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“We Stand at a Decisive Moment in History”: Catholicos Karekin II’s Message to His People

In a powerful, emotional message, His Holiness Karekin II addressed the Armenian Church faithful throughout the world, as their homeland faces the ordeal of war.

The Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians delivered his words of encouragement, determination, and faithful hope on September 29, 2020, during a prayer service at the ancient monastery of St. Gayane, close by to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

In a spirit of resolute unity, the Catholicos of All Armenians praised the patriotic courage of his countrymen acting in defense of Artsakh and Armenia, and called on faithful Armenians throughout the world to support and advance the cause of preserving the homeland’s hard-won independence and liberty.

“This is the moment to defend our homeland from the enemy—and testify to the power of our unity and spirit,” His Holiness said. “Our heroic struggles recorded in the glorious pages of Armenian history prove that national unity is the path to victory, which clarifies the bright horizon of our future.”

He concluded with a heartfelt prayer for God’s protection and blessing “over our all of our homeland, and over all Armenians.”

Click on the link to watch a recording of Catholicos Karekin II’s message. Read an English rendering below.

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The Message of His Holiness Karekin II

My Dear Faithful Children in Armenia, Artsakh, and the Diaspora:

Today, under the vaults of this holy sanctuary, we stand united in spirit and faith, praying to God for the peace and security of our homeland; for the safety of all of our people.

We stand united at a decisive moment in history, when the freedom and independence of our holy Arstakh, its peaceful and productive life and sacred values, are under threat.

United, we assert that the right to live in independence and liberty is a gift from God, which is both irrevocable and inviolable. Our people are resolutely determined to defend that right. As has happened so often in our history, today our nation has no other alternative than to protect life and freedom by taking up arms in opposition to the forces threatening them.

We stand united as a people in our strong condemnation of Azerbaijan’s military actions against the Artsakh Republic, as well as its attacks on the Republic of Armenia’s borders.

The military actions of Azerbaijan, indisputably carried out with the support of Turkey, are being halted by our brave soldiers of the Armenian army, with a spirit of determination. As the Scriptures truly say: “The Lord is my strength, my song, and my salvation”; “The Lord is a warrior … His right hand destroys the enemy” (Exodus 15:2-6).

Dear ones, truth and justice are on our side; with the help of God, and the unity of all Armenians, we will crown the sacred work of defending our homeland with victory. We are inspired by the patriotic spirit shown by our people, who hurry to join the ranks of the defenders of our homeland, uniting their forces to achieve an unequivocal victory. This is the moment to defend our homeland from the enemy—and testify to the power of our unity and spirit. Our heroic struggles recorded in the glorious pages of Armenian history prove that national unity is the path to victory, which clarifies the bright horizon of our future.

Dear children, our urgent message to you is to keep strong the spirit of patriotism; to unite all our national potential in defense of our homeland; to prevent the violation of our national dignity, freedom and independence—all our rights gained at so high a price.

As our people face this ordeal, we have sent messages across the world to heads of state, leaders of our sister churches, clergy, and leaders of inter-church organizations. The actions of the civilized world to stabilize the situation in the region—to restore peaceful, productive and secure life—are vital to halting the dictatorial and aggressive aims of Azerbaijan.

Human life is sacred and godly; any violation of it is godlessness. Our sorrow is deep for every one of our casualties and wounded. We wish strength and courage for the parents of our active servicemen; a rapid recovery for all the injured; the consolation of the Holy Spirit for the loved ones of the fallen.

We pray, from the depths of our heart, for the support of the holy right hand of God—to protect the brave soldiers of our army, our brave children of Artsakh, our entire nation. May the protection and blessing of the Lord extend over all of our homeland, and over all Armenians. Amen.

From the Monastery of St. Gayane, September 29, 2020

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