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Before the Badarak Begins

We Prepare Ourselves
We prepare ourselves for the Divine Liturgy both physically and spiritually. The custom of the Armenian Church is to fast from all food and drink from the time we wake up on Sunday morning until we have received Holy Communion. Fasting helps us to focus our minds and hearts on the spiritual nourishment we will receive in Holy Communion. Exceptions are made, of course, for those who, for health reasons, must eat in the morning. They may have a light breakfast and still come forward for Holy Communion.

Spiritual preparation for the Badarak is by means of prayer. To participate fully in the Divine Liturgy, one should devote at least fifteen minutes of quiet time with God either on Saturday night, or on Sunday morning. This quiet time serves to help us focus on the great mystery of being with God. It can include reading of, and meditation on relevant passages from the Bible, or prayer and reflection.

As we shall see, the Badarak is a procedure with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Therefore, it is very important to arrive in Church at least five minutes before the Divine Liturgy begins, and to remain attentive until the end. When we enter the Church, we make the sign of the Cross, take a place -- preferably not in the rear pews -- and standing, recite the Lord's Prayer. Then we may be seated in silence until the celebrant and servers enter the church.

The Priest Prepares Himself Alternating
For the celebrant priest, the Divine Liturgy begins in silent prayer in the vestry. There, the priest and deacon alternately recite the verses of Psalm 131, "Let your priests clothe themselves with righteousness; and let your saints exult with joy." The priest then prays to God, acknowledging his own sinfulness and the extraordinary privilege given to him by God to lead the people of God in the offering of the Divine Liturgy.

The various vestments worn by the priest are inspired by those worn by the Jewish priests in the temple, as described in Exodus 28. Each article is accompanied by a brief prayer, which the priest offers as the deacon hands it to him to put on. As he puts on each successive garment, the priest prays that God will also clothe him with the grace and virtues to preside worthily at the Badarak: "Clothe me with a radiant garment and fortify me against the influence of the evil one, that I may be worthy to glorify your glorious name"[3].
ArmenianChurch.org

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