On August 2, 2021, His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, addressed Armenia’s political leaders and the republic’s newly-elected parliament, at the opening session of the National Assembly.
In his speech, the Catholicos acknowledged that “our homeland of Armenia and Artsakh faces serious external and internal challenges because of the Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression and expansionist ambitions.”
Given that grave context, he encouraged the parliament to aim its efforts “at creating the necessary environment and opportunities for the strength and security of our state, and for the dignified life of our country.”
His Holiness pledged the support of the Armenian people’s oldest institution in that task. “Our Holy Church has always guided our people to the salvation of souls, the enlightenment of the mind, the rise of national life, as well as blessing our liberation struggles, and supporting the re-establishment of statehood,” he said.
An English translation of Catholicos Karekin II’s address appears below.
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Message of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians
At the Opening Session of the Republic of Armenia’s 8th National Assembly
Your Excellency, Mr. President; Dear Chairman, Honorable Members of Parliament, and Attendees:
We extend to you our pontifical blessings and greetings, and congratulate the newly elected Members of Parliament on the occasion of the first session of the 8th National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia.
Today, our homeland of Armenia and Artsakh faces serious external and internal challenges because of the Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression and expansionist ambitions.
In order to overcome the challenges in domestic life, the consolidation of the state, political figures, and the whole society, high awareness of civil responsibility, universal vigilance and integrity are imperative. The desire and aspiration of all of us is the security and progress of our homeland, the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous life—which is highly related to the activities of the legislative body and the government to be formed.
Today, you take on the responsibility of creating legislative initiatives to make a significant contribution to the ongoing development of the economy; to advance science, education, and culture; to protect the integrity of our identity and values, and to uphold justice and rights. “Blessed are those who keep justice, and he who does righteousness at all times,” says the Bible (Psalm 105:3)—testifying that justice and law enforcement are the guarantee of the welfare and prosperity of the people and the nation.
Your legislative activity, with the rule of law and justice, should be aimed at creating the necessary environment and opportunities for the strength and security of our state, for the dignified life of our country.
The way to make this cherished, centuries-old dream come true is to fulfill the message of our fathers, who, according to the Gospel, taught that law is made for man, and not man for the law (Mark 2:27).
In the current difficult situation in our country and in the difficult circumstances in the region, we vitally need to unite, to relax, to relieve anxiety and tension. We cannot afford hatred, revenge, and division. We all need to realize that there is no alternative to national and social solidarity. Above all, love, kindness, and mutual understanding should be delivered to society from this parliament, and from the governmental system. Let criticisms voiced during parliamentary sessions be only to build and to correct mistakes. Let the debates aim to find the truth, to be guided by the spirit of truth, and to anchor lawful public life and state activity upon that truth.
We convey this Pontifical exhortation to you: With the variety of political views represented among you, work together in unity, with a common desire to forge a bright future for our homeland and people. Concentrate your efforts on keeping our state steadfast, on overcoming internal and external challenges, on preventing emigration, and on being more productive in relations and cooperation with the diaspora. Remain faithful to our spiritual and national values, the supreme interests of the homeland. Cherish the vision of our holy ancestors and patriotic martyrs—so that we, as a nation, may have the grace and power to forge the awakening of our state and patriotic life.
Our Holy Church has always guided our people to the salvation of souls, the enlightenment of the mind, the rise of national life, as well as blessing our liberation struggles, and supporting the re-establishment of statehood. With this vision, the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church always raises its voice against any dangerous processes for the homeland, any threats to national identity, any violations of the rights and values of our people. Loyal to its title, our Holy Church must continue to fulfill its God-ordered mission, supporting and assisting all patriotic and national efforts, for the love of our people and state.
We pray that God may grant you wisdom and support you in your activities, so that the mission of the National Assembly will be fruitful, for the sake of the prosperity of our homeland, and the peaceful, secure and dignified life of our people.
Good luck and blessings to the works of the 8th National Assembly.
August 2, 2021