Message of His Holiness Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians On the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus ChristMother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, 23 March 2008
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
"Christ is risen from the dead. He defeated death with death, and through His resurrection, He granted us life."Armenian Breviary (Book of Hours)
Dear Faithful Sons and Daughters in Armenia and the Diaspora,
We greet you all with a joyful heart and the tiding of the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We lived the prayerful and solemn days of Great Lent with the Almighty; we lived with our petitions, appeals and the emotions of our souls, as well as with the crisis and pain which resulted from the tragic events of March 1. And through the sacred mystery of Holy Week, we communed with our Lord�s acts of salvation during His final days on earth.
When the Teacher was crucified, His disciples and followers had dispersed in uncertainty and grief. Some had disowned Him and were suffering with feelings of guilt. Others had tied great hopes of power and glory to Him and were now experiencing the pain of hopelessness. But the Risen Christ appeared to them and dispelled their sorrow and doubt, reestablished them in true faith and hope, and confirmed them in their mission to proclaim to the world the grace of salvation, to preach the teachings of God�s love and peace, and the Gospel of the heavenly kingdom.
Today, our Lord no longer stands defenseless before Pontus Pilate. He is no longer the accused - abandoned and rejected by men. Neither is He the One tortured, harassed and condemned to ascend Golgotha with the cross on His shoulders. He is not the One buried in the tomb; rather He is the Risen - the Lord of creation and the triumphant Savior of mankind.
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (I Corinthians 15:55)
Death is no longer despair, no longer is it the end of life or existence. The tomb is no longer the end. The "end" was destroyed through the Resurrection of Christ, and on the other side of the grave, we see the path toward eternity. Our savior, addressing His and our Father, says "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (St. John 17:3)
The path to eternal life in this world is the new, resurrected life through Christ Jesus, which He bequeaths to man by His divine power. The renewed life of the reborn soul is free of the power of evil. Our Lord defeated evil, destroyed death and granted humanity the grace to be reborn, to become sons and daughters of God.
God has created the world in which we live. Everything is the work of His hand. Whatever we have belongs to Him. But in this world, since the time of Adam, either willingly or unwillingly, man frequently becomes a tool in the hands of evil, destroys God�s handiwork and darkens the joy of a creative life. In our present day, evil, lack of faith, materialism, falsehood, hatred, and lust for power plant seeds of death and prepare large and small graves in the life of mankind. Today as well, we must regrettably accept that life is not valued to the extent and manner equal to the call of the Lord and His Saving Will. In his quest for peace and justice, man opens doors to conflicts and sows injustice, since it is not the peace and justice granted by the Lord that he seeks; rather individual security and personal interest in the name of those virtues. Truly, actions opposed to the Will of God are ruinous. Christ gave His life for mankind to save us from destruction, and called us to live with faith, hope and love. It is with these values that the spiritual renaissance and moral development of humanity become a reality. It is with these true values that the progress of societal life occurs, that rights are respected and laws actually work, for the welfare of mankind.
Dear Armenian sons and daughters dispersed throughout the world,
Throughout our history, we have frequently been enveloped by the shadow of death, we have been wounded deeply and we have lived in times of darkness; but with a gaze thirsting for light, we have sought the heavenly break of day. We have measured the depth of suffering and pain, and have emerged time and again by soaring high with heroic flight. Today as well, we find ourselves in trying times. The peaceful life of our homeland is troubled and the stability of our state is threatened; the reputation of our country and the good name of our people have certainly been damaged - our greatest achievements are endangered. Intolerance, hatred and confrontation are not ways to eliminate the negative realities from our lives or to determine solutions to problems challenging our nation. These result in new wounds and new difficulties increasing the threats to our lives. We must exercise care, so that every word and deed that is borne of evil and reeks of falsehood is rejected. We are obligated to be vigilant so that true brotherly love, a sense of justice and respect of the law, confidence, faith, and a spirit of reconciliation and peace smoothes the path of our lives. Let us spare nothing in our efforts to strengthen our statehood and the uninterrupted progress of our country, so that we overcome the difficulties afflicting our lives, and our homeland soars with strength - a homeland which is the hope for our united life and our endurance.
Our exhortation to you all - ranks of clergy and laity - is to make goodness, love and benevolence abundant in your lives through the resurrection faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. Heal all wounded hearts. Cast out all evil from our hearts, our souls and the borders of our homeland. Be one flock with one shepherd. Under the protection of the Holy Right Hand of our Father in heaven, with the Holy Sign of the Cross of our Risen Savior, and guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, let us create the future of our dreams - a strong, unshakeable Armenian state and a patriotic, happy Armenian people devoted to God. By caring for our homeland and people, we shall store treasures and store them abundantly for the eternal life proclaimed to us by the feast of the Holy Resurrection.
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." (Colossians 2:6-7)
With the tiding of the glorious resurrection of our Lord, from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Illuminator�s holy throne, we extend greetings with fraternal love in Christ to 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 Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople; and all graceful heads of Sister Churches. We convey our pontifical love and blessings to all diligent servants of our Holy Church and our faithful sons and daughters dispersed throughout the world.
We greet and bless the president of the Republic of Armenia, Robert Kocharian; president-elect and prime minister of Armenia Serzh Sargsian; president of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh Bako Sahakian, all Armenian state officials and leaders and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited to Armenia.
We pray for heavenly peace to be established in our homeland, throughout the world and within the souls of all men.
May the giver and guide of life - our Lord Jesus Christ - bless our lives and illuminate the path of the Armenian nation with the light of His resurrection, and may grace, love, faith, hope and strength be with all our people and the world entire. Amen.
Christ is Risen from the dead.Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ.