Pomegranates blessed at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Odessa

“The solid peel of a pomegranate is the powerful shield for our belief on which there is a crown of the belief”

Grigor Tatevatsi, Archimandrite of the Armenian Apostolic Church

Ahead of the New Year, a Divine and eternal Liturgy was served at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Odessa, followed by the Wish for the Republic of Armenia. Priest Abgar Gilijyan asked the Lord to protect and maintain the peace and welfare of Armenia and the Armenians and urged everyone to pray also for Ukraine, which has provided shelter for 500,000 Armenians.

The prayer was followed by a blessing since it has already become a beautiful tradition and is performed in all Armenian churches under the direction of Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II on New Year’s Eve. The New Year begins with the blessing of pomegranates.

As His Holiness explained, as a sweet-tasting good, the pomegranate has always been the décor on the table for an Armenian family and has awakened love and faith in people’s souls. The Armenians ascribe various medical attributes to pomegranate.

The “crowned” fruit is rightly considered the king of fruits, and due to its appearance (shades of color, form, interesting “architectural” structure of the particles), it has been very symbolic since ancient times. According to Armenian national traditions, the pomegranate means life, blossoming and abundance.

“Based on the symbols of Christianity, the color red is the color of the blood that Christ shed, by which he was purified, forgave us for our sins; the particles of the pomegranate are us Christians,” His Holiness continued. “In its entirety, the pomegranate is the Armenian church with its clergy. This is why the symbol of the pomegranate has been applied in various spheres of Armenian culture and in the art of architecture of churches and in miniature painting.”

As I was listening to the priest with pleasure, I suddenly remembered the following lines of an Armenian poet: “Shaping a monastery from a cliff, making a pomegranate from stone, building arches near a gate…”

After the ritual, the priest blessed the attendees, wished them a Happy New Year once again and distributed the blessed fruit to the faithful.

Narine Muradyan

Odessa

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