` ‘Muron’ Olive Oil 1,700 Years in the Making - Olive Oil Times

‘Muron’ Olive Oil 1,700 Years in the Making

Apr 3, 2012 8:10 AM EDT
Tara Vassiliou

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Photo: Armenian Church

When God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai, he said: Take the finest spices of liq­uid myrrh …and of sweet-smelling cin­na­mon … and of aro­matic cane … and of cas­sia … and of olive oil … and you shall make of these a sacred anoint­ing oil blended as by the per­fumer … this shall be my holy anoint­ing oil through­out your gen­er­a­tions.” (Exodus 30:22 – 33).

And thus com­manded, every seven years since AD 301 Armenian priests from all over the world descend upon one of the old­est cathe­drals in exis­tence — the ancient Cathedral of Etchmiadzin in Armenia. It was here, that St. Gregory, patron saint of the Armenians blended the first sam­ple of Muron as a uni­fy­ing reli­gious sym­bol of for­give­ness and peace, and as a med­i­cine for heal­ing’ and it is here that the priests’ ful­fill their mis­sion: to return to their respec­tive dio­ce­ses with their pre­cious cargo of freshly con­cocted Muron — the sweet-scented holy oil.

The recipe is pre­pared in a mas­sive, ornately-engraved, sil­ver cal­dron; and is cre­ated from more than 40 dif­fer­ent ingre­di­ents: herbs, flower extracts, spices, wine and the main com­po­nent — pure vir­gin olive oil. To pro­tect the sweet per­fume, the lid of the caul­dron is sealed with uncooked dough, and the entire assem­blage steamed for three days and three nights. The Bishops use three holy relics to sanc­tify the oil: the Geghart — the lance that pierced the side of Christ; a piece of wood believed to be from the orig­i­nal Cross upon which Christ gave his life; and the holy right hand of St. Gregory the Illuminator.

Accompanied by read­ings of sacred scripts and the ring­ing of bells to sym­bol­ize the descent of the Holy Spirit, the cal­dron is unsealed and the Holy Chrism from the pre­vi­ous cer­e­mony is added — old to new — mixed with the orig­i­nal batch from the Armenian Church’s found­ing 1,711 years ago. It rep­re­sents the con­tin­u­a­tion of an unbro­ken chain from the time of St. Gregory – and an extra­or­di­nary link between mil­len­nia.


Over the next seven years, the Muron will be used spar­ingly in Armenian churches, scat­tered like their peo­ple over the globe. Church lead­ers note, that through­out the cen­turies Muron has helped sus­tain a peo­ple dec­i­mated and dis­persed by war, con­quest and geno­cide.’


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