Against the painful trials of the past year, Armenian Christians should find confidence in the reality of Christ’s resurrection, said His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, in his Easter Sunday sermon.
“The miraculous Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ gave mankind the heavenly grace to rise from Golgotha, to conquer death and to inherit eternal life. We too are encouraged by that confidence, and strengthened in the face of tribulation and sorrow,” he said.
His Holiness offered his message during the Pontifical Divine Liturgy of April 4, 2021, which he celebrated at Yerevan’s mammoth St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral. He addressed faithful worldwide, and especially in Armenia and Artsakh, who have endured one of the most difficult periods in modern history: a year of pandemic, unprovoked war, and attendant societal instability.
“Last year our people, like the Savior, suffered a crucifixion again,” the Catholicos of All Armenians said. “Thousands of our loving sons died in the hellish furnace of war while passing through a suffering of Golgotha. We lost a significant part of Artsakh, our native homeland. Both before the war and in the post-war period, the commitment to love and solidarity and the way of life according to God’s messages was not steadfast in our lives. The divisions and the sowing of hatred, the spirit of intolerance, and the continuing political upheavals have put our country and people in danger of new disturbances and decline, overshadowing noble ideas of devotion and patriotism.”
In a passionate appeal, the Catholicos called upon all his countrymen, and especially all Armenian leaders, to put aside personal ambition and parochial interests, and sacrifice for the greater good in a time of profound crisis. “Dear ones,” he said, “the light of Christ’s salvation and resurrection radiates through the virtue of making sacrifices: sacrifices for one another, and sacrifices for the love of our entire nation. It is in this light that we turn away from selfishness and turn toward godliness.”
Read Catholicos Karekin II’s entire Easter homily in an English translation below.
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The Message of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians
On the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin | April 4, 2021
“Christ is risen from the dead”
(Hymn of the Resurrection)
Today is the glorious feast of the Holy Resurrection: a feast of elevation, of victory over sin and death. Christ is resurrected, the door to the grave is opened, the angels brought forth the luminous good news of life, and the apostles were strengthened and inspired by the appearance of the risen Savior.
The miraculous Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ gave mankind the heavenly grace to rise from Golgotha, to conquer death and to inherit eternal life. We too are encouraged by that confidence, and strengthened in the face of tribulation and sorrow—in the horrible reality of death—having the firm belief that Christ is risen. He has restored life, brought mankind out of the darkness of sin and evil, and established reconciliation between man and God.
“God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son,” says the Apostle (1 John 5:11). The Resurrection of Christ opened the bright path of blessed life, hope, love, peace and solidarity. Straying from this life-giving path spreads death and destruction instead of resurrection, condemnation instead of salvation, and turns life into a vortex of hatred and division, full of evil trials and dangers.
Beloved ones, last year our people, like the Savior, suffered a crucifixion again. Thousands of our loving sons died in the hellish furnace of war while passing through a suffering of Golgotha. We lost a significant part of Artsakh, our native homeland. Both before the war and in the post-war period, the commitment to love and solidarity and the way of life according to God’s messages was not steadfast in our lives. The divisions and the sowing of hatred, the spirit of intolerance, and the continuing political upheavals have put our country and people in danger of new disturbances and decline, overshadowing noble ideas of devotion and patriotism.
Also, the unanswered concerns for the security of the homeland, the lack of a vision for life in the homeland, disappointment and frustration, have clouded our future hopes with the darkness of uncertainty. No circumstance, no goal, nothing can justify the division and weakening of the nation and the homeland, the scattering of our flock, the violation of our national and spiritual values and ancestral heritage, the immoralization of the new generation and uprooting them from the national identity, and the degradation of the nation’s dignity and honor.
Our crucifixion will not be crowned with the life-giving power of the resurrection if there is delay in taking the necessary actions to overcome the crisis of difficult political, economic, and social problems, while we remain in the cave of death. Resurrection does not take place through reprehensible hatred and enmity, division and destruction, but through love, mutual respect, common purpose, love of homeland, and shared commitment to overcoming hardships and difficulties together. The life of our people in the homeland and in the diaspora is waiting for an immediate relief of sorrows, emergence from suffering, and victorious resurrection.
Dear ones, the light of Christ’s salvation and resurrection radiates through the virtue of making sacrifices: sacrifices for one another, and sacrifices for the love of our entire nation. It is in this light that we turn away from selfishness and turn toward godliness. It is in this light that we cast off deadly conduct and turn toward the life-giving God. It is in this light that actions which cause suffering are replaced by the deeds of the resurrected life, leading towards salvation and eternity.
Bringing our country and people out of the plagues, raising the life of Artsakh from ruins, reviving the Armenian people and homeland: these are the imperative commitments that must be taken up by all the sons and daughters of our nation, all political parties, and especially by all authorities, with the greatest sense of responsibility.
These patriotic efforts will be crowned with success through the commitment to save our statehood from a fatal situation, by giving up personal ambitions, and by prioritizing the interests of the state and the nation. In this spirit, we must bring to a victorious destination our cherished aspirations for the restoration of our painful losses, the protection of our national rights, and the universal recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Beloved faithful, Christ has risen to bring us the power to renew our souls, our lives. Let us not despair or be discouraged by the trials that surround us. Let us remain strong in the faith of the resurrection. Let us live the miracle of the resurrection in our country and in life. Let us stay in our native cradle with warm aspirations to avoid emigration from the homeland and to strengthen our statehood. With the help of the Lord, we will overcome the bitterness and disasters of our lives, and achieve the realization of our hopes and visions: the creation of a resurrected new life.
On this soul-stirring day, let us pray that the blessings and grace of our Lord and Savior will be spread through the hearts of the people, bringing peace and prosperity to the world, wisdom to the state officials in their responsibility to harmonize and stabilize the state and public life, leading to prosperity. Let us pray for the health of our children wounded in the war, for the return of the prisoners of war and the missing, for the souls of our fallen heroes, and for the dead from the pandemic. Let us seek consolation in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
“I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
May the hopeful news of Easter grant to our people all over the world the power to realize the shared dream of a safe, prosperous homeland. Let the skies of our national-ecclesiastical life be adorned with the dawn of the Resurrection. And may our homeland, Armenia and Artsakh, remain peaceful and secure, and our people strong in faith, with love and unity, today and forever. Amen.
Christ is risen from the dead!
Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ!
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