On July 18, we visited Khor Virab, the pit where St. Gregory resided for 13 years before healing King Drtad through prayer. Khor Virab truly surpassed our expectations. Mt. Ararat was the first thing we saw as we pulled up to the parking lot. It was the closest view of the mountain we had seen yet. I was instantly in awe of the beautiful sight -- our motherland.
After we climbed the stone steps leading to the church at Khor Virab, we participated in Badarak. The Divine Liturgy was held in a church across from St. Gregory's chapel, which contains an entranceway to the infamous pit. The liturgy was beautiful; the choir had a full angelic sound, providing bass, alto, and soprano sounds for each hymn. A Der Hayr said the confession during the singing of the "Der Voghormya," instead of after the hymn like we are used to. This had such a powerful effect on all of us, as it emphasized the fact that we were asking the Lord for mercy and forgiveness of our sins.
Following Badarak, we descended into the actual pit that St. Gregory was thrown into. As we went down the ladder, the feeling of his prayers and faith overwhelmed each of us. It made us reflect on how strong one's faith must be in order to stay sane in a place like that for a couple of days, let alone years. In that pit, we realized how necessary a strong faith is in life. St. Gregory proved that with strong faith in God, anything is possible. The trip to Khor Virab inspired all of us to keep our faith, traditions, and culture alive.