Posts Tagged ‘khor virab’

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[ACYOA Dispatches]: Lake Sevan.

July 22, 2010

By Arman Ayrapetyan

Nothing on this three-week trip has topped the excitement of climbing the mountains around Lake Sevan. Together our group scaled the steep mountainside along with Tigran, our tour guide. It felt as though we would never make it to the top, and I had some thoughts of calling it quits, but I forced myself to finish the climb. As we got higher, it started getting colder, our ears started to pop, and for me, it became increasingly harder to breathe.

At the top of the tallest mountain we climbed, sat what we thought was a lightning rod, surrounded by a wide field. Lake Sevan was a great view from the top, and our hotel was as small as a fingernail.

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Credit: Arman Ayrapetyan

To our surprise we heard thunder, and not too long after, it started to drizzle. After taking our pictures, we started working our way back down. The mountain became increasingly slippery and I found myself falling on sharp plants. Due to the poor traction of my sneakers, I was the last one to make it to the bottom. We then bypassed an angry dog and finished the climb with a victory picture.

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Credit: Arman Ayrapetyan

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[ACYOA Dispatches]: Visit to Khor Virab.

July 21, 2010

By Paul Derderian

On July 18, we visited Khor Virab, the pit where St. Gregory resided for 13 years before healing King Drtad through prayer.  Khor Virab truly surpassed our expectations.  Mt. Ararat was the first thing we saw as we pulled up to the parking lot.  It was the closest view of the mountain we had seen yet.  I was instantly in awe of the beautiful sight — our motherland.

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Credit: Paul Derderian

After we climbed the stone steps leading  to the church at Khor Virab, we participated in Badarak.  The Divine Liturgy was held in a church across from St. Gregory’s chapel, which contains an entranceway to the infamous pit.  The liturgy was beautiful; the choir had a full angelic sound, providing bass, alto, and soprano sounds for each hymn. A Der Hayr said the confession during the singing of the “Der Voghormya,” instead of after the hymn like we are used to.  This had such a powerful effect on all of us, as it emphasized the fact that we were asking the Lord for mercy and forgiveness of our sins.

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Credit: Paul Derderian

Following Badarak, we descended into the actual pit that St. Gregory was thrown into.  As we went down the ladder, the feeling of his prayers and faith overwhelmed each of us.  It made us reflect on how strong one’s faith must be in order to stay sane in a place like that for a couple of days, let alone  years.  In that pit, we realized how necessary a strong faith is in life.  St. Gregory proved that with strong faith in God, anything is possible.  The trip to Khor Virab inspired all of us to keep our faith, traditions, and culture alive.

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Credit: Paul Derderian