MESSAGE TO THE FAITHFUL OF THE ARMENIAN CHURCH FROM ARCHISHOP KHAJAG BARSAMIAN, PRIMATE OF THE DIOCESE OF THE ARMENIAN CHURCH OF AMERICA (EASTERN):
In this joyous time of year, as we celebrate the wondrous birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we look to our Creator with thanksgiving for all His blessings. We ask the Lord to watch over our loved ones, and we depend on His guidance in our lives.
In the Armenian tradition, the Order of Home Blessing is a formal way to do so.
For centuries, our ancestors would eagerly await this opportunity for the priest to visit their homes particularly every Christmas and Easter, because the Home Blessing is the family’s prayer for God’s powerful Right Hand to guide and shelter them at all times. Our forefathers placed such significance in this tradition because inviting the priest into the home signified the family inviting the presence of Christ to reside in that home at all times.
During the ‘Order of Home Blessing,’ each member of the household gathers around the priest as he burns incense and blesses bread, salt, and water, the three essential life-giving elements of a home provided to us by the Lord. The priest then places a wafer (nushkhar) next to them, signifying Christ’s presence in the home. He then recites the Gospel and blesses each member of the family.
As part of our ‘Church and Home’ theme, we continue last year’s effort to bring the presence of the Lord into the heart of each Armenian family through the beautiful ceremony of Home Blessings. We urge you to call your Pastor* and request a Home Blessing. What better way to experience the presence of Christ in our daily lives, than to take the time to look to Him for guidance and protection in our own homes? A Home Blessing is a wonderful opportunity to experience the rituals of our Armenian Church firsthand, and for your Pastor to get to know you and your family as well.
May the blessings of the Lord be upon you and dwell in each of your homes, and may the peace of the Christmas season be with you all both now and throughout the year.
*To schedule a visit to your home on Cape Cod, please contact Hermig Shalian at 508-428-1151.