Sacraments & Services

Baptism

Guidelines for Baptisms

1. All baptisms must be performed according to the canons of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

2. Secure a date for the baptism by calling the church office (508-234-3677). Be aware that baptismal ceremonies can be performed any day of the week during the entire calendar year.

3. The church secretary will forward a questionnaire which should be promptly completed and returned to the church office. Please ensure that all information, including the spelling of names, is correct. Please specify if the child will be given an Armenian name.

4. The Godfather of the child to be baptized should preferably be a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church. If a suitable Godfather is not available, consult with the officiating clergy about a substitute. The Parish Priest can then instruct the Godfather concerning the sacraments prior to baptism.

5. The Godmother will tend to the child during the Order of Baptism, holding the child before the Godfather has taken the child, undressing or dressing the child at times prescribed, and in general attending to the child during the performance of the sacraments.

6. All fees and honorariums should be paid according to the Schedule of Church Fees and Customary Donations in the Board of Trustees Handbook available in the church office. If you have invited another clergyman, the same fees and honorariums apply to him.

7. Items Needed:

Infant baptism:

  • One or two large white towels
  • A WHITE outfit to be worn after the baptism;
  • A chain and cross for the newly-baptized child.
  • Adult baptism:

  • Prior instruction by the officiating clergy, describing baptism and confirmation;
  • One or two white towels;
  • A chain and cross for the newly-baptized.
  • 8. Photographs may be taken at any time during the ceremony. The photographer should avoid blinding the eyes of the priest, deacon or any member of the baptismal party. The photographer may not, at any time, ascend the steps of the altar or be on the altar.

    Tradition states that the baby not be kissed until after the baby is bathed three days after the baptism. Because holy muron (holy chrism) has been used to anoint the child, bathe the baby and empty the bath water into the soil rather than a waste-water system.


    Scriptural Readings Readings on Baptism

    A. Passages read during the ceremony

    Gospel of St. Matthew 28:16-20

    Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18And Jesus came and said to them,All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

    Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians 3:24-29

    Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.25But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian,26for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahams offspring, heirs according to the promise.


    Wedding

    Wedding Guidelines

    Secure a date for the wedding by calling the church office (508-234-3677) as soon as possible. In the event that another wedding has been scheduled for the same day, it may be possible to adjust the time of each wedding to accommodate both parties. However, to avoid conflicts, it is best to have an alternate date in mind.

    A questionnaire will be forwarded to the prospective bride and groom. Complete and return it to the church office promptly. Leave blank any questions that you are unsure about.

    Approximately five to six weeks prior to the date of the wedding, contact the Church office for an appointment with the Parish Priest for pre-marital counseling. Any questions left blank on the questionnaire will then be addressed.

    If one of the marrying couple is coming from protestant denominations, he or she needs to be confirmed by the church he or she will marry in.

    The best man needs to be a member of the Armenian Church. In case of non-Armenian, if he is coming from protestant denominations, he needs to be confirmed.

    A Muslim or a Jew cannot stand as best man in the Church.

    The marrying couple should arrange to receive their marriage license from the town/city hall of their residence. This license should be given to the officiating clergyman a week before the wedding. Without this license the priest cannot administer the sacraments.

    All fees should be paid at least a week before the wedding ceremony.

    Photographs and videos may be taken at any time during the ceremony. The photographer should avoid blinding the eyes of the priest, organist, and deacon or any member of the wedding party. The photographer may not at any time, ascend the steps of the altar or be on the altar.

    Photographs of the bridal party in front of the bema (lower altar) is permitted after the ceremony.

    The Order of the Ceremony

    The Processional
    The Lords Prayer
    Hymn AysorYergnayinkn (today the Angels Rejoice)
    Exhortation
    Blessing of the rings
    Joining of the Right Hands
    Hymn: Naya ee mez (Look at us and have mercy on Christ)
    Hymn: Ourakh Ler Soorp Yegeghetsi (Rejoice, O Holy Church)
    The Trisagion Hymn, Elevation of the Gospel
    The Litany of the faithful
    Reading: Genesis 2: 18-24
    Reading from I Corinthians Chapter 13
    Gospel reading (Matthew 19:3-9)
    The crowning of the bride and groom
    The prayer of the crowning
    The blessing of the cup of wine
    Hymn: Takavor Yergnavor (Heavenly King)
    Homily
    The prayer of dismissal
    The Lord's prayer
    The recessional

    The explanation of the Wedding Service

    The Sacrament

    Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament of the Armenian Church, in which a man and a woman solemnly vow before Christ, the priest and the congregation to be true to each other for life. Their union is blessed by Christ through the Church. The marriage ceremony of the Armenian Church is replete with symbolism.

    The Exchange of Vows

    The bride and groom solemnly pronounce their “Yes” and pledge to be loyal to each other throughout their life.

    The Blessing of the Rings

    Rings, after being blessed by the priest, are exchanged between the bride and the groom, giving expression of the fact that the spouses in marriage will be constantly complimenting each other. Each will be enriched by the union.

    The Rite of Crowning

    The rite of crowning is the climax of the wedding service. The crowns are the sign of the glory and honor with which God crowns the bride and the groom during the Sacrament. They are crowned as the king and queen of their own little kingdom, the home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice, and integrity. The crown is a symbol of sacrifice as well. By wearing the crowns, the couple pledge to be ready to sacrifice in life for the benefit of their unity.

    The Blessing of the Common Cup

    Wine, in the Bible, is a symbol of happiness. The church, by presenting the blessed wine to the couple, wishes that their life be full of happiness. The drinking of wine from the common cup serves to impress upon the couple that from that moment on they will share everything in life, joys as well as sorrows. The source of their life will be one and the same.

    Scriptural Readings for Wedding Ceremonies

    A. The Reading is from the book of Genesis 2:18-24.

    18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; 22 and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:18-24)

    B. The reading is from the First Epistle of St. Paul to Corinthians, Chapter 13

    1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians, Chapter 13)

    Funeral

    Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy. O Christ, Son of God, forbearing and compassionate, have mercy, through Your love as creator upon the souls of Your departed servants. Remember them on the great day of the coming of Your kingdom. Make them worthy of Your mercy, remission and forgiveness of sins. Illuminate and rank them among the Saints at Your right hand; for You are Lord and Creator of all, Judge of the living and the dead, and to You is befitting glory, dominion and honor, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

    Requiem Service (Hokehankisd)

    For Requiem Service (Hokehankisd), please call the church office at 508-234-3677, or e-mail us this form to: der.mikaeldk@gmail.com by Thursday, so we can include the name(s) of your beloved one(s) in the Sunday bulletin.

    There is no set monetary amount for requesting Hokehankisd; any amount donated is appropriate and appreciated.

    Home Blessing

    -For home blessings and any spiritual needs, please do not hesitate to contact the Pastor or the church office at 508-234-3677.

    -If you know someone who is sick at home or in the hospital and would like pastoral care and visitations, please call the church office. These visits can help to lift the spirit of the patient and offer support and guidance.

    THE HOME BLESSING

    The home is a sacred place where family members maintain and share many values. It is also a place where they are charged and empowered with these values to live a peaceful and God-pleasing life. It is under this roof that all collectively form oneness in spirit and assume an important responsibility in the life of the community. It is in this place where they break bread and share joys and sorrows. Here the presence of the Omnipotent is felt since every family is a miniature of a “Little Church—Ecclesia.” In this “Little Church” the inexhaustible love and the very generous blessing of God permeate.

    According to the sacred traditions of the Armenian Church, God’s blessing is asked for homes on different occasions, like on the Nativity and the Resurrection of Christ, as well as on the joyous occasion of moving into a new home.

    For Home Blessing the priest takes with him wafer (Nushkhar) and incense. He blesses the bread, the water and the salt. These three fundamental elements are essential life-giving gifts for human life. The priest asks from the Omnipotent God not to lessen these three gifts without which life becomes impossible or imperfect. Along with the bread, salt, and bread offered on a tray by the dwellers, the priest places also the wafer stamped with a crucifix and designs of grapes and wheat. The wafer is the presence of Christ in the home. The members of the family can either distribute the wafer among themselves or keep it in a jar along with flour, salt, or rice. During Home Blessing, it is customary to burn incense, which symbolizes the burning of our souls with our Lord’s love. In his supplication the Psalmist says, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before Thee.”

    In the prayer of the Home Blessing the priest after asking for purity and abundance of the three gifts, he blesses the home and all its dwellers and asks God to keep them away from visible and invisible enemies and protect them under His powerful Right Hand granting them health of soul and body. Home Blessing is a meaningful religious service that brings the entire family together in oneness and holiness, and blesses them. Through this ceremony, everyone’s faith is replenished and strengthened and the Lord’s presence is felt.