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September 14: This Day in the History of the Armenian Church

On September 14, 1374 the last Armenian king – Leo V Lusignan was consecrated in Cilicia. 

The rising of king Leo V Lusignan to the throne was greeted by Armenians with excitement and hope. For a brief moment, it appeared that the future of the Armenian kingdom and independence is safe and that the king will be able to unite Armenians, build relationships with the neighboring superpowers of the Islamic East and Christian West.

All hope was shattered very quickly when it became apparent that diplomacy for Leo meant aligning himself and Armenia with the only superpower he knew and was familiar with – the Catholic West. The king started his reign by rejecting the Armenian request to be consecrated by the Armenian Catholicos and Holy Myron and instead, preferred to be anointed by a Catholic bishop and Chrism. Eventually, he decided that the Armenian Catholicos will be standing on his left side and wait for the Catholics to finish the main service to consecrate him using the Armenian Myron and service. 

Ironically, when all his plans fell apart, when his catholic knights and protectors conspired against his life and Armenian independence, it was the Armenian Catholicos and the Armenian residents of Sis that stood by him, protected and saved him by endangering their own lives. 

In life, we can forge many friendships and find comfort in many places, but when everything fails we can be certain that the Armenian faith, the Armenian Church, our identity, heritage, our parish and community will always be there to support and sustain us.

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