Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Karine Abalyan
Tel: (212) 686-0710; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

July 31, 2009



At New York's St. Vartan Cathedral, the Feast of the Assumption on Sunday,
August 16, will be the occasion for a "Children's Activity Day," and
families are encouraged to attend the special schedule of festivities and

>From 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., children ages 5 to 12 will enjoy short
learning activities on Armenian faith, culture, and Arts and Crafts, in
addition to attending the final part of the Divine Liturgy and the
traditional "Blessing of Grapes" ceremony on the cathedral's outdoor plaza.

Children will also have a pizza lunch, and the program will conclude with
Armenian dance.

St. Vartan Cathedral dean Fr. Mardiros Chevian will be joining the children
through the day. In the cathedral sanctuary, the Divine Liturgy will be
celebrated by Fr. Gomidas Zohrabian, pastor of the St. George Armenian
Church of Hartford, Conn., who will be leading a pilgrimage of his
parishioners to St. Vartan Cathedral on that same day.

The August 16 event is free and open to the public. At the 10:30 a.m.
check-in, parents will be asked to provide a cell phone number and will be
required to remain on the premises throughout the session.

To register children (ages 5 to 12) for the August 16 Children's Day, or for
general information on the event, call Deacon Sebuh Oscherician at (212)
686-0710, ext. 141, or e-mail him at [email protected]. Please
register by August 10, if possible. St. Vartan Cathedral is located at 630
Second Avenue (corner of 34th Street) in New York City.

* Beloved ceremony

The "Blessing of the Grapes" remains one of the most beloved ceremonies in
the Armenian Church calendar. Most Armenians can recall people who would
refuse to eat grapes until the fruit was "officially" sanctified by the
local clergyman-a practice which dates back to an earlier era in the
church's history, when daily life revolved around the growing seasons of an
agricultural society.

The occasion for the grape-blessing is the Feast of the Assumption of the
Holy Mother-of-God-one of the church's major feast days. The story of the
Assumption concerns St. Mary the mother of Jesus, who having completed her
life on earth was taken up in body and soul-"assumed"-into Heaven. This was
a special courtesy, performed by Christ many years after His Ascension, as a
loving tribute to the mother who bore and raised Him.

The poignant theme of filial love enduring beyond death has deeply resonated
with Armenian Christians for centuries.

The Feast of the Holy Assumption and the Blessing of Grapes will be observed
throughout the Armenian Church on Sunday, August 16; please contact your
local parish for information on services in your area.

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