Blessing of the Grapes

On Sunday 31 January, the Blessing of Grapes took place following the Divine Liturgy on the lawns of the Church of Holy Resurrection. The service was presided by the Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Aghan Baliozian.

The custom of blessing grapes can be traced back to the Old Testament when offering the first fruits to God was customary practice. Grapes had a special place of honour because they were the first produce of harvest.

With the birth of Jesus, these dedications took on a new meaning as the first born – or first fruit – of Mary, he was offered to God in the temple. (Luke 2:25-30)

This Blessing of Grapes is celebrated nearing the end of the summer and beginning of harvest.  It is traditional to use seedless grapes to emphasise that this fruit came into being without seed just as Christ became man without any human agent.

See photos in Photo Gallery

Ordination of Three Acolytes

On Sunday 24 January, three young parishioners were ordained to the rank of acolyte by the Primate of the Diocese, His Eminence Archbishop Aghan Baliozian. Vahag Vartan-Boghossian, Patrick Abolakian and Garren Pezikian have been serving diligently in the Church of Holy Resurrection as altar servers taking part in morning services and Divine Liturgy regularly on Sundays over the past few years. As the young men knelt humbly before the clergy at the foot of the altar, they were granted the four rights of their rank as part custodians of the church.

Following the ceremony, the Primate praised the commitment and devotion of these three young men to the Church with the hope that their exemplary stance will inspire and motivate others in the community.

See photos in Photo Gallery

Blessings

In the sacred traditions of the Armenian Church, there is the beautiful practice of blessing services which provide spiritual nourishment and comfort to our souls. Through these ceremonies our faith is replenished and the presence of our Lord is felt.


Blessings and prayers are offered for different occasions and in times of personal need.

  • Infant Presentation –  to the Church of newborns, normally at forty days.
  • Engagement – blessing of the rings and the betrothed couple.
  • Home Blessing – normally at Christmas and Easter or on occasion of moving into a new home (or business).
  • Blessing of Graves – on Remembrance Days (7 January, Easter Monday, 25 April) and at other times by request.
  • Anointing of the Sick – for the very ill relying on God’s mercy and belief that the Holy Oil will quicken the recovery.

To organise a Blessing:


For Infant Presentation:

  • before participating in Sunday’s Divine Liturgy, register your child’s name with the church office
  • approach the celebrant priest following the Liturgy to perform the blessing service.

Requiem/ Hokehankist

It is a respected tradition in the Armenian Church for families to request requiem prayers for the soul of their loved ones who have passed away. Requiems are generally held on the fortieth day and on subsequent anniversaries.  The names of the deceased are read during the prayers of the Divine Liturgy and a special prayer service is conducted immediately following.

According to the teachings of the Armenian Church, those who have died enter into a period of rest while awaiting our Lord’s glorious second coming at the end of time. But while separated from the Christian community, the souls that are resting continue to be counted among the faithful, who “rest in the shadow of the church.”  We therefore pray for them, as we pray for all our earthly cares. Essentially, our prayer for the dead is that they rest in peace, that the Lord forgive them all of their sins and find them worthy of eternal life in the Father’s kingdom when Christ comes again.

Praying for the dead is a proclamation of our faith in Christ’s second coming, and our hope in the resurrection of the dead. When the Armenian Church prays regularly for the dead we are reminded that life is transient, and we are filled with hope because we believe that death is too.

Source: The Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church – St Vartan Press


To organise a Requiem:

  • Visit or contact the church office to complete the requiem form before 10 a.m. on the Friday preceding the Sunday of the requested service to ensure the names of those requesting the requiem are included in the weekly service booklet.
  • Requiems may also be registered at the church office on Sunday mornings before 11.00 a.m. for remembrance of the deceased only.
  • You will need to provide the following information for the form:

–     name and relationship of deceased

–     names of those requesting the requiem (please limit the number of family          names)

–     the period of the death e.g. fortieth day or anniversary

–     names of other deceased family members to remember

  • The Edgarian hall is available to serve coffee (hokesoorj) or meals (hokejush) following the Divine Liturgy.  Information on cost and conditions of hall use is available from the church office.

Funeral

When a loved one passes, the family normally contacts a priest for pastoral care and a funeral director to make arrangements.

The church office will assist the family in planning and organising the church and requiem services.

The family will be requested to provide information on the deceased, guided by the downloadable Eulogy Information form which is also available from the church office. This will assist the presiding clergyman in delivering the eulogy at the funeral service.


Memorial Hall Service – Hokehjush/Hokesoorj

The Edgarian Hall is available for service of coffee (hokesoorj) or meal (hokejush) following the funeral and burial service.

Included in the use of the hall is: chairs, tables, kitchen facilities, coffee/tea cups. The hirer is responsible for the provision of sweets, coffee/tea/sugar/milk, plates, cutlery, napkins, tablecloths, meals, etc.

Information on cost and conditions of hall use is available from the church office.


Customary Practices

There are some customary practices in the Armenian Church following the passing of a loved one which can provide comfort and solace to bereaving families with prayers offered to the Almighty in rememberance of the soul of the dearly departed.  These practices are held at the request of the bereaved.

  • Before dusk on Saturday eve following the funeral, the priest blesses the bed of the deceased offering prayers for the restful soul of the deceased.
  • Requiems are held for the soul of the deceased generally on the Sunday following the funeral (“ootohrnek”); forty days after the passing (“karasoonk”); and subsequent anniversaries (“darelits”).

Marriage

“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him
a helper fit for him.”
  [Genesis 2:18]

The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony or Marriage is the consecration of the union between a man and a woman in lawful marriage.  By mutual accord of the man and the woman, they are united together with a spiritual bond to each other and to the Church.


To book a Marriage with the Church:

–     copies of birth certificates

–  copies of baptism certificates or date/s of baptism if baptised in the Armenian Apostolic Church of Holy Resurrection in Sydney [if one of the betrothed is not baptised or confirmed in the Armenian Apostolic Church s/he must first be baptised/ confirmed prior to the marriage]

–     copies of ‘Single Status Certificate’

–     if required for identification purposes, copies of parents’ passports

–     if applicable, copy of divorce decree.

  • Once the initial Application for Marriage form is completed you will be contacted by the church office 8 weeks before your wedding date to organise the ‘Notice of Intended Marriage’ form required by law.
  • You will also need to decide on the preferred wedding package which outlines the number of clergy and deacons you wish to preside over your wedding and cost. This information is available from the church office.

Wedding Service Booklet

Should you wish to prepare a Wedding Service Booklet in English for your guests, the church office can provide a soft or hard copy of the order of service. Design, preparation, printing and distribution remain your responsibility.

Baptism

“Unless one is born of water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”
 [John 3:5]

In the Armenian Apostolic Church the sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation (anointing with oil) and Holy Communion are all given at the time of Baptism.

The Baptism ceremony can be performed in two ways:

1. After having consecrated the water by the sign of the cross and with the holy chrism and emerging the body of baby into the water three times,

2. Pouring holy water three times upon the head of the person being baptised and washing the face and the senses of adults.


To book a Baptism:

–     copy of the ‘church’ marriage certificate or date of marriage if the marriage ceremony was conducted in the Armenian Apostolic Church of Holy Resurrection in Sydney

–     copy of the child’s birth certificate.

  • There are different package options for the baptism service. Information and prices are available from the church office.

Things to bring on Baptism Day:

  • cross necklace
  • 2 white towels
  • gloves to protect the anointed hands
  • christening gown/clothes
  • 2 candles (optional)

Divine Liturgy

The Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church known as Soorp Badarak in Armenian (translation ‘Holy Sacrifice’) is the principal worship service of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the most important expression of the Church’s faith and identity.

It is the commemoration of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples when he broke bread and blessed the wine saying This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” [Matthew 26:27]

Divine Liturgy is held every Sunday morning (except during Lenten weeks) at the following times:

Service General Sundays Major Feast Days
Morning Service (Jamerkootyoun) 9.30 am 9.00 am
Divine Liturgy (Soorp Badarak) 10.30 am 10.00 am
Requiem Service (Hokehunkist) 12.15 pm

Major Feast Days

The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates five major feasts days in the liturgical calendar as follows:

  • Holy Nativity [Christmas] and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ [Easter]
  • Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ [Vartavar]
  • Assumption of the Holy Mother of God [Soorp Asdvadzadzin]
  • Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross [Khachverats]

Learn about the Major Feasts Days