Celebrating the sacrament of Holy Matrimony in the Armenian Apostolic Church does not start with the wedding day. As a church, we strive to ensure that you understand the Holy Sacrament by implementing an extensive marriage counseling program. This program works towards a successful marriage and the creation of a holy family. These guidelines outline the process of getting married in St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church.
Securing the Date
You should secure the wedding date at least six months in advance. You can do this using the church's form below or by requesting an application from the church office. Complete the form as thoroughly as you can; additional details can be added later.
The Planning Session
Once you secure your date, Der Hayr will schedule the first planning meeting. It is important that both the bride and groom to be attend this initial one-hour meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to introduce yourselves to Der Hayr and start the preparation for the Holy Matrimony. During this meeting, you will get familiar with the required documents and have the opportunity to voice any questions or concerns you may have. Der Hayr will discuss things such as appropriate dress code for the bridal party, limits and boundaries of the photographer and videographer, permitted decorations in the church, and space that can be used on the wedding day.
The Counseling Sessions
Der Hayr is a certified FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study) facilitator. His training allows him to ensure that you have all of the information you need for a successful marriage. At the beginning of the counseling sessions, both you and your fiancee will receive a questionnaire. You each provide your own answers to the questions. For the next three sessions, you will discuss each of your answers together with Der Hayr. The questions cover topics such as communication, problem solving, spirituality, parenting, finances, and traditions. At the end of these session, Der Hayr will provide an overview of the marriage. He addresses the couple's life-mainly, the meaning of love based on the bible; the meaning of marriage and family focusing on the necessity of communication; the importance of family sacrifices, devotion and dedication to each other; the financial needs of a family and ways to manage and budget; and the importance of a supportive family. At the end of the counseling sessions, you will receive a certificate of completion from FOCCUS.
The next step is to meet with Der Hayr to talk about the wedding ceremony. He will explain the different parts of the ceremony, the symbolism of each, and the Gospel and Epistle teachings that will be read during the ceremony. Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament of the Armenian Church, in which a man and a woman solemnly vow before Christ, the priest, and the congregation to be true to each other for life. Their union is blessed by Christ through the Church. The marriage ceremony of the Armenian Church is replete with symbolism.
The parts of the ceremony are:
Confession and Communion
The Armenian Church requires that all couples attend the Divine Liturgy on the Sunday preceding the wedding. At the end of the service, Der Hayr meets with the bride and the groom individually for confession, after which he offers them the Holy Communion.
Before the wedding can be finalized, the following documents must be provided to the church: The completed wedding application form provided by the church. Copies of the bride and groom's identification cards. Copies of the baptismal certificates for the groom, bride, best man, and maid/matron of honor. If any of these individuals belong to the parish and have been baptized at St. Sarkis, their baptismal certificate is not necessary. Note: All of these individuals must be baptized Christians. If they are not, they must convert to Christianity, start the process to catechism, and receive the sacrament of holy baptism before the wedding. If the couple belongs to a different parish, their priest must provide a permission letter. In addition, if the parish is of a different Christian denomination, a permission letter from the bishop is also required. The marriage license. The couple must apply for the license from the county clerk at least 34 days prior to the scheduled wedding date. The couple must send the license to the church office at least three days before the wedding in order to have it ready for signatures on the day of the wedding.
*Both the bride and the groom must be dues-paying members (in good standing) of St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church. All wedding ceremonies must have a deacon (Sargavak) and an organist to assist the Pastor. A soloist and/or choir are optional. Fees for these participants are made directly to the individuals after the service. The Church office will assist you with this procedure. It is an Armenian custom that an honorarium for the Pastor is made after the wedding. This honorarium can be given directly to the Pastor after the service is completed. The St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church Fellowship Hall can accommodate up to 250 people. Please call the Church office for rental information.