MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS KAREKIN II - ON THE FEAST OF THE HOLY NATIVITY AND THEOPHANY
- MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS KAREKIN II SUPREME PATRIARCH AND CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS ON THE FEAST OF THE HOLY NATIVITY AND THEOPHANY
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
“Today in the town of David
a Savior has been born to you;
he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Beloved faithful Armenians in the homeland and the diaspora,
Once again today our hearts are filled with joy and exultation with the celebration of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was with the baby Jesus that God’s love became incarnate and lived among men. God dispersed His countless blessings on mankind, and opened the path to salvation for all.
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” This joyful news was first given to the shepherds of Bethlehem more than two thousand years ago, and the bright star in the night sky of Bethlehem guided the wise men of the East, who set out to find the Lord and found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger, and recognized Him as the Lord – the Savior of the world.
The birth of Christ today is once again an invitation to us, to all men and peoples, to go seek the Savior – the benevolent and loving God – just as the Magi and shepherds did. The psalmist says, “Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” Psalm 34:10. To seek the Lord is to walk toward God, to accept His saving Will and to follow Him. To seek the Lord is to meet and see Him feeding the hungry, healing the sick, consoling the heartbroken, granting hope, faith and love, admonishing hypocrisy and falsehood, and leading men on the paths of justice, righteousness and peace. Those who meet the Lord on these paths shall be strengthened, their hearts shall be at peace, happy and joyful, they shall not falter in their faith, and they “shall not lack any good thing.” God sent His Only Begotten Son to the world for the love of mankind, through which He bestowed the greatest examples of love, care and attention; to share their gifts with one another and to rely on the graces of heaven. The righteous, the prophets and the apostles, the martyrs for the faith, the pious and the saints, lived by this blessed and righteous life, and as a lighthouse, have illuminated the path to God for mankind.
The modern century, which is noted for its greater materialism and secularism, has a greater need for spiritual inner-strength, resolute faith, and a return to the spiritual-moral values taught by Christ, through which life has meaning and its aim established – on a path toward God. Lasting and eternal are spiritual values that have illuminated and strengthened the lives of peoples, have developed cultures, and have reformed societies. Today as well, without spirituality and without God, social and economic reforms, scientific and technical developments and all efforts of humanity aimed at progress are condemned to fail. Truly, mankind will be able to find peace, prosperity, wellbeing and all good things through a renewal of spirituality and morality. Just as the apostle James teaches us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” James 1:17.
Dear and beloved faithful in Armenia, Artsakh and the Dispersion,
We have a great many concerns in our homeland and national life as well, that we shall be able to address through the graces that come from our faith, through the power of love, honesty, devotion and vigilance for one another; a spirit of patriotism and love of nation. Let us not be intimidated by difficulties or challenges, for the Lord has transformed all manner of sadness into happiness for us, has granted us many victories, through which our souls are encouraged today. Let us guard ourselves against faltering in our responsibilities and obligations, let us disdain injustice and dishonesty, and to the same extent, indifference. Let each of us – the official in his position, the soldier in his service and the clergyman in his, the farmer and the manufacturer in their labors, the teacher, the scientist, the physician and the artist in their calling – be greater diligent, be ready to take on greater responsibility and display greater devotion, so that we may gather the beneficial bounty and increase the Lord’s graces in our lives. With a renewed national and spiritual life, and in strong unity, we shall beautify our homeland, make our people’s life prosperous, defend our just rights, keep our country’s stability unshakeable, and keep our optimism for the future unwavering, so that the sons and daughters of our nation do not depart from the homeland, rather they return; so that Armenian families and children in those families proliferate in Armenia and the Diaspora. May the difficulties not become obstacles to increasing the population of our villages and settlements, and may the joyful yelps and cries of children multiply in Armenian homes.
The Son of God was not born in splendor, comfort or wealthy surroundings. Our Lord came to earth in a humble family – one that had faith in God and submission to His Will. New hope is born with each new child – a new prospect for the advancement and prosperity of our nation. The future of our people is in their hands. They shall be the ones to continue the free life of our reborn homeland, the path of our people among the family of nations – in peace and happiness – with an unyielding faith of a world filled with hope in God. Let us take care, dear sons and daughters, that our children grow and strengthen with the Word of God, and to keep them from the danger of falling into the trap of soul-destroying ideologies that are foreign and unfamiliar to our people. Let us firmly establish them in the faith and hope in Christ and the promise of our Lord that “rivers of living water will flow within” their souls. John 7:38. And according to the words of the prophet, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” Isaiah 61:3-4.
On this soul-renewing occasion of the Lord’s Holy Nativity and Theophany, and with Christ-bestowed love, 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 Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem; His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople; His Excellency Serzh Sargsian, President of the Republic of Armenia and all state officials of the Armenians. We extend our greetings to His Excellency Bako Sahakian, President of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh. We convey our pontifical love and blessings to the oath-bound ranks of our clergy and to our sons and daughters dispersed throughout the world. Wishing for God’s most abundant graces for them, we greet the heads of our sister Churches and the leaders and representatives of the diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia.
Dear brothers and sisters, today the glad tiding of the angel resounds in our souls: “…a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Let us go to meet the Lord, as the Magi and shepherds did. Let us transform our souls into the manger of Bethlehem to receive the baby Jesus. Let us offer prayers to heaven before the cradle of the newborn Savior, so that peace and goodwill among men be strengthened on earth through heavenly graces. May the power to feel the presence of God in our hearts and recognize Him in our souls never diminish, so that our souls always rejoice and that our lips exclaim with glory the grace-bestowing good news:
CHRIST IS BORN AND REVEALED!
BLESSED IS THE REVELATION OF CHRIST.
May the Grace, Love and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us and will all. Amen.