By Isiah REYES
Glendale Adventist Medical Center hosted its annual community ceremony Blessing of the Grapes on Aug. 13 for visitors, patients and hospital employees.
The ceremony is designed to give the first yield of the vineyards as gifts to the church as a way to ask for God’s blessing. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, conducted the services along with Reverend Ardak Demirjian and Reverend Vazken Atmajian of St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Glendale.
“It’s very relevant to us because it’s a demonstration of God’s blessing upon us that continues from one generation to the next and just knowing that God provides for our basic needs,” Chaplain Elias Molina said. “The camaraderie and the joy are a part of God’s blessing.”
The tradition of blessing the grapes can be traced back to Old Testament times around 1,700 years ago. Grapes have a special place of honor because they are considered the “first fruits” since they are the first produce of harvest.
Mardirossian said he appreciated the long standing collaboration between Glendale Adventist and the Armenian community. Although the ceremony was only 20 minutes long, everyone who was a part of it enjoyed the prayers that were sung in English and Armenian.
Following the service, the prelate and pastors visited patient rooms and blessed the patients, offering prayers for healing and good health. All in-patients received a small bag of grapes on their dinner trays and a card reading, “These grapes were blessed during our Blessing of the Grapes ceremony today. Please accept them in recognition of this annual Armenian harvest time celebration.”