What is a Sacrament? Saint Paul provides us our first definition of sacraments. In the Latin Bible, “sacramentum” is used to translate the Armenian word KHORHOOT, which in English means mystery. Mystery is the word Saint Paul used as he referred to God’s plan of always wanting to save, renew, and unite all things to Christ. Saint Paul also teaches us that it is through Christ Our Savior that the sacraments are most perfectly revealed. Jesus is mysteriously present in these seven sacramental blessings and is Himself the officiant through the person of the priest.
One way to understand the meaning of the word sacrament is to look at it as a way of living our lives in the eyes of God. Even in our daily lives, the things we do and say in a sense are a sacrament. As we awake daily, wash ourselves and nourish our bodies we develop a certain plan, routine, or habit. The sacraments of the Church are precisely this: they are the sacred symbols of a Divine plan for humanity that one must follow to attain salvation in God’s Heavenly Kingdom. They are His way of living a life inspired and sanctified by God’s presence through Jesus Christ.
The seven Sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick and the Departed.
Armenian Christians perceive that the sacraments are outward signs instituted by Christ to give Grace. The following provides a brief summary of the seven sacraments and their relationship to key moments in our lives as well as the particular values of Jesus they celebrate.
|Sacrament||Life event||Values of Jesus|
|Birth||The offering of oneself to God or the presentation of the child by the godparent and accepting his message of salvation.|
|Development & growth||To be a committed Christian, living a life of service to the Lord and continually reaffirming this life by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.|
|Experiencing daily life together by sharing and partaking of abundant fruits of the earth||By the strength of the Holy Spirit we become united and bound together by the body and blood of our Lord to live a life of love.|
|The wayward life of Sin and Guilt.||Forgiveness through repentance and re-instatement with the Christian community.|
|Two become one in heart, soul and mind.A kingdom is established and a family begins.||Ministry of love to spouse and children.|
|Service and Vocation.||God’s love comes to his people through his specially chosen servants.|
|Anointing of the sick and the Departed
|Overcome by disease and ill health, a person approaches death||Healing of the spirit, soul and body. The grace of courage to endure.|
Christ instituted the Sacraments and He becomes the true celebrant of each. We as Armenians make them part of our lives.
The Armenian Wedding Ceremony
The ritual of Holy Matrimony of the Armenian Church is one of the most inspiring and uplifting rituals in the Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches. Marriage is one of the seven sacraments of the Armenian Church in which the couple are called to make a vow before the Lord to be true to each other for life.
Their matrimonial union is blessed by the Lord through the Church. The marriage ceremony of the Armenian Church is rich in ritual and symbolism.
The crowning is the climax of the wedding service. The crowns are the sign of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the Sacrament. The groom and the bride are crowned as the king and the queen of their own little kingdom, the home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice, and integrity. During the crowning, the bride and groom face one another and the best man stands between the two, holding a cross over their heads. The rite of crowning is followed by the blessing of the common cup when a goblet of wine is blessed in remembrance of the marriage at Cana of Galilee which was blessed by Christ’s presence
For more information of the Armenian Wedding Ceremony click here.
Armenian Baptism Ceremony
One of the sacraments of our faith is Baptism.
It is the offering of oneself to God or the presentation of the child by the godparent and accepting his message of salvation. It is the duty of Christian parents to see to it that their children are baptized when infants. Church canons strongly advise Baptism of the child by the 8th day after birth and up until the 40th day after birth.
The Baptism is normally conducted in the Armenian Apostolic Church, however under extreme emergencies if the child is of ill health and cannot be brought to the church; the priest may perform the sacrament in the home.
The Baptism service begins at the Door of the Church, then proceeds to the Baptismal Font and concludes at the Holy Altar.
For more information on the Baptism Ceremony, click here.