Last Friday, I accompanied Fr. Krikor when he went to preach for the Armenian language World Day of Prayer service, which took place at the Evangelical Church in the Armenian neighbourhood of Bourj Hammoud, about 5 minutes away from the Catholicosate. The first Friday of March has long been designated for prayer services around the world. Organising the World Day of Prayer is the work of a worldwide movement of Christian women representing many traditions in more than 170 countries and regions. The Chair of the World Day for Lebanon (pictured left above) tells me that several services were scheduled here for various linguistic groups in the capital (Arabic, Armenian, English, French and German) and a service for children.
The day used to be known as the Women’s World Day of Prayer, and as the congregation arrived for the service in Bourj Hammoud on Friday, it became apparent that the service there was still very much a women’s event in Bourj Hammoud – Fr. Krikor and I were the only men in a congregation of about 350! Pictured above, centre, looking towards the camera (wearing dark glasses) is Fr. Krikor’s mother who also came along for the service.
The sanctuary of the church was decorated with artefacts and colours representing South Africa, the theme country for this year’s World Day of Prayer. The service itself was designed and developed by the women of that country and it began with the singing of the South African national anthem.
The Gospel reading was taken from St. Matthew (26.1-13) and told the story of the woman who comes to Jesus shortly before his crucifixion and pours fine ointment on his head. Jesus explains, “By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news