January 6, 2020 - 15:13 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Armenian Church is celebrating Christmas on Monday, January 6. In the Armenian tradition, the day marks not only the birth of Christ, but also his baptism, which is remembered through the Water Blessing ceremony after the Divine Liturgy on January 6.
On the eve of the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Jrakalouyts Divine Liturgy (the candlelight service) is celebrated in honor of the manifestation of Jesus as the Son of God (theophany). It is a custom for the faithful to hold lit candles during the special service.
On the following day, the mystery of Christ's baptism in River Jordan is remembered in the ceremony of the Jurorhnek (Water Blessing)
In ancient times, the ceremony was celebrated by the riverside or sea shore, but, for various reasons, it was later confined to the interior of the churches. During the ceremony, the cross is dipped in water, recalling Christ's immersion in the Jordan River. Blessed oil, or Holy Chrism (Muron), is poured into the water from a dove-shaped container, symbolizing the appearance at the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove and the voice of the Father proclaiming to all that Jesus is His Son.
The Holy Chrism is prepared in Holy Etchmiadzin and is blessed by the Catholicos assisted by the bishops. Muron contains olive oil, balsam and the essence of forty different flowers and herbs. At the end of the ceremony, members of the congregation are given the blessed water to drink, thereby sharing in the life giving act of Christ.