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ARMENIANS

The Armenians are one of the most ancient peoples of the Western Asia. Two of Jesus' disciples. St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew spread Christianity among the Armenians, hence the name of the church, the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the seat of the Armenian church, and of its Patriarch (Catholicos), currently Karekin II.
In 406 Mesrob Mashtots created the Armenian alphabet which helped the preservation of the Armenian language in spite of the persecution and displacement of a large number of Armenians.
Nowadays the Armenian community in Bulgaria maintains 11 churches, numerous schools and cultural centres, which, along with the church, preserve Armenian unity and cultural heritage.

Most important are the church rituals and family gatherings such as engagements, weddings, and christenings. A lot of effort is put into the preservation of the original essence and meaning of holidays. One such holiday is Dyarantarach, which is celebrated on the 14th of February. The fire that is lit on that day symbolizes the beginning of spring. Particularly attractive are the various music, dance and literary events. There are myths, legends and stories about the close links between the Armenians and the Bulgarians which also pass on a feeling of spiritual closeness.

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