The Message of His Holiness Karekin II Supreme Patriarch
and Catholicos of All Armenians
on the Feast of the glorious resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, 08 April 2007
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
"Christ is Risen from the dead!
He destroyed death with death;
and through His Resurrection, granted us Life"
Our dear pious and faithful people,
We once again celebrate the Holy Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with great joy. Songs of praise and blessing ascend to heaven today from within our souls, a prayer of thanksgiving to our Lord, Who through His triumphal resurrection granted us salvation and life. Today, we Christians greet one another in delight with the infinitely desired tiding of "Christ is Risen from the dead".
The Glorious Resurrection of Christ is an event which occurred and was witnessed. The oil-bearing women were the first, who on Sunday morning found the tomb of their crucified Teacher empty, and as they stood in awe, heard the news from the angel, "He is not here, but is Risen" (Luke 24:6). The testimonies of Christâ€™s Resurrection also are our faith, our churches dispersed throughout the world filled with faithful praising the Resurrection, and the witness to the Descent of the Risen Savior - this holy sanctuary. Also testimony of Christâ€™s Resurrection is the miracle-working strength of our people to walk from the "Golgothas" toward life with that same faith and hope of salvation.
Dear brothers and sisters, throughout the passing of centuries, much blood of man has been spilled on our planet. However, not one drop of blood which has flowed on the earth has affected human history, the human mind or spiritual inner-world, as much as the Holy and Life-Giving Blood which poured from Christ. The Son of God gave His life as ransom for the salvation of the world, and Christâ€™s sacrifice became the greatest evidence of Divine love for mankind. Through His sacrifice and resurrection, Christ granted mankind liberty from the power of evil, from the bondage of sin and death. Christ gave us freedom, which is beyond any comprehendible human understanding; freedom which is the grace to walk toward reborn life - life renewed with justice and peace - and the desired and sought after eternity of life.
This soul-renewing mystery of Eastertide is dispersed throughout the world today along with the tolls from the belfries of all Christian churches. Pontiff, primate and pastor celebrate the Eucharist before the holy altars of churches, offer prayers to heaven, and convey the tiding of "Christ is Risen" to all of Christendom and the message of love and peace to all humanity. So that Godâ€™s creation be cared for and preserved unspoiled, so that man be appreciated and valued in the same manner as God loved man. We are called by God and bound by the imperatives of the times, to unify our efforts for the sake of a free and happy life, for the sake of philanthropic values which are the blessed gifts from God.
Alas, paths leading away from the light of Christâ€™s Resurrection fill the world today with anxiety. In these days as well, Judasâ€™ kisses and materialism are spreading. In the example of Pilate, many wash their hands, trampling justice underfoot for their own personal prosperity. Today as well, men follow the example of denying the peace-bestowing Christ and selecting the thief Barabbas, with their cheating, violence, assassinations and in their frenzy for stepping on others for their personal gain. The Mother of God grieving near the Cross today mourns with all lamenting mothers who have lost their sons in wars, grieves for those who are crucifying themselves through their evil acts, and for the many injustices, pains, poverty and yearnings which fill the world with sorrow.
In this reality of the world, the hardships of our people continue as well. We remain obligated to struggle for the God-granted right of the Armenians of Artsakh to live in liberty and security; for the universal condemnation of the Armenian Genocide; and for the preservation and salvation of Armenian spiritual and cultural treasures - our holy shrines and monuments - in our neighboring countries.
The policy of denying the Genocide is the cause for new physical, cultural and psychological-moral genocides. Unpunished crimes unavoidably bear new ones. The Genocide of the Armenians was followed by the Holocaust, as well as Rwanda, Darfur and other genocides. The destruction of the giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan was followed by the obliteration of thousands of ancient Khatchkars (Stone-Crosses) in Nakhijevan by Azeri soldiers. Only days ago, while the wound on the soul of our people from Hrant Dinkâ€™s assassination has not yet closed, the Turkish authorities, having completed the renovation work on the Church of the Holy Cross on Aghtamar Island, converted the centuries-old Armenian holy shrine into a museum. From the time of the Genocide, the church has been standing in silent prayer, yet today prayer is prohibited in the renovated church. Truly, in this new century, this approach cannot be the spirit of dialogue between religions and cultures, nor the aspirations for peaceful coexistence among peoples.
Relying on God, we have great hope in the triumph of justice, freedom and peace. Our faith is alive, through which we shall create the new victories of our life, we shall erect new Khatchkars which whisper their prayers, new sanctuaries of illuminated altars, new monuments shall rise with that strength of the grace of the resurrection, which is granted to us by our All-Provident Savior and Lord.
Dear faithful sons and daughters, we once again bring the life-giving tiding to you: "Christ is Risen from the dead, He destroyed death with death; and through His Resurrection, granted us life". He Who was crucified by men has Risen, the gravestone has been rolled away by divine power, and our hearts are filled with the joy of God-granted salvation. Through the countless graces of the Saviorâ€™s Resurrection, let our souls be strengthened by labors established on the foundation of faith, to make prosperous and brilliant the path of renaissance for our homeland, our people and our Church. Let us carry out the coming parliamentary elections with this renewed faith, with diligence, confidence and a sense of responsibility for the future. May our homeland, the entire world, and nations and people live free of sorrow and pain, with love, brotherhood and peace toward one another under the innumerable mercies of the Risen Christ.
On this celebratory day, with fraternal love and the joyful good news of Christâ€™s Resurrection, we extend our greetings 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 Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem; His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople; and the spiritual leaders of our Sister Churches. We express our Pontifical love and blessings to all vigilant servants of our Holy Church and to all our children dispersed throughout the world.
With a joyful and hopeful spirit, we convey our blessings and greetings to the President of the Republic of Armenia Robert Kocharian, President of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh Arkady Ghukasian, all state officials of the Armenians, and the leaders and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited to Armenia.
We extend our greetings in this soul-renewing and festive season of Easter to the benefactors of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Armenian General Benevolent Union; to the Central Committee and chapter representatives of the AGBU, led by its President, who have all gathered in the Motherland from throughout the world to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the AGBU.
On this grace-filled day, dear pious faithful, let us offer our unified prayer to heaven, asking that the gift of the Lordâ€™s salvation be made greater and greater abundant, assisting men to progress toward the beneficent Will of God, toward the bright future of mankind, now and always and forever. Amen.
Christ is Risen from the dead.
Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ.