LA CRESCENTA—Sunday, August 12 was the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, one of five great feasts in the Armenian Church. This feast commemorates how St. Mary was carried up into heaven, body and soul, or “assumed” into heaven. This was performed by Christ many years after his Ascension as a loving tribute to the mother who bore and raised him. On this feast, the Blessing of Grapes takes place following Divine Liturgy. The service is rich in symbolism and emphasizes the important role of the Virgin Mary in the revelation of God. The blessing of the grapes became part of this celebration due to their association to Jesus Christ in numerous biblical references and in thanksgiving to God as the first fruit of the harvest.
The Feast of the Assumption was ceremoniously celebrated in all Prelacy Churches with Divine Liturgy and the blessing of grapes.
The feast is also the name day of St. Mary’s Church in Glendale. Hence, on this occasion, Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at St. Mary’s Church. Following Divine Liturgy, the Prelate conducted the blessing of grapes and madagh.
In his sermon, the Prelate exalted the innocence, humility, purity, and blessedness of the Virgin Mary, and especially St. Mary’s abiding obedience to and unwavering faith and trust in God. “The Virgin Mary is most blessed among women and became worthy of being the Holy Mother of God and the perfect model of motherhood.” The virtues and saintly life of the Virgin Mary is an ideal example and daily reminder to hear and listen to God’s plan for our lives and submit ourselves to His holy will. The Feast of the Assumption invites us all, and specifically our mothers and sisters, to live exemplary lives by heeding not our own wants and needs, but rather the will of God. As we celebrate this special feast, let us today vow to transform our spiritual lives. By the intercession of St. Mary, we pray for Almighty God to heal and revitalize our minds, bodies, and spirits, and to grant peace to the nations of the world, and especially to the Syrian people”, concluded the Prelate.
During Divine Liturgy, prayers were offered for the safety and tranquility of the Syrian people and nation.
At the conclusion of the service, the Prelate conducted the ceremony of the blessing of grapes and madagh, after which the Prelate also blessed a pair of wedding crowns donated to each Prelacy Church by sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Kevork and Mirna Kacharian.
On Saturday, August 11, eve of the Feast services took place at St. Mary’s Church and the church remained open late into the night so faithful could light candles and offer their prayers.