Monday, December 7, will mark 32 years since the earthquake that rocked Armenia. December of 1988 was a time of heartache for all Armenians. But its aftermath brought our people together, opened a new path in our national history, and offered lessons that remain powerful, and meaningful, in our present day.
The repercussions of the earthquake were so great that they can hardly be enumerated. For the people of Armenia, it was a time of the deepest grief—an uncertain transformation in their way of life. For Armenians in our Diocese and around the world, it was a call to turn away from parochial divisions, and to focus our united efforts on the greater cause of our homeland.
As we approach the 32nd anniversary of the earthquake, the pain of that disaster is still sharp. We still utter requiem prayers for every lost life; we still mourn every tragedy suffered. At the same time, we acknowledge that a day of profound darkness ultimately marked the beginning of a new chapter in the ongoing story of the Armenian nation. In the face of an unimaginable crisis, our people did not lose heart, but placed their trust in God.
If, in the ensuring years, that lesson has been occasionally forgotten, it has not been lost. The spirit of common purpose that united Armenians after the earthquake is always waiting to be reborn in us, according to God’s will. Let that godly spirit guide us through our present time of grief and uncertainty.
In the days to come, please take a moment to pray for the precious souls our Lord drew to His kingdom 32 years ago. May He remember them alongside those who laid down their lives this year, in defense of Armenia and Arstakh. May He always bless our holy homeland, and lead our people through every time of trial.
Above: His Holiness Vasken I, of blessed memory, the 130th Catholicos of All Armenians, among his people in the aftermath of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. Click here to read a trio of articles from 2018, that recalled the earthquake on its 30th anniversary.