It was a beautiful Tuesday morning today at St. Vartan Camp! During his morning message, Fr. Diran explained how Armenian Church are built with their altars facing east. Our Church fathers designed our churches this way because that is where the star of Bethlehem appeared, in the east, to guide the wise men to Christ, our Savior. He is to come again in the east, as well, and we put our faith in him and in living in his eternal kingdom, “for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Mat 2:1-2).

Just before lunch, we were all elated to see that His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, had arrived to visit camp. We greeted him in unison in our cafeteria with, “Asdvadz Oknagan, Surpazan Hayr.” After lunch, under the pavilion, Surpazan Hayr told our camp family how happy he was to be with all of us and to see all of us enjoying this camp experience and being together once again. He asked the campers what made them happiest at camp and they responded: their counselors, swimming, sports, classes and their friends. While under the camp pavilion, Der Vasken noted that there was an ongoing friendly competition between St. Vartan Camp here in Greenville, NY and Hye Camp in Ingleside, IL on who makes the best choreg. On a Skype call with Hayr Aren, Director of Hye Camp, Surpazan Hayr placed the one and only deciding vote… and the winner was St. Vartan Camp’s choreg!

Before leaving, Surpazan Hayr gave each camper and staff member a blessed wooden cross from Holy Etchmiadzin as a gift, and he visited our pool during swim time and our classes in the afternoon. We ended our Tuesday evening with a Carnival night, full of games and fun for all! Activities included basketball around the world, pie your counselor, and the ever-popular task of eating donuts on a string. We closed the night with a refreshing vespers service, and many stayed behind in the chapel to reflect on the day in candlelight.

You can view and download today’s photos from our Eastern Diocese SmugMug account here: