SACRAMENT OF HOLY MATRIMONY
“A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24)
The sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the sanctification of the union between a man and a woman for a life in marriage in Christ.
During the ceremony the rings are blessed and the couple is crowned as king and queen of their small kingdom, which is their newly established family. They are called to faithfully love each other until the end of their lives and to rule their kingdom with faith and wisdom.
The rite of crowning is followed by the blessing of the common cup. A goblet of wine is blessed in remembrance of the Marriage at Cana of Galilee in the presence of Christ. As the bride and groom drink from the cup they are called on to share everything in life from that moment on.
For the sacrament of Holy Matrimony to be performed in the Armenian Church, both the bride and the groom must have received a Christian baptism and chrismation. The major sacramental witness, or best man, should be a member of the Armenian Church.
GUIDELINES FOR THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY MATRIMONY
A date shall be set for the solemnization of Holy Matrimony in joint consultation with the Pastor at least three months prior. By Canon Law, no marriage may take place Sunday mornings nor any time during Great Lent or Holy Week. Marriages may be performed any day and at any time except Saturday evenings (after sundown) and early Sunday afternoons.
1. All marriages are to follow the canon laws of the Armenian Church and the laws of the State of Massachusetts. It is the responsibility of the parties to carry out the requirements of the legal authorities by applying for a proper marriage license and presenting these documents to the church office ten (10) days prior to the wedding ceremony.
2. Canon Law requires instruction in Christian marriage as a preparation for solemnization and the answering of questions relative to the intention of the parties. It is, therefore, necessary for the bride and groom to meet together with the Pastor by appointment at least three (3) times for this purpose.
3. NO MARRIAGE CAN BE SOLEMNIZED OUTSIDE OF THE HOLY SANCTUARY
NO MARRIAGE CAN BE SOLEMNIZED IN THE CHURCH
1. Unless both parties have received Baptism and Confirmation.
2. Where either party has been divorced from a former spouse still living, unless a dispensation has been received from the ecclesiastical authority (Primate). The Pastor shall explain.
3. Where it is the intention that a second religious service or ceremony shall be performed in another Church or any other place other than a Sanctuary.
THE BEST MAN / Khach Yeghpayr
1. The major Sacramental witness of the wedding ceremony is the Brother in the Cross/Khach Yeghpayr, who is likewise the Best Man. He will hold a hand cross over the heads of the couple during a portion of the religious rite. This privilege of honor is allowed provided he himself is a baptized member of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church which is offering the blessing upon this couple. If there is a situation where a non-Armenian Church member is requested to assume the role of Best Man, this is allowed provided that another male witness in the wedding party, who is himself a baptized member of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, can participate as the Khach Yeghpayr. The pastor is to be informed if this situation applies. The Maid/Matron of Honor must also be a Christian. These two/three individuals will join the bride and groom at the holy altar. All other attendants will take their places in the front pews.
1. Before any priest is engaged, the Pastor must be consulted. According to protocol of the Armenian Church, the Pastor must be the one to invite any and all guest clergy. The pastor will officially invite guest clergy participants by letter.
2. If the clergy are to be invited to the reception, an invitation should be sent to them.
3. It is the responsibility of the bride and groom to provide an invitation to the wedding reception and directions as well as any necessary travel and lodging expenses for the guest clergy assisting the celebrant.
All donations to the Church and to the Pastor for the Service are wedding party’s discretion and gifts of gratitude. There are no fees for Sacraments at the Church of our Saviour.
Please consult the Church office for suggested donations for the Church volunteers or associates involved in the service.
Only music appropriate to the solemnity of the Canon of Holy Matrimony may be used during the ceremony. An appropriate list of Armenian Church music may be provided by the Pastor. Soloists and musicians may be invited at the discretion of the Pastor. ALL music must be approved by the Pastor.
Rehearsals shall be arranged by appointment with the Pastor. Since the Solemnization is a religious service; the Pastor shall have charge of the rehearsals and procedure of ceremony.
DECORATION OF THE SANCTUARY
a. Requests for adorning the church with flowers, lighting, and other appointments must be approved by the pastor.
b. No furniture or furnishings of the church may be removed from their respective places.
c. Flowers may be placed on the altar table, the floor of the bema (upper sanctuary) and in the chancel, with the exception of the steps leading up to the altar. Fixtures such as podiums and stands are allowed but should be placed so as not to obscure the view of the altar from the congregation. The pastor should be informed of such props.
d. If flowers are to be taken, the floral arrangements are not to be removed from the altar by any persons other than those designated by the pastor.
e. No decorations shall be nailed or screwed to the furnishings nor attached in any way that would damage the church furniture.
f. The wedding runner/white carpet can be acquired from the florist. The length is 65 feet.
g. Decorations which do not comply with the above will be removed prior to the service.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND SOUND RECORDING
Photographs may be taken at any time during the ceremony. Still photographers and videographers should exercise caution and maintain decorum during the actual celebration of the sacramental rite. Caution should be used by the photographer (or videographer) not to blind the eyes of the Priest, Deacon or any other member of the wedding party. At no time nor for any reason will the photographer ascend the steps of the Altar or be at the Altar itself.
Ushering and any necessary control of traffic shall be arranged by the bride and groom.