Shortly after 5.15pm on Maundy Thursday – at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, a few hundred yards from St Chrysostom’s … The curtain before the altar – the veil of separation – drew back and Fr Garegin began the Service of the Washing of Feet, written by St Ephrem the Syrian and translated by the 11th Century Armenian Catholicos St Gregory the Martyrophile.
Our Armenian friends made us very welcome and invited us to have our feet washed in the liturgy. Fr Ian was given a seat of honour and provided with priests slippers for the liturgy. He was invited to read the Exhortation concerning love by John Vartabed. Fortunately an English translation was available.
This simple Armenian ceremony of feetwashing had both a dignity and weight of ancient history behind it. The haunting melodies and age old ceremony led us to a “thin place.” The generous welcome both to participation in the liturgy and to food afterwards was both moving and inspiring – a wonderful example for this holy day.
From the Armenian liturgy of today: God became man, was subjected to the Law, and became a priest. A new mystery is revealed: God fell on His knees, and put on an apron… Grant us the overflow of love and good works