Feast Of Saint Vartan
The Feast of Saint Vartan is a holiday that’s observed in Armenia on the Thursday that falls during the eighth week before Easter. It commemorates the Armenian military leader and martyr that led the Armenian army in 451 during the Battle of Avarayr. This battle secured his fellow Armenians the right to practice Christianity when the Sasanian Empire was attempting to convert the entire country to Zoroastrianism.
Although this is an important religious holiday in Armenia, it’s not a national public holiday. As such, most schools, businesses, and government offices remain open on this day and for the general population, it’s a normal workday.
The History Of The Feast Of Saint Vartan In Armenia
According to tradition, St. Vartan was the grandson of St. Sahag and his lineage can be traced back to St. Gregory the Illuminator. Instead of entering the priesthood, he decided that he would become a soldier.
He was the head of the Mamigonian clan and was respected by the King of Persia as the commander-in-chief of all Armenian armies. He would be dedicated to being a good soldier, but he also considered himself to be a good Christian.
The Persians initially allowed Christian Armenians to practice their faith, but the Armenians growing zeal for their religion made the Persians rethink their position. King Yazdegerd II would impose unfair taxes on the Armenians and demanded that they abandon their religion and submit to Zoroastrianism. St. Vartan was forced to fight the Persians during the Battle of Avarayr.
Observing The Feast Of Saint Vartan In Armenia
This holiday is observed through religious services dedicated to honoring this saint. It’s not a public holiday in Armenia, and as a result, most businesses and government offices remain open on this day. People also continue to work as they would on any other normal business day.