The ‘Blessed’ Armenian Kitchen

By Robyn and Doug Kalajian
FLArmenians Cuisine Contributors

Fr. Paren Galstyan

We’ve always thought of our kitchen that way, but now it’s official.

We were joined recently by a small group of family and friends as our home was blessed by our Der Hayr, the Rev. Father Paren Galstyan of St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, Florida.

The house isn’t new to us but Father Paren is. Originally from Armenia, he recently moved to South Florida from Illinois. He is young, energetic, earnest and has a keen sense of humor that he’s eager to share.

He’s even more eager to share his faith and knowledge, which he demonstrated by doing something I’d never experienced through countless home blessings since childhood: He offered to conduct the entire ceremony in English.

I eagerly accepted the offer. He then conducted a question-and-answer session on the meaning of the traditional Armenian house blessing and stressed the significance of each of the three dishes arrayed before him: bread to sustain life, salt to preserve, and water to cleanse.

Of course he was much more eloquent and offered both practical and spiritual meanings behind each symbol. Then he sprinkled the blessed water in each corner of the house.

He cautioned us not to discard anything in the now blessed dishes, so we made good use of the water by making a pot of coffee that we all shared. The bread served quite well in a sandwich a bit later that evening.

Father Paren said the church allows such blessings up to five times a year if the occupants feel it’s necessary. I think he did such a fine job that we’ll be safe from unholy intrusions at least until the blessed salt runs out.

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