The Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God (Asdvadzadzin), one of the five major feasts of the Armenian Church, is celebrated on Sunday, August 16th this year (the Sunday closest to August 15th). This Feast commemorates the bodily ascent of the Virgin Mary (her assumption) into heaven by her son Jesus Christ after her death.
On this feast day, the Blessing of Grapes service takes place immediately after the Divine Liturgy. Divine Liturgy will begin at 10:00am, followed by the Blessing of Grapes Service.
As always, grapes will be needed for the Service, and donations for this purpose are gratefully accepted. Those who wish to make a donation are asked to contact the church office.
In accordance with the canons of the Armenian Church, Requiem Services may not be performed on the five major feast days of the Armenian Church. Requests for Requiem Services may be made for the following Sunday, August 23rd.
5 Things to Know About the Feast of the Assumption
1. The Assumption of the Holy Mother of God is one of the five major feasts of the Armenian Church, observed every year on the Sunday closest to August 15th.
2. The celebration is in memory of the bodily ascent of the Virgin Mary into heaven by her son Jesus Christ after her death.
3. This event is not mentioned in the Gospels, but the story has been handed down traditionally.
4. The Apostle Bartholomew, having just returned from his mission, asked to open St. Mary's grave so that he could see her face for the last time. The grave was opened, and to their surprise, there was no body in the grave.
5. They concluded that Christ came down from heaven and took His mother's body with Him to heaven. Therefore, it could be said that the body of the Virgin Mary did not see corruption in the grave at all. As such, while she did die, we say she fell asleep (dormition) and was assumed into Heaven. The feast of the Assumption is the celebration of the fact that all people are “highly exalted” in the blessedness of the victorious Christ, and that this high exaltation has already been accomplished in Holy Mary, the Mother of God.
Why Do We Bless Grapes?
The custom of blessing grapes can be traced back to Old Testament times. Of all produce, grapes had a special place of honor and were considered the "first fruits" because they were the first produce of harvest. Special services of thanksgiving were conducted by priests in the temple, a tradition that prevailed to the time of Christ.
With the birth of Jesus, these dedications took on a new meaning. Jesus Christ was the first born—or the first fruit—of Mary and, as such, was offered to God in the temple. (Luke 2:25-30) Mary is seen as the image of humanity fully obedient to God and ultimately sanctified by doing God's will. Therefore, on the feast remembering her dormition (falling asleep in Christ) and Assumption (ascending to heaven), we celebrate the blessing of grapes. (source: armenianchurch-ed.net)