Publiboda

An Armenian wedding

The marriage ceremony of the Armenian Church is steeped in ritual and symbolism, conveying the Mystery of Christ's true presence among His people. Each of the acts has special meaning and significance.

The rings

The rings are blessed by the priest who takes them in his hand and, making the sign of the cross over the bride and groom's heads, says: "Oh lord we pray and bless these rings so that those who will wear them will be clean and inseparable”; "mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other".

armenian-weddingThe bride and groom exchange rings, a symbol of the pledge, commitment and solemn promise that they make to each other.

The exchange signifies that in married life the weakness of the one partner will be compensated for by the strength of the other, the imperfections of one by the perfection of the other.

The joining of the right hands

One of the purposes of the marriage ceremony is to publicly acknowledge a life-long commitment as expressed in the pledge "until death do us part". The bride and groom are asked to join their right hands as the priest reads the prayer that beseeches God to "bless also your servant (name) and handmaiden (name of bride), directing them in all good works merciful and ever loving Lord our God". The hands of the bride, the groom and the priest are joined momentarily at that point in the service signifying that the couple becomes one being and one flesh in the presence of the Church and through the sanctifying action and grace of God. The priest’s hand on top of the hands is symbolic of Christ at the center of the bride and groom’s union.

The crowning

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The office of the crowning which follows is the climax of the wedding service. The crowns (Narod) are the sign of the glory and honor with which God crowns the bride and groom during the sacrament and of the future glory in God's Kingdom. They are crowned as the King and Queen of their own little kingdom, the home that they will rule with wisdom, justice and integrity.

The exchange of the marriage crowns emphasizes the mutuality and shared equality of the King and Queen.

The common cup

The marriage at Cana of Galilee was attended and blessed by Christ, and was the occasion for His first miracle. There He transposed the water into wine and gave it to the newlyweds. In remembrance of this blessing, wine is given to the bride and groom. The drinking of wine from the "Common Cup" serves to impress upon them that from that moment on they will share everything in life, joys, as well as sorrows, and that they are to "bear one another's burdens." Their joys will be doubled and their sorrows halved because they will be shared.

The priest’s blessing

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.

From "THE SACRAMENTS"- The Symbols of our Faith by Reverend Garabed Kochakian

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