THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
August 12, 2018
Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God
BLESSING OF THE GRAPES
In our national and church life, great importance is given to the divine traditions that originate from the Holy Scriptures. They became a way to express the unique image of our nation and church. These traditions were valued and adopted as sacred services, and evolved over the centuries.
One of the holy celebrations of the Armenian Church is the Blessing of the Grapes, which is offered following the celebration of Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother-of-God. It is also one of the Holy Traditions of the Universal Church.
In pre-Christian times, the “Feast of Roots and Fruit” constituted part and parcel of the religious rituals of almost all nations. On this day a special ceremony was conducted by the servants of the temple, during which the first fruit of the year was offered to the corresponding god embodying fertility as a sign of obedience, gratitude, and fruitfulness for the coming year.
Although the ceremony of first fruits was also found in Armenian traditions, it was not distinguished as the “Feast of Roots and Fruit.” It was considered to be one of the feasts devoted to the goddess Anahit, who embodied fertility and fruitfulness.
But after Armenia’s adoption of Christianity in 301 A.D., St. Gregory the Illuminator implemented new directions for the Armenian Church concerning such traditions. The first Armenian patriarch changed the essentials of the services, but included parts of some customs and rites of the old Armenian religion into the new Christian traditions. One of these was the offering of the first fruit from the harvest. After reviewing and modifying this tradition, St. Gregory the Illuminator Christianized the service and introduced it into the Armenian Church traditions, correlating it with the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother-of-God. At the direction of St. Gregory, the “offering” of the fruit was changed into a blessing of the harvest conducted by a priest.
Scripturally, the order to offer “first fruits” to God was established by Moses:
“When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, ‘Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.… So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.’ You shall set it down and bow down before the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 26:11-3; 10).
During a generic “first fruits” service, wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and honey might all be offered to a god. Grapes held special significance for two reasons. First, wine made from grapes was thought to relieve sadness and was associated with happiness. Second, the grape was the national symbol of Israel and at the same time a symbol of peace.
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
Galatians 3: 29-4:7 (page 172) New Testament
Luke 1: 26-38 (page 51) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 7:10-16 (pages 687-688) Old Testament
“Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing” (1Tim 2:8). Please pray for Doris Alahverde, Anto Vartanian, Butch Kumkumian, Annabelle Alexanian, Alice Charles, Armenoui Aznavuryan, Pearl Jamgochian, & Albert Santerian for a return to better health and to feel the presence of God in their lives. Pray for our country and her leaders; and also for the children who will soon be returning to school that they may continue their education in a peaceful and safe environment.
“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant…” (Daniel 9:17a). Please pray for Doris Alahverde, Anto Vartanian, Butch Kumkumian, Annabelle Alexanian, Alice Charles, Pearl Jamgochian, & Albert Santerian for a return to better health and to feel the presence of God in their lives. Pray also for our country and her leaders during these trying times; and let us ask the Lord to keep our children in their schools free from further violence and hatred.
FELLOWSHIP HOUR: Starting June 17 through Labor Day, our Coffee Hour will change for the Summer. We are going to have a “POT LUCK” Coffee Hour. The church will provide the coffee but we are going to rely on those who wish to enjoy refreshments with their coffee and chat with friends to please bring something for the buffet table (enough to serve 8 people), either homemade or store bought. You will not be asked to make a donation if you are kind enough to bring refreshment on any given Sunday. This is being done in order to relieve the burden of the same few people making sure that we have refreshments every Sunday. We hope you will take this opportunity to share your bounty with our church family on these Sundays.
(REMINDER) – Anyone bringing something to the Pot-Luck Table starting this Sunday, must bring it plated or plate it at church. All that will be supplied is the Coffee, tea, milk, and paper goods. Everyone is to do their own cleanup. Those who donate something will not be asked to donate to the basket; but for those who don’t participate, there will be a charge; so please bring something for 6-8 people to enhance our table this Summer. Thank you! Any questions please ask or call Merle Santerian at 215-947-3777.
“BE NOT AFRAID” – Today after Badarak, Emily Movsesian will present a Jerusalem travelogue after being part of the Young Adult Leadership Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Her talk will most certainly inspire some of us make the decision to travel to Jerusalem and see first-hand the places where Jesus walked.
FAR UPDATE: Apricot season in Armenia means it’s time for FAR’s scholarship students to help out with the harvest. Each year, about two dozen students volunteer to help out with the harvest as a way of giving back to FAR and to their community. This year, 21 students braved the heat to pick apricots in Armarvir Province. FAR has helped each farmer to develop their businesses, and in return the farmers have agreed to donate a portion of dried fruit to FAR’s beneficiaries each year. “This is good work that is important and useful in all respects. Now, 1,000 of our program beneficiaries will be able to enjoy dried apricots during the coming winter,” said Eduard Karapetyan, FAR’s Education and Science Programs Manager. To read more, go to: http://farusa.org/2018/08/03/far-scholarships-scholarship-students-help-with-annual-apricot-harvest/To support FAR’s projects, go to: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/armenianrelief/
SAVE THE DATE:
A Banquet honoring The Deacons and Choir of Holy Trinity Armenian Church Sunday, November 18, 2018 immediately following Badarak Stay tuned for more information Contact Holy Trinity Office 215-663-1600or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
HELP Coffee Hour: Parishioners help needed to run a Coffee Hour or we may not be having them in the future. Sign up sheets will be posted in the Lobby for the next 4 months from September thru December. For further information contact Merle, 215-205-1507 or speak to her at Coffee Hour this Sunday and she will be happy to tell you how it works. We would like to have different volunteers for each Sunday starting in September. Thank you!
ATTENTION GRADUATES: The September issue of the Looys will feature information about all graduates. Write-up should include: full name, parents’ names, name of institution, grade level or degree achieved, activity involvement, and future plans (further education/ work). If desired, please include a picture (in high resolution color). Everything should be sent to email@example.com no later than August 28th
CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)
Sunday August 12th: Assumption (Blessing of Grapes)
Sunday September 16th: FEAST OF EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS & Coffee Hour Program on “Opioid Addiction, Families in Crisis, and the Armenian Church”
26, 27 & 28: Harvest Bazaar
Sunday November 18: Banquet
ATTIC TREASURES will return again to the Harvest Bazaar this fall. With limited storage space available at church, we are more focused on items we can accept to be sold at the Attic Treasures table. Gently Used Items must be CLEAN & UNDAMAGED. Desired items are jewelry, women’s accessories, housewares, and small furnishings. Toys, clothing, books straw baskets & florist vases will not be accepted this year . Attic treasures can be left in the 1st room on the right down the Sunday School hall. Call Ayshe Chakmaklian for more info. at 610-828-2411. If you need a New Jersey pick up call Grace Meranshian at 856-217-9333.
Using the Pew Book: In order to enrich understanding of the Divine Liturgy, we encourage our faithful to follow along in the large two-part Pew Book. Part One includes the classical Armenian used in the Liturgy; the facing page is the translation in modern Western Armenian. Part Two contains the transliteration of the classical Armenian; the right-hand page has the English translation. This Pew Book includes the prayers of the celebrant usually offered inaudibly. The prayers offered aloud are indicated in boldface type.
PARKING REMINDER –
> Non-Disabled Persons parking spaces are designated with white lines.
> Disabled Persons Parking spaces are designated with blue lines and are reserved for vehicles with a State-authorized disability placard or license plate.
> No parking is allowed in the driveway nearest to the kitchen door.
THANK YOU for your cooperation!
THE NICENE CREED/ HAVADAMK – This is the Profession of our Faith which is recited every Sunday moments after the Gospel is read from the altar. Sometimes it is sung, but more often it is recited by the Deacons and/or the Choir. We invite you to affirm your own “Profession of Faith” by reciting along with us. God longs for all of us to express our faith and devotion to Him.
THE KISS OF PEACE: After the gifts of the Eucharist are brought to the Altar Table, the deacon proclaims, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” The person giving the greetings says, Kristos ee mech mer Haydnetsav – Christ is revealed amongst us. The recipient would respond, Orhnial eh Haydnootiunun Kristosee – Blessed is the revelation of Christ.
Anyone who wishes to request any Requiem Services MUST inform the office by 1:30pm Wednesday the week before. If you also want to sponsor the Fellowship Hour you MUST call Merle Santerian at 215-947-3777.
Would you like to:
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– If the answer to any of these questions is YES, please visit our parish website at www.holytrinity-pa.org
WE ASK THAT EVERYONE KINDLY TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES and all other such electronic devices prior to entering the sanctuary out of respect for the sanctity of our services.