ST. SARKIS THE WARRIOR

This Saturday, the Armenian Church remembers St. Sarkis the Warrior and his son, St. Mardiros. It is a moveable feast day that generally occurs between January 11 and February 15.

It follows the five-day Fast of Catechumens. Although the Fast is not connected to St. Sarkis, it has become to be associated with this saint who enjoy a special popularity among the Armenians. Sarkis lived during the fourth century and was from Cappadocia in Asia Minor. He rose through the military ranks as a consequence of his valiant campaigns on behalf of the Emperor Constantine.

With the accession of Emperor Julian, Sarkis took refuge in Armenia with his son, Mardiros. Later he and his son went to Persia to join the Persian army in fighting Emperor Julian. Both fought with exceptional bravery. The Persian king (Shapur II) tried to convince them to abandon their Christrian faith and embrace Zorastrianism. Both refused, and father and son were martyred.

Loyal Christian soldiers who went to retrieve the body, were killed as well. Eventually, Christians found the body and sent it to Assyria, where it remained until the fifth century, when Mesrob Mashdots received the remains and moved them to the city of Garpi in Armenia. The famed Garpi Monastery, erected over the site of the grave, stands to this day.

St. Sarkis is revered and there are many Armenian churches throughout the world dedicated to his memory.