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Saints are remembered on the Church calendar during the Lenten Season, as they are throughout the year. On the first Saturday of Lent this year the Church remembers St. Theodore the Warrior, a personality from the 4th Century.
In Orthodox tradition we look to the saints as examples of living life with purpose and in the path of Christ. Saints are never worshiped. Each of them are people just like us. In their humanity, they were able to rise to the occasion, usually through selfless sacrifice, and express their love in unique ways. One such saint that the Church remembers is St. Sahag Barthev. He was a saint who used his God given talents and spread the Gospel of love and hope to the world.
St. Sahag lived in the 5th century. His story begins a hundred years yearly, when the Armenian people accepted Christianity in 301AD. Immediately, the move to educate the people in the ways of Christ was underway. Quickly it became obvious that first and foremost in the education of the people, it was necessary to translate the Holy Scriptures into Armenian. An Armenian monk by the name of Mesrobe (St. Mesrobe Mashdots) had the vision to invent an Armenian alphabet with the sole purpose of bringing the Christian message to his people. He found a partner in making that vision a reality in the person of the Chief Bishop, or Catholicos, Sahag Barthev. As the head of the Armenian Church, St. Sahag commissioned and underwrote the project. It was in 431 AD that the translation of Bible into Armenian was completed.
In Armenian Orthodox tradition, the Bible is precious and sacred that is has a unique name. It is called the Breath of God, or Asdvadzashoonch. The vision became a reality. The Armenian people were able to read and understand scriptures in their native language.
Each and every one of us has our own dreams. We have our own visions of what our life and communities should be. We dream of goals for our family and ourselves. Each of us walking through the Lenten Journey should seize the opportunity to inventory those dreams. During Lent we have reviewed and altered our diet and inspected our relationships. Today, we look at our dreams closely. What dreams do we have for ourselves, as well as our families and our communities? What dreams to our family and friends have that can use our support? Today’s lesson is about turning dreams into reality and to freely give the encouragement and support that you possess to others. Mesrobe Mashdotz realizing he could not actualize his dream alone, plugged into a larger community of people who shared his vision. Sahag Barthev realizing he had a desire to do good, needed to find the means by which to make his dream come true. Together, they make the dream come true.
Let us find strength in our relationships with family and friends. Find people who share your same vision. Encourage the little steps others take to make the big strides, and eventually the goal, possible. And now push yourself to think bigger…
As we heighten our prayer life during Lent and as we turn inward in meditation, let us keep in mind that Jesus also has a dream. It is a dream for peace. His dream involves love, kindness and charity to all of His children. He’s counting on us to be the Sahag Barthev that will encourage and support His Dream. He looks to us, His Holy body the Church, to become the facilitators, the means by which peace can come. We become the arms, the legs and the mouth to do His work here in this world.
Let us pray the prayer of St. Nerses Shnorhali:
Oh Jesus, Wisdom of the Father, Grant me wisdom so that I may think, speak and do that which is good in your sight. Save me from evil thoughts, words and deeds. Have mercy on your creatures and upon me a great sinner. (I Confess with Faith 11/24)
Today’s post is sponsored by Madame Kubah