The Forty Day baby presentation and blessing service is a unique, beautiful tradition that is practiced throughout the Armenian Church. It consists of prayers of joyful thanks for the safe delivery of a mother and a child. The service blesses the mother, who has been absent from the sacramental life of the church for forty days, and formally presents the newborn child to the church family for the first time by bringing the infant into the sanctuary before the altar.

The blessing may be done on the fortieth day of the child’s birth or on the Sunday nearest to the fortieth day. Both the father and the mother must be present for the fortieth day blessing.

In imitation of Christ’s fortieth day blessing (Luke 2:22-38), the parents of the new born bring the baby to the church in order for the child to be dedicated to the Lord. The parents become a symbol of the Virgin Mary and Joseph, while the priest symbolises Simeon, who held Christ in his arms at the time of the presentation.