ADDRESS OF THE CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS ON CHRISTMAS
In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
"A new king is born in Bethlehem Bless (Him) sons of mankind, For He became
incarnate for us."
Armenian Church Hymnal
Dear pious faithful in Armenia, Artsakh and the Dispersion, With songs of
praise and prayers of thanksgiving we celebrate the Feast of the Holy
Nativity and Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ today, conveying the good
news of the incarnation of God and the revelation of the Savior.
The prayerful fathers of our Church called the Holy Nativity a "mystery
great and wondrous". They named it as such, since it is impossible to
describe how the uncontainable, the eternal and the boundless was contained
in a manger; how the Word and Wisdom of God was born in a stable of
incognizant animals. It remains beyond the comprehension of the human mind
how the Only Begotten Son of God - the Creator's Light of Glory - became a
created being, and the Lord took on the form of the servant.
We do not know how this great miracle of God came to pass nor can it be
explained; however we do know the reason for the miracle, "For He became
incarnate for us". Truly, these few words explain the Almighty's
providential will, guiding and directing the Holy Nativity and Theophany.
God is Lord and Creator "of heaven and earth, of things visible and
invisible". His glory is shown by His temporal and spiritual creations - the
universe, mankind and the angels. The God of all has no need for body nor
time. The Savior seated on the eternal throne of God had no need to descend
from the heights of heaven to this sinful earth. The Prince of Peace had no
need for persecution, torture, and crucifixion; there was no need for a
crown of thorns, death, or resurrection. But all of this the Savior took
upon Himself for our sake. The Love of God took on flesh to liberate us from
the power of sin and death, and to make us worthy of the blessedness of
eternal life. "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins." I John 4:10. God Whom we
lovingly worship does not desire our death or condemnation, and for that
reason He Himself came to live within us. He came to transform our lives, to
grant us the hope of salvation and eternal life.
Indeed, our songs of praise and giving of thanks have no value, if within
the depths of our soul we do not have the unshaken faith that God "became
incarnate for us". Our prayers will not be heard, if God does not abide in
the very center of our existence.
Holy Nativity marks the beginning of reconciliation between God and man; it
is the invitation to inherit eternal life and the exhortation to remain
under the grace of salvation with Jesus Christ. God revealed Himself to us
in His fullness, so that we do not remain apart from that fullness of divine
and human perfection, and so that our lives hoping for salvation become
satiated with that fullness of perfection. We believe that God is one. Is
unity not essential for us? We preach that God is love. Do we not feel the
need for love? Can we live without love? Can we create without love? God, to
Whom we constantly pray, is holy, righteous and benevolent. Let us examine
our hearts - do we not feel the need for holiness? Let us examine our
actions - are they always truthful, good and benevolent? We declare that God
is just. Do we not long for justice every hour of every day? We confess that
God is our Father; that He is merciful, the unending source of peace and the
grantor of goodness. Is peace not our daily appeal and wish? Does the earth
not yearn for mercy and care every day? He who recognizes God in this
manner, cannot live without Him; cannot live without binding his own hope
for salvation with the faith of the incarnation of the Son of God; and
cannot live without aspiring to always be under His blessings and graces.
The world loses its path without the light from the star of Bethlehem.
Without Christ, the world will always be in distress, troubled and lacking
morality. Material progress alone will not secure the avoidance of crisis
situations, the prevention of conflicts and discord, or the elimination of
disasters and poverty. The disregard of spiritual values and the tendencies
of secularization unequivocally damage sacred traditions, distort moral
concepts and understanding, as well as the inner-world of man, causing him
to be indifferent to and alienated from God, from himself and the world. It
is God who sustains the human soul. Human life shall be repaired by the soul
that loves God and the power of faith, so that there is no blurring of the
boundaries between philanthropy and egoism, so that there is no failure to
differentiate between the just and the unjust, truth and falsehood, good and
evil. Many issues shall be decided, many disparities shall be leveled and
wounds shall be healed by the discerning comprehension and belief that the
Son of God became man for our sake. This example of perfect love is light
and direction for our lives and a commission to work with love. "Put on
then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness,
lowliness, meekness and patience, forbearing one another; and if one has a
complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven
you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds
everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:12-14.
Dear faithful Armenians, on the "great and wondrous" feast of the Holy
Nativity and Theopha ny, our Church commemorates the holy baptism of Jesus
Christ with the Blessing of the Waters service, so that through the graces
of Christ's revelation to mankind, the blessed water be distributed
throughout our families, increasing the love and blessings of God in our
lives. Through our baptism, we are adopted by God. Through our baptism, we
are one - regardless of where we may be; we are the sons and daughters of
our Holy Apostolic Church, our nation and our homeland. Let us live and work
with this sense of unity and love towards one another, so that we may be
empowered to overcome all difficulties and challenges, to progress toward
the achievement of our hopes and aims. As the oldest Christian nation and as
God's people, let us bring our participation with our God-pleasing lives in
the creation of a peaceful and prosperous world - a world filled with
solidarity and happiness. Today our Lord and Savior comes to live within our
hearts and to renew us with His grace. Let us receive the Lord in our souls,
be reinforced with faith, and remain loyal to our spiritual inheritance and
Christian values. With reliance on our Lord and Savior and the steadfast
hope and strength granted from Him, let us make our lives flourishing in all
aspects, continue to build our native land, and care and strive for the
manifestation of all national aspirations and the rights of our people in
Artsakh. May our virtuous works and benevolent souls filled with love
towards one another always shine brightly in our lives, whereby we shall
bear witness that we love God.
It is with these emotions, prayers of joy and warm Pontifical love, from the
cradle of our faith - the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin - that we greet all
sons and daughters of our people in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora.
With fraternal love in Christ, we greet the incumbents of the hierarchal
sees of our Holy Apostolic Church: His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the
Great House of Cilicia; His Beatitude Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch
of Jerusalem; His Beatitude Mesrob Mutafyan, Armenian Patriarch of
Constantinople; and the oath-bound ranks of our clergy.
We extend our Pontifical blessings and greetings to the President of the
Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsian; the President of the Republic of
Nagorno Karabagh, Bako Sahakian; all state officials of the Armenians, and
leaders and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited to Armenia.
On this grace-renewing day of the Holy Nativity, let us offer thanksgiving
with prayers to God in heaven for the blessings and consolation He grants
us; for the successes and achievements in our ecclesiastical and national
life, and ask that He care for us with His boundless love as is His will.
May He make us worthy to remain steadfast on His path, reinforce us,
illuminate us and make His saving grace shine within us, today and always.
"Bless (Him) sons of mankind, for He became incarnate for us."
Christ is Born and Revealed Great Tidings to you and us.
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