Today the Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates the Feast of St. Sarkis the Commander. By the order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, the Feast of St. Sarkis is proclaimed day of blessing of the youth, Panorama.am reports referring to Qahana.am.
The source notes that Captain St. Sarkis is one of the most beloved saints among the Armenian nation. Together with his 14 soldiers-companions he was martyred for the sake of Christian faith.
During the period of reign of the king Kostandianos the Great (285-337) St. Sarkis, being very courageous, was appointed the prince and General in chief of the region of Cappadocia bordering Armenia. When during the period of reign of the king Julianos the Betrayer (360-363) the persecutions against Christians started St. Sarkis and his only son – Martyros, came to live in Armenia, and the Armenian king Tiran, grandson of Tiridates, received them very well.
Being informed that Julianos had initiated an invasion towards Persia, the Armenian king, intending to keep his country safe from the threat of attack, urged Sarkis to begin serving in the army of the Persian king Shapouh who gladly appointed him as the captain of regiments.
Becoming aware of the fact that Sarkis was Christian the king Shapouh ordered him to worship the fire and offer sacrifice to the heathen gods. But the captain immediately refused to obey the order saying, “We should worship one God – the Holy Trinity, which has created the earth and the heaven. Whereas fire or idols are not gods and the human being may destroy them.” After these words the saint destroyed the temple. The annoyed crowd fell on the saint and his son. First the son of the saint was martyred. The saint was put into detention and remaining unshaken in his faith was beheaded. After the martyrdom of the saint light appeared over his body. 14 soldiers-companions of the saint also were martyred for the sake of Christian faith.
For the Armenian nation St. Sarkis is one of the most beloved taints. It is not casual that St. Mesrop Mashtots brought the relics of the saint to the village Karbi (Ashtarak Region) and the Church of St. Sarkis was built over his relics.
On the day of the feast a divine liturgy is offered in all churches named after St. Sarkis which is followed by a special ceremony of blessing of young people.