Feast of the Assumption Celebrated with Episcopal Divine Liturgy and Blessing of Grapes at St. Mary’s Church


On Sunday, August 18, 2013, the Armenian Church celebrated one of its most beloved feasts, the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God into heaven.

The Feast of the Assumption was celebrated within Prelacy Churches with great ceremony.  Divine Liturgy was celebrated with special hymns dedicated to the Holy Mother of God, followed by the blessing of grapes, a popular and beloved tradition associated with this feast.

The Feast of the Assumption is also the name day of St. Mary’s Church in Glendale.  Thus, on this special occasion, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian celebrated Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and conducted the blessing of grapes at St. Mary’s, where thousands of faithful were gathered to partake in the celebration.

In his sermon, the Prelate spoke of the Holy Mother of God as the mother of humanity, an eternal intercessor for Christians who is praised and magnified by mankind as the “mother of light” and “treasure of life”,  in the words of the hymn dedicated to this feast.  The Prelate stressed that the Holy Mother of God has special meaning for the Armenian people.  Armenian mothers should and do try to emulate the virtues of the Virgin Mary; thus, this feast is also a celebration of Armenian mothers.
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  Noting the proclamation of the “Year of the Armenian Mother” by His Holiness, on this occasion the Prelate called on Armenian mothers to focus not just on the physical development of their children or their success in school, but also on their spiritual development, by instilling in them our religious and national principles.

At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy the Prelacy conducted the blessing of grapes.  His Eminence explained the symbolism and tradition behind this popular ceremony.  He noted that it is an ancient custom held since the Old Testament times to render to God and the first fruits of the harvest as sacrificial thanksgiving.  With the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the ceremony took on new meaning.  Today, we bless and offer the queen of the fruits, the grapes from which the sacramental wine is made, in thanksgiving and gratitude for His abundant gifts, especially the gift of eternal life.
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