The Divine Liturgy to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of St Mary takes place every year on the nearest Sunday to August 15th. The Grape Blessing ceremony is conducted after the Divine Liturgy. It is led by the presiding clergyman and begins with the hymn “Glory to Your Holy Cross”. (Source: Armenian Church website).
This year’s Celebrations and Grape Blessings took place Sunday, 13th of August in Armenian Churches in London and Manchester.
In St Yeghiche Church Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Rev Fr Krikor Radu Holca, spiritual leader of Iasi Armenians in Romania, who arrived to London from Bucharest on a special invitation from the Primate, HG Bishop Hovakim Manukyan and the St Yeghiche Parish Council.
Rev Fr Krikor referred to the significance of the day and informed the congregation of the special pilgrimage and prayers which were offered on that day by Armenians and non-Armenians in the Hajkatar Armenian monastery built in 1512. In the middle of the monastery there is a church of St Mary the Virgin. He invited UK Armenians to organise a pilgrimage to the holy monastery next year for the said feast. The service ended with the traditional blessing of the grapes.
After the church service members of the congregation got together for a special lunch at Abu Zaad restaurant in Ealing which was organised by the Armenian Community Council’s Ladies committee together with St Yeghiche Ladies Guild.
St Sarkis Church was greatly overcrowded from the very start of the service. The celebrant was Father Shnork, pastor of St Sarkis Church. The Blessing of Grapes service took place immediately after the Divine Liturgy. Here is the video of the celebration:
Artur Bobikyan, the deacon of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Manchester noted that they were blessed on Sunday having the Primate, HG Bishop Hovakim Manukyan who came to officiate the ceremony of the blessing of grapes along with the V. Rev. Garegin Hambardzumyan and their own pastor Rev. Nerses Nersessian .
In addition they were thrilled with the presence of deacons Davit Sahakyan and Hrach Sultanyan, two visiting students from the Kevorkian Theological Seminary of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.