Paregentan of the Fast of Exaltation

Sunday Messenger

September 6, 2020

Paregentan of the Fast of Exaltation

Not Only Our Mouth and Ears

If you have ever witnessed a baptism in the Armenian Church you will recall when the priest anoints nine parts of the body of the person being baptized with holy muron as seals of incorruptible heavenly gifts, the point at which the newly baptized receives and is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). This is referred to as chrismation, one of the three parts making up the one sacrament of Baptism (the other two parts being immersion in water and receiving Holy Communion). The priest anoints nine parts of the newly baptized and prays the following after each:

• The forehead: “Sweet ointment in the name of Jesus Christ is poured upon you as a seal of incorruptible heavenly gifts.”
• The eyes: “This seal in the name of Jesus Christ enlighten your eyes, that you may never sleep unto death.”
• The ears: “This holy anointing be for the hearing of divine commandments
• The nostrils: This seal in the name of Jesus Christ be to you a sweet smell from life to life.”
• The mouth: “This seal in the name of Jesus Christ be to you a guard for your mouth and a strong door for your lips.”
• The hands: “This seal in the name of Jesus Christ be to you a cause for good works and for all virtuous deeds and conduct.”
• The heart: “This divine seal establish in you a pure heart and renew within you an upright spirit.”
• The back: “This seal in the name of Jesus Christ be to you a shield of strength thereby to quench all the fiery darts of the Evil One.”
• The feet: “This divine seal direct your goings to life everlasting that you may not be shaken.”

To what end are these nine parts of the body anointed? Well, in the Gospel reading, for what purpose did Jesus open the mute and deaf man’s ears and mouth? We may wonder what kind of life he lived after having this encounter with Jesus. After Jesus “released” his mouth to speak and his ears to hear, did he live the same as before? Did he use his newly opened ears and mouth for God’s glory? Through baptism we are sealed, given power to live the way we were created to live, placed on the path back to the Garden where we feed from the Tree of Life, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. St. Gregory of Narek admits his shortcoming in living the way he was called and anointed to live, impaired and obstructed by evil. We can think of our own trials and sinful habits as St. Gregory asks God to once again inhabit his body:

And these two feet, means of motion,
foundation of my body’s structure,
now lame and unsteady,
vanquished by evil,
impede my ascent to the tree of life-giving fruit.
May you again inhabit them, my only hope of cure.
And the organ of glorification with which you endowed
me, whose voice when moved by the magnanimity of
your mercy used to turn back the breath of the
Troublemaker, silencing him,
may you miraculously restore your living word to me,
so I might speak again without faltering,
like the one you healed in the Gospel. (18F)

Constantly distracted, we prefer other things to the life we were created to live. We believe in other promises to fulfill us rather than the promises of God made at our baptism, whether it be romance, the right career, a sufficient amount of money in the bank, or living in the perfect geographical location. We believe in other promise givers to create a good and happy life for us, such as friends, family members, spouses, politicians, and presidents. We experience suffering – physical, emotional, and mental. Our path of enlightenment becomes blocked with evil, darkened, and the lamps of our soul become dimmed or extinguished. While knowing the evil, we willingly give in to it, and we purposely keep away from good deeds. We get angry at God, at the Church, offended by our fellow parishioners, not focusing on the fact that we are united through our common baptism.

But there is healing, as we learn from the story of the man who is deaf and mute. We serve a God who is willing to open our mouths and our ears so that we can hear what he has to say to his people, so we can preach his love and forgiveness to the world. The prophet Isaiah foretold the deliverance and renewal that would take place when God rescued his people from exile and oppression:

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. (35:5-6)

By Dn. Eric Vozzy


2 Corinthians 7: 4-16 (page 166) New Testament
Mark 7: 31-37 (page 39) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 13: 1-11 (pages 692-693) Old Testament

“LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night….” (Nehemiah 1:5-6). Prayers are requested for Ethel Terzian, Taron Poghosyan, Alice Charles & Theodora Mirakian.


There is no Church services on Sunday, September 6, as Fr. Hakob will be away.

The Church, however, will be open on both of those days from 10:00 a.m to 11:00 a.m, for those who would like to pray and/or light candles.