Detroit Free Press, MI
Dec 5 2007


Orthodox Christians in Detroit prepare for Christmas services
January 5, 2008

By NIRAJ WARIKOO

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Most of Marty Shoushanian's neighbors in Farmington Hills have
already taken down their Christmas decorations and trees.

But the holiday ornaments are still up at Shoushanian's house because
he - like thousands of other Orthodox Christians in metro Detroit --
celebrates Christmas next week. Shoushanian and other Armenians will
be in church Sunday for special services that mark both the birth and
baptism of Jesus Christ.

On Monday, other Orthodox churches plan to mark the Nativity with
special services that have roots in Russia, Eastern Europe, Egypt and
Ethiopia.

`We're lucky, we get two Christmases,' Shoushanian joked.

At St. John Armenian Church in Southfield, hundreds are expected to
gather Sunday for Christmas services that include the blessing of
water. That will be followed by a feast of lamb and a special pudding
called Anoushabour, made of heavy cream, wheat and dried fruits, said
the Rev. Fr. Garabed Kochakian, head of the Southfield church. The
night before, Christmas Eve, many Armenians eat a meal of spinach,
fish and eggs, the foods they believe Mary ate the night of Christ's
birth.

Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics mark Christmas on different
dates because of differences in calendars and the development of
Christianity in the East and West, say local Orthodox leaders.

Other Orthodox churches that follow the older Julian calendar mark
Christmas a day later than Armenians. On Sunday evening, St. Sabbas
the Sanctified Orthodox Monastery in Harper Woods will hold Nativity
Eve services, followed by a liturgy on Monday morning. The services
attract worshippers from a wide range of backgrounds, including
Serbians, Macedonians and Romanians, said Archimandrite Pachomy,
abbot of the monastery.

`It's packed to capacity,' he said.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress