For the first time at St. John Armenian Church, a new tradition was celebrated on the occasion of the New Year. On January 1, 2017, following the Divine Liturgy, pomegranates were blessed in accordions with the right established by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholics of All Armenians, just a few years ago. The blessed fruits, which are of great symbolic important to the Armenian people, were distributed to the faithful to enjoy with their families, or take home to loved ones were are unable to attend church.
According to thearmeniankitchen.com,
"As a national symbol, the pomegranate has been widely used in Armenian architecture, carpet weaving, arts, and crafts and manuscripts illuminated by Gregory Khlatetsi, Toros Taronatsi, Toros Roslin, and in the Haghpat and other Gospels.
In Christianity, the pomegranate symbolizes the diversity of God's grace, the Church. Just as the seeds of the pomegranate are separated by thin membranes yet held tightly together, in the same way, the Christian Church holds all Christians around the world together in Christ's love; though they are separate, they are not divided. Thus the pomegranate shows unity in diversity.
The pomegranate's crown represents Jesus' crown and His sovereignty over the entire world. The red color symbolizes His salvific Blood that was shed for all. The popular belief is that each one contains 365 seeds corresponding to the number of days in a year, symbolizing new life in Christ and the New Year.'"
St. John Armenian Church wishes everyone a New Year marked with the blessings of Jesus Christ, that those who trust in Him will be filled with His peace and mercy.