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Husband and Wife as King and Queen in the Traditional Armenian Wedding

By Mark R. Rushdoony
June 01, 1999

Introduction:
My father, R. J. Rushdoony, has long stressed the eternal nature of God's law. It is eternal because it is the Word of the eternal Sovereign. Because only God is sovereign, all man's legitimate authority is derivative, or ministerial. No one person or agency such as church or state can claim total jurisdiction. Power is limited because the law applies to and must be independently applied by different law spheres. This limits jurisdiction yet enhances authority because one acts in his own sphere as an obedient minister of God's Word. One central law sphere is the family. My father has emphasized the importance of parents exercising dominion in their homes. This is a necessary extension not just of the Dominion Mandate but of covenant theology. My father has frequently referred to the Armenian wedding as illustrating the fact that this is not a new concept, but was an ancient custom in his father's Old World experience. The following is an excerpt from a letter written by my grandfather to my father on February 24, 1956, illustrating this fact.                           — Mark R. Rushdoony

As to the Armenian wedding, yes, the bridegroom and bride are crowned as king and queen. The evening before the wedding the bridegroom is given a good bath, then a clean shave in the presence of all friends and relatives called to the wedding. He puts on his best clothes. A person, who is an expert in making the crown, makes one weaving it with red and green silk put around golden paper. In the villages where the old custom survives men wear turbans or headbands. The crown is made of an elongated cross in an oval circle. That circle is closed by green and red silk neatly woven around golden papers. They place the crown on the forehead in the turban of the bridegroom. He is now proclaimed as a king and seated on a chair. Friends and relatives hold each other's arms forming a circle. Slowly and in majestic gravity they dance singing the crowning song in a kind, moving way so that many burst into tears. I that am writing these lines can not restrain my tears because of past memories. They have a list of famous monasteries built in the name of some saint and the Holy Cross. After each stanza they repeat it over and over again, changing only the name of the saint or monastery. For instance, they sing, "Now you are facing the Holy Cross wearing red and green." Then the tune comes to other saints or monasteries, for instance "Now you are facing St. Thomas, or Naregatjia etc. wearing red and green. May God keep you blameless to enjoy your queen." When this is finished, they dye their hands or only fingernails with the king by some red dye called "henna." They depart very late.

At the bride's home, the bride, takes her bath and puts on her best clothes. The Godmother takes the red and green silken girdle and seven times girdles the bride making good wishes; then they put the ring-like crown on her head, a shining star on the forehead proclaiming her the would-be queen. Then also they redden their hands or fingernails with the queen with red henna. At the time of the wedding with solemn music and dancing they take out the king and queen from their homes and lead them to church. Before entering the church, the king and queen have to meet. The king goes in front and the queen fast behind him. They enter the church. At the wedding or marriage both bridegroom and bride take communion. Then the bridegroom is mantled as a king, having also a dagger in his belt, holding a Gospel on his breast and a cross, a small one, hung from his crown on his forehead. The bride also is mantled as a queen, having a stole put on her and a cross on her forehead. Then the bridegroom and the bride by religious singing are led from the church to the wedding-hall. The "Sharagan" or hymn that is sung pertains to king crowning. The festivals last three days. The king has his throne in the festival-hall on an elevated place, having his guards by him. The queen with her maidens is screened off in the hall of the festival. The third day at dinner each person that was invited to the wedding gives his or her wedding present; then by a religious ceremony, the festival is over.


Topics: Family & Marriage, Culture

Mark R. Rushdoony

Mark R. Rushdoony graduated from Los Angeles Baptist College (now The Master’s College) with a B.A. in history in 1975 and was ordained to the ministry in 1995.

He taught junior and senior high classes in history, Bible, civics and economics at a Christian school in Virginia for three years before joining the staff of Chalcedon in 1978. He was the Director of Chalcedon Christian School for 14 years while teaching full time. He also helped tutor all of his children through high school.

In 1998, he became the President of Chalcedon and Ross House Books, and, more recently another publishing arm, Storehouse Press. Chalcedon and its subsidiaries publish many titles plus CDs, mp3s, and an extensive online archive at www.chalcedon.edu.

He has written scores of articles for Chalcedon’s publications, both the Chalcedon Report and Faith for all of Life. He was a contributing author to The Great Christian Revolution (1991). He has spoken at numerous conferences and churches in the U.S. and abroad.

Mark Rushdoony lives in Vallecito, California, his home of 43 years with his wife of 45 years and his youngest son. He has three married children and nine grandchildren.

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