“For Artsakh there is not, nor can there be, any guarantee of security within Azerbaijan,” said the Catholicos of All Armenians. “This is not a war of choice for our nation. But we are obliged to wage war in self-defense.”
His Holiness Karekin II offered these solemn words in an October 14 video message, in which he appeals directly to Armenians in Artsakh, Armenia, and across the world; to world leaders whose countries “value human life, peace, and justice”; and, most poignantly, to the soliders who currently risk their lives defending our homeland from invasion and ruin.
“Your valiant example has inspired the Armenian people throughout the diaspora to stand up, and to raise their voices for Artsakh and for victory,” Catholicos Karekin II said in his heartfelt, emotionally-charged expression of admiration to Armenian soldiers and volunteers.
Click here to watch the recording of Catholicos Karekin II’s message. Read an English rendering below.
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The Message of His Holiness Karekin II
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians
October 14, 2020 | Holy Etchmiadzin, Republic of Armenia
Dear Faithful People:
We bring you the divine blessing of your Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, along with our love and prayers.
These are decisive days for our homeland. We are engaged in a war for the freedom and independence of Artsakh.
Azerbaijan, ignoring the ceasefire agreement, continues its military actions against the Artsakh republic, going so far as to shell peaceful settlements and civilian populations, our monuments and sanctuaries. Even the Holy Savior “Ghazanchetsots” Cathedral, in the city of Shushi, was not spared.
Now the border villages of the Republic of Armenia are being targeted. By these actions Azerbaijan has demonstrated its true anti-Armenian policy: to expel our people from their ancient homeland of Artsakh; to eliminate Artsakh as a state; and to ruin the Armenian republic.
For Artsakh there is not, nor can there be, any guarantee of security within Azerbaijan. This is not a war of choice for our nation. But we are obliged to wage war in self-defense, as the only way to preserve our lives, freedom, and dignity against further violence.
In that cause we appeal to all countries of the world that value human life, peace, and justice—especially those countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group—to take decisive steps to prevent Turkey and its terrorist mercenaries from direct involvement in support of Azerbaijan’s genocidal aims. We appeal to these countries to stop Azerbaijan’s prosecution of the war, and to compel it to adhere to a negotiated resolution of the issues.
Ensuring the safety of Artsakh’s people, and the establishment of a stable peace in Artsakh, is critical to preventing a humanitarian disaster in the region.
We re-affirm our earlier call to our beloved children throughout the world: Today more than ever before, our homeland needs the full commitment of each one of us. Only the unity of all Armenians will bring us victory in our sacred struggle to protect Artsakh, and foster justice for our people. Let us be united as one nation: unequivocal in our support of Artsakh, undivided in our effort to bring international recognition to the Artsakh Republic. In the spirit of our heroic ancestors, let us pursue glorious victory to restore peace to our homeland, and secure the safe, productive life of our countrymen.
To our beloved soldiers, the glorious warriors of the Armenian armed forces who defend our land: we send you our fatherly blessing and admiration from the deepest part of our grateful heart. Every day you wage this battle not only to protect our homeland, but also to preserve the right of our people to live freely. You are the pride of our nation: having such devoted, worthy children vindicates the cause of freedom in Armenia and Artsakh—vindicates all of the aspirations to justice embodied in our statehood.
I know that this struggle has had a cost to you personally, in the friends who have fallen by your side. Know that in death, each of the fallen heroes has inherited an immortal crown of glory. Let the memory of each sacrifice strengthen your conviction; let these radiant new martyrs inspire your victorious, nation-loving devotion to protect our homeland.
Your valiant example has inspired the Armenian people throughout the diaspora to stand up, and to raise their voices for Artsakh and for victory. We trust in the assurance of Scripture: “The Lord gives strength to his nation; the Lord blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11). In that spirit of victory, we ask the Almighty to keep watch over you and protect you, dear soldiers and volunteers; we pray that he will hold you within his immortal hands, and fortify you in body and spirit, to ensure peace in our homeland and in the lives of our people.
We pray for you all. God help and protect you. God help and protect Armenia and Artsakh, our homeland and all our people. Amen.