Sacraments

 

[KHORHOORT]

The sacraments are the signs of God’s love for all humanity, expressed symbolically in a language that relates to Christians all over the world. They are the sacred symbols of a divine plan we must follow to attain salvation in the heavenly kingdom.
There are seven rituals that are defined as sacraments and are basi­cally the reenactment of what took place during the life of Jesus.
The following is a summary of those sacraments as related to each cornerstone of our lives. In the Armenian Church, the first three sacraments are given at the time of Baptism:

BAPTISM

Mgrdootiun

It is the responsibility of a Christian parent to baptize the child by the eighth day or up to 40th day after birth. The sacrament should be administered in a church, unless special health reasons require it to be done at home.
The Godfather [Gnkahayr] at the baptism must himself be someone who is baptized and confirmed in the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church and, preferably, not a blood relative. The reason is to create a new and unique spiritual relationship. There is no provision for a Godmother. However, if it is desired to have a female represent the motherhood side of this association, it will be permissible to have a female participate during the ceremony.

CHRISMATION [CONFIRMATION]

Soorp Gnoonk

The newly baptized receives the Holy Spirit by the act of affirming the faith and promising to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

EUCHARIST [HOLY COMMUNION]

Haghortootyoon

The child is administered the Holy Body and Holy Blood of Jesus Christ which binds us all to God and to each other. By receiving Christ the grand design of God’s plan commences and the life of a Christian begins.

CONFESSION [RECONCILIATION]

Khosdovanootiun

The wayward life of sin and guilt is forgiven through repentance and the individual is re-instated in the Christian community.
Fr. Daniel Findikyan

MARRIAGE [HOLY CROWNING]

Soorp B’sag

Despite the fact that Jesus himself was not married, he held marriage as a sacred union. There were no specific religious ceremonies in those days. A decisive step to regulate the holy crowning service did not exist until the beginning of the 10th century.
The rite of crowning is the climax of the wedding service. The crowns are the signs of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the sacrament. The groom and the bride are crowned as the king and queen of their own little kingdom, the home, which they expect to rule with wisdom, justice, and integrity. 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 in the presence of Christ. The drinking of the wine serves to impress the couple that from that moment on they will share every­thing in life – joy as well as sorrow.
No marriage can be solemnized in the Armenian Church if both parties have not received the sacraments of Christian baptism and confirmation. The major sacramental witness, also known as the Best Man [Khach Yeghpayr], should be a member of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church.

HOLY ORDERS [HOLY CROWNING]

Tsernatrootiun Yev Odzoom

It takes years of study and training to become a priest or deacon. Even before the formal education, there must be a special calling, without which one can never truly become a servant of God.
There is a three-fold ministry or rank of clergymen – deacon, priest, and bishop – who receive the Holy Orders. There are lesser orders that lead a young man to aspire to the major Holy Orders. The four minor ranks of clerk [Tbir] are: Door Keeper (porter), Reader (Lector), Exorcist, Acolyte and Sub­diaconate [Gisasargavak].

ANOINTING OF THE SICK AND DEPARTED

Verchin Odzoum

Anointing the sick has not been part of the Armenian Church’s custom. Neither St. Gregory the llluminator, nor the catholicoi have included the unc­tion with the oil in our rituals. Christ himself did not anoint any sick person with such oil.
In the Armenian Church’s tradition, whenever the priest visited a sick person, he prayed for his health and speedy recovery. At times he also put his hand over the sick’ person’s head.