1996, 247-274.
  • Abraham Terian: The Anathemas in the Armenian Ordination Euchologion . In: St. Nersess Theological Review 3, 1-2. 1998, 77-101.
  • Mari Kristin Arat: The Deaconesses of the Armenian Church in a canonical view. Mechitharist printing house, Vienna 1990.

Monk ordination

Anointing of a king

For the anointing and coronation of the kings of minor Armenia, an order of the Roman rite was translated into Armenian and edited in 1198 . In a somewhat simplified form, this was used by Catholicos Stephanos V of Aghtamar until the last coronation of an Armenian king in Vaspurakan in 1466 .

  • Ordre de la cérémonie du sacre du Roi, selon la grande Eglise romaine . In: Gh. M. Alishan: Léon le Magnifique . Venice 1888, 327–336 (French translation).
  • Peter Cowe: The Inauguration of the Cilician Coronation Rite and Royal Ideology . In: Armenian Review 45, 4 (1992) 49-59.
  • D. Davt'yan: T'agavorōrhnek'i kanone hay ekełec'um (Canon of the Consecration of Kings in the Armenian Church), masch. Diss. Edschmiadsin 2000.
  • Edda Vardanyan: Un Maštoc 'd'ordination et de sacre royal du XVe siècle . In: Revue des Études Arméniennes 29 (2003/04) 167–233.
  • Ioanna Rapti: Featuring the King. Rituals of Coronation and Burial in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia . In: M. Parani - A. Beihammer - S. Konstantinou (eds.): Court Ceremonies and Rituals of Power in Byzantium and the Medieval Mediterranean. Comparative Perspectives , Brill, Leiden 2013, 291–335.


  • Michael D. Findikyan: The Armenian ritual of the dedication of a church. A textual and comparative analysis of three early sources, in: Orientalia Christiana Periodica 64. 1998, 75–121.


  • Sacrement du Pardon dans l'Église Apostolique Arménienne . Traduit de l'arménien par Sahag Sukiasyan:
  • A. Raes: Les rites de la penitence chez les Arméniens . In: Orientalia Christiana Periodica 13 (1947) 648-655.
  • E. Carr: Penance among the Armenians. Notes on the history of its practice and its theology. In: Studia Liturgica 11 (1976) 65-100.



  • A. Raes: Le mariage dans les Églises d'Orient . Éditions de Chevetogne 1958, 69–101 (Armenian-Catholic text, based on the Maštoc ' print of the Viennese Mechitarists of 1905, French).
  • Armenian Wedding Service (English translation)


  • Charles Renoux: Le mariage arménien dans les plus anciens rituels, In: AM Triacca - A. Pistoia (ed.): Le mariage . CLV - Ed. Liturgiche, Roma 1994, 298-305.
  • Michael Findikyan: Old Testament Readings in the Liturgy of Matrimony of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, In: St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 33/1 (1989) 86-93.
  • F. Van de Paverd: Forme celebrative del matrimonio nelle Chiese orientali . In: La celebrazione del matrimonio cristiano. Atti della V settimana dei professori italiani di Liturgia. EDB, Bologna 1977, 11-116. Without ISBN.

Anointing of the sick

An anointing of the sick by the church has not been cultivated for a long time. In the Kingdom of Lesser Armenia , some priests used the Greek and some the Latin order. The Synod of Sis in 1342 decided ( quantum possumus ) alignment with the practice of the Church of Rome.


Different liturgical orders are known for the burial of (1) clergy , (2) monks and (3) lay people . A separate order for the burial of unbaptized children has been attested since the end of the 13th century; in modern times it is used for the burial of baptized children. (1) The rite for the burial of a priest has a richer reading order and a more developed ceremony. After the wake, the deceased is laid out in the church, and the bier is then placed in various parts of the church to be taken away. The high point of the celebration is the anointing of the corpse with Myron and the adoption of the dead by his fellow officers. (2) The rite for monks seems to depend on the order of the lay burial. There is no church service for the deceased. After the wake in the house where he died, the deceased is immediately carried to the cemetery and buried in his habit . (3) The rite for laypeople consists of: (a) caring for the corpse and vigil in the death house; (b) Transfer of the corpse in front of the church portal, there prayer service and ritual farewell; (c) Procession and cemetery and burial.

  • Andrea B. Schmidt: The canon of those who have fallen asleep. The burial ritual of the Armenians. The ancient Armenian burial rite for the laity (Orientalia Biblica et Christiana 5). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1994. ISBN 3-447-03539-0
  • Giuseppe Munarini: Canone degli inni funebri della Chiesa armena . In: Bazmavep 160 (2002) 297-323; 161 (2003) 315-345; 162 (2004) 238-289.

Times of the day

Festivals and celebrations

Armenian Synaxarion, print: Constantinople 1706
  • Cesare Tondini Di Quarenghi: Notice sur le calendrier liturgique de la nation arménienne . In: Bessarione II 10 (1906) 275-294.
  • Tiran Petrosyan: The liturgical reforms of Catholicos Simeon I. Erewanc'i (1763-1780): Liturgical year and calendar of the Armenian Church , Diss. Vienna 2009 (unprinted).

Easter and Easter time

  • Charles Renoux: Le Triduum Pascal dans le rite arménien et les Hymnes de la Grande Semaine. In: Revue des Études Arméniennes 7 (1970) 55–122 (with French translation of the hymns).
  • Charles Renoux: Le Triduum Pascal dans le rite arménien. Histoire et symbolisme. In: Revue des Études Arméniennes (1970) 123–175.
  • Charles Renoux: Le canon de la Pentecôte dans l'hymnaire arménien. In: Mémorial Mgr G. Khouri-Sarkis. Louvain 1969, 83-88.
  • Charles Renoux: Un rite pénitentiel le jour de la Pentecôte? L'Office de la génuflexion dans la tradition arénienne . Mechitharist printing press Vienna 1973.


The festival of December 25th (“Christmas”) was not adopted by the Armenians. The birth and appearance (epiphany) of the Lord will therefore continue to be celebrated together on January 6th.

  • Charles Renoux: L'Annonciation du rite arménien et l'Épiphanie . In: Orientalia Christiana Periodica 71 (2005) 315–342.
  • Giuseppe Munarini: Canone della benedizione delle acque [nel giorno de Natale-Epifania di Nostro Signor Gesù Cristo nella Chiesa Armena (6 Gennaio)] . In: Bazmavep 163 (2005) 227-265.

Other festivals

  • Charles Renoux: La fête de la Transfiguration et le rite arménien. In: Mens concordet Voci, Festschrift AG Martimort. Paris 1983, 652-662.
  • Charles Renoux: L'Annonciation du rite arménien et l'Épiphanie . In: Orientalia Christiana Periodica 71 (2005) 315–342.
  • Michael Daniel Findikyan: Armenian Hymns of the Church and the Cross . In: St. Nersess Theological Review 11 (2006) 62-104; ders .: Armenian Hymns of the Holy Cross and the Jerusalem Encaenia. In: Revue des Études Arméniennes 32 (201) 25-58.

Robes and implements

  • J. Muyldermans: Le costume liturgique arménien. Étude historique . In: Le Muséon 39 (1926) 253-354.
  • Edda Vardanyan: Un Maštoc 'd'ordination et de sacre royal du XVe siècle. In: Revue des Études Arméniennes NS 29 (2003/04), 167–233, esp. 188f (vestments of the Catholicos).

Liturgical collections

General literature

in order of appearance

  • Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare: Rituale Armenorum, being the administration of the sacraments and the breviary rites of the Armenian church . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1905. Reprints: Elibron Classics 2002, ISBN 1-4021-6536-6 and Olms, Hildesheim 2004, ISBN 3-487-12553-6 .
  • Malachia Ormanian: A Dictionary of the Armenian Church. St. Vartan Press, New York 1984 (reprinted 2006), ISBN 0-934728-12-7 (liturgical dictionary).
  • Erich Renhart, Jasmine Dum-Tragut (Ed.): Armenian Liturgies. A glimpse of a distant Christian culture . Schnider, Graz and Salzburg 2001, ISBN 3-902020-10-5 .
  • Roberta R. Ervine (Ed.): Worship Traditions in Armenia and the Neighboring Christian East . St Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY 2006, ISBN 0-88141-304-6 .

Individual evidence

  1. Overview: Charles Renoux: Les commentaires liturgiques arméniens . In: Mystagogie. Pensée liturgique d'aujourd'hui et liturgie ancienne (BELS 70), Rome, 1993, 277-308.
  2. Liborius Olaf Lumma : Myron consecration in the Armenian Apostolic Marian Monastery of Biqfaya, Lebanon, on July 18, 2015. Andreas-Petrus-Werk, circular 2015/2, accessed on December 18, 2015
  3. Consecration of the Myron 2015 in St. Etchmiadzin. ( Memento from December 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Armenian Congregation BW, September 27, 2015, accessed on December 18, 2015
  4. For the different reviews cf. Ugo Zanetti: Apophtegmes et histoires édifiantes dans le Synaxaire arménien . In: Analecta Bollandiana 105 (1987) 169f.