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Sunday, August 14th, was a day of great celebration in the Armenian Apostolic Church.

All around the world, and at St. Thomas Armenian Church, parishioners honor Mary, the Holy Mother of God, during one of the five main tabernacle Feasts of the Armenian Church.

St. Mary, or Asdvadzamayr-Asdvadzadzin, the Mother and Bearer of God, is holy and pure because she was cleansed of original sin when she was graced by the Holy Spirit was chosen to be the one from whom God incarnate would be born. She gracefully accepted God’s role as mother of Jesus without question.

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Parishioners approaching the Altar to receive blessed grapes.

When the apostles could not find her in the tomb in which she lay in eternal slumber, it was an indication that the Lord had assumed, or transported, His mother up to heaven. This is why we refer to the Feast of the Assumption as “Verapokhum” in Armenian. Throughout her life and beyond, St. Mary was and remained pure and immaculate.

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Deacons distributing the blessed grapes after Divine Liturgy.

The traditional Blessing of the Grapes ceremony takes place after the Divine Liturgy (Soorp Badarak) in the Armenian church on this day. The grape is considered the queen of the fruits, and its juice symbolizes of the blood of Christ and Holy Communion. The church celebrates with the ceremony on this day and gives thanks to God for the blessings He bestows upon mankind.

We invite you to view moments captured on The Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Verapokhum) in our photo gallery.