The Armenian Wedding Ceremony

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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.

Armenian Wedding

Armenian Wedding Ceremony

In the early centuries, there was no specific religious ceremony of marriage. It was not until the ninth century that the church developed a special rite of marriage separate from the Eucharistic Liturgy. Normally, after entering a civil marriage the Christian couple partook of the Eucharist and this “communion” was understood as a seal of marriage and all responsibilities therein.
However, since the fourth century the early Christian writers mention a specific rite, a rite of Crowning performed during the Eucharistic Liturgy. According to the teachings of Saint John Chrysostom, the crowns symbolized victory over passions for the couple and stood as a sign of the eternity of the sacrament.
The decisive step to regulate the ceremony of the holy crowning was taken at the beginning of the tenth century. It was at this time that the rite of crowning was separated from the Liturgy and became a unique service of blessing the union of husband and wife.

The Armenian Rite

In the Armenian Church this vivid ceremony is a portrayal, step by step, of the new life of husband and wife. The symbolism is striking and points to the love that is yet to be experienced in this holy union. Each of the acts performed during the service has a special meaning and significance.

After being blessed by the priest, rings are exchanged between the bride and groom, giving expression to the fact that spouses in marriage will constantly be complementing each other. Each will be enriched by the union. During the exhortation to the bride and groom and later on in the service, the right hands of the bride and groom are joined to symbolize the oneness of the couple.

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 them during the Sacrament.

armenian wedding crownsThe 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. The drinking of the wine from the goblet serves to impress upon the couple that from that moment on they will share everything in life, joys as well as sorrow.

At the end of the wedding ceremony the priest blesses the couple, asking Christ to

“protect them under the shadow of thy holy and honorable cross in peace”

.

Thus God’s grace is imparted to them to live together in His love, mutually fulfilling and perfecting each other.

Related articles:

  1. The Seven Sacraments – Symbols Of Armenian Faith

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