Here is the message of His Holiness Karekin II, on the occasion of the Feast of the Resurrection:http://www.etchmiadzin.com/
Our dear and pious faithful,
The feast of Christ’s holy and glorious resurrection has once again brought joy and happiness to our hearts, and exultation to all Christians, who have been called to eternal life by the Lord’s salvation. Today our souls are alight in hope as we praise and glorify the Risen Lord and accept the good news of the victory of life and the salvation of man.
The triumph of life over death became possible through the love that God has for humanity; through the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of the Son of God – the Savior of mankind. During Pilate’s unjust trial, the mob preferred the outlaw Barabbas over Christ, condemning the Son of God to be crucified. The sinful was chosen over the sinless; the evildoer over the righteous, "because their deeds were evil, for everyone practicing evil hates the light." John 3:19-20. Near the cross, the believers and followers of Christ were wailing, while many were mocking Him, saying "if you are the Son of God, come down from the cross... and we will believe." Matthew 27:40-42. Our benevolent Lord, Who came from the bosom of the heavenly Father into the world, became man and mortal, did not come down from the cross. Instead, he rose from the grave to renew the nature of man and bestow the grace of eternal life. Thus the doors to eternity are open and we are called to be the inheritors of the kingdom of heaven, to enjoy the blessings and joy of God’s constant presence. Let us fearlessly approach Him Who is the Lord of life, merciful and full of love. He can renew the world heavy laden with sins with a single word; by seeing remorse and the desire and effort to change in the souls of men. He knows the hearts of men and their thoughts; He knows the aims of all deeds and will grant each according to his faith and hope in God. It is with this confidence that the apostle who has seen the Risen Savior exhorts us to lay hold with Jesus Christ on the hope for eternal life, and to steadfastly and unyieldingly fight the good fight of faith.
Dearly pious faithful, in accordance with the words of the Gospel, life in this world is a spiritual war for us faithful, and at every turn, in every thought or word, it is necessary to choose the true and the good, to be found righteous before one another and before God, so that divinely-given love always shines throughout life. There is no alternative in the good fight of faith, there is no compromise, since it is a war against satan – the one who desires the downfall and death of men. It appeared that satan was victorious, when Christ was crucified and placed in the tomb. However, through the Lord’s glorious and ineffable resurrection, evil and its power were destroyed, since it is God’s will that man be saved.
The Risen Christ is the way of life. With Christ, we have the power to be renewed and to improve life. As Christ’s earthly life brought goodness to humanity, so too shall the life of those who believe in Him, since the way of faith is that special heroism with which men are called to be the fearless implementers of God’s saving will on earth, to be the ‘fragrance of Christ before God’ [II Corinthians 2:15].
Dearly beloved faithful, for nearly 2,000 years since Christ’s resurrection, mankind has passed through diverse societal, economic, scientific and technological periods of development. However, in spite of all of his accomplishments, man has faltered many times in fighting the good fight of faith. Often as well today, the temporary (material) goods of this life, are given priority over the eternal ones. Today too the world is not free of war, poverty and irreconcilables in society, within families and personal relationships. And truly, there will never be peace, unfaltering prosperity and happiness wherever the good fight of faith is not being waged; wherever Barabbas is chosen over Christ.
Our people chose Christ as Lord and Savior. And with Him as our refuge throughout the centuries, we have overcome countless ordeals and have emerged with faith from the graves prepared for us. Today, the sacred mystery of Christ’s resurrection gloriously ascends and illuminates Armenian life, since we commemorate the 95th anniversary of the Genocide of the Armenians in the reality of independent Armenian statehood and a Diaspora in renaissance. Yes, the 20th century was an era of tragedy, but also one of rebirth for our people. Passing through the Golgotha of genocide, our people in dispersion and in the homeland, who overcame infinite deprivations and sacrifices, sprouted a new life, continued to create, and walk today with lasting accomplishments in harmony with the times. Relying on Christ, our people were committed to the hope of a peaceful and prosperous world, and believed in the triumph of liberty and justice. With this vision and confidence, we shall continue to defend our righteous cause, that resonates today in the hearts of many people throughout the world, even though the Armenian Genocide as of yet has not been universally recognized and condemned. We shall also continue our efforts in the recognition of the independence of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh and to eliminate the illegal blockade of our country.
Dear pious faithful,
It is necessary today as well to fight the good fight of faith, so that the worship of God, love and harmony be steadfast in our lives; so that goodness is lasting; and our deeds are productive for the sake of our present and our future. Today we live that important period of our history when our national life and statehood are advancing and being rebuilt in Armenia and the Diaspora; when we have been presented with the opportunities to make our aspirations manifest; to lead to victory the strengthening of our homeland, the implementation of our national goals and the efforts aimed at the progress of our people. Each individual in his sphere of service and his work, shall make progress with the saving Will of God and the divinely pleasing path of love for homeland, which results in bountiful goodness to our life and makes us pleasing to God. As the apostle recognized the Risen Christ by the signs of the tortures He bore for all mankind, thus does Christ recognize us – his followers – through the witness of faith, by renouncing all which is opposed to the Will of God and opposed to goodness, justice and truth.
Dear ones, the words of the apostle resonate for each one of us: "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called." Let us remain faithful to the holy and righteous life of Christianity chosen by our pious forebears. In our families, in our personal relationships, and in the participation of our national life, let us keep bright the luminous lamp of faith, and as the apostles exhort us, "keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life," Jude 1:21; and resembling "those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Hebrews 6:12.
With the joy of Christ’s Holy Resurrection, we extend our best wishes 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 to the oath-bound ranks of clergy of our Church.
With the love of Christ, we greet the heads of our sister Churches, asking for the Lord to grant His most bountiful graces to their faithful flock.
With the glad tiding of the Lord’s Holy Resurrection, we greet the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsian; President of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh, Bako Sahakian; and all high ranking state officials of the Armenians, asking for the Almighty’s blessings for their lives and efforts made in the cause of the welfare of our native country and our people dispersed throughout the world.
We convey our greetings and best wishes also to the heads and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia. May their deeds on behalf of a world at peace, friendship and cooperation among peoples be fruitful through the blessings of our Lord.
On this wonderful Easter Sunday, we offer our prayers before the Holy Altar of Descent of our Risen Savior, asking God to grant prosperity and vibrancy to the land of Armenia with generous goodness. May he keep our small flock – the Armenian nation – in peace and welfare. We appeal to our Lord to keep our people unified with our holy faith, grant new strength and might to the realization of our righteous aspirations.
May the graces of the Risen Christ be dispersed throughout the world, so that all nations can build the life of which humanity dreams, with hope and faith, in friendship and brotherhood, filled with love, harmony and serene peace, today and forever. Amen.
Christ is Risen from the dead.
Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ.