Preparations Underway for Blessing of the Holy Muron
From the time of the first Catholicos of All Armenians – St. Gregory the Illuminator, the right to bless the Holy Muron (Chrism) has been reserved for the consecrated head of the Church, the Catholicos of All Armenians.
The blessing of the Holy Muron, which traditionally occurs once every seven years, will take place in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin on the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varag, September 28, 2008. His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, will preside and personally offer the service. He will be assisted by twelve archbishops of the Armenian Church from dioceses throughout the world.
Upon the Pontifical Order of His Holiness, several major committees were created in the Spring of 2008, to undertake the preparations for the blessing service, planning of events and for receiving the numerous guests and pilgrims that will be visiting Armenia. Many high-ranking clergymen and representatives from sister churches and Christian organizations have made plans to be in attendance.
One of the committees has already completed their work of gathering the ingredients for the Holy Muron. The two main elements which makes up the foundation of the Holy Muron are pure, virgin olive oil and balsam, to which are combined more than 40 kinds of fragrant incense, flowers, sweet aromatic plants, roots and floral extracts, as well as different oil and leaf extracts.
On the evening of August 18, the cauldron which holds the Holy Muron was filled with olive oil and placed on the bema in front of the main altar of the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. For the next 40 days, it shall be present for the prayers and special psalms which are read during evening services, as well as during the Divine Liturgies celebrated for the next seven weeks.
Once all of the other ingredients are gathered, they will be crushed, ground and mixed with white wine, rose water, and other floral essences by the members of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin, with their offerings of prayer and incense. The mixing is scheduled to take place on September 14, 15 and 16, following which the mixture cooks for three days on September 17, 18 and 19, all on the grounds of the Mother See.
Numerous dioceses outside of Armenia have made plans to bring groups of pilgrims to witness and participate in this special event. Several public events are planned during the days before and after the festive service.
The schedule of events follows
Friday, 26 September: Consecration of new St John the Baptist and St Vartan Baptisteries
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin / Concert by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra Yerevan Opera House
Saturday, 27 September: Ecumenical Prayer Service / St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Yerevan
Sunday, 28 September: Celebration of the Divine Liturgy / Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin