Easter Message of His Holiness Karekin II

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, April 5, 2015

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Today angels descended from heaven
to give glad tidings to mankind:
“He who was crucified is risen,
and gave resurrection to you along with Him”.”
Armenian Church Hymnal

Our Dear Faithful Sons and Daughters in the Homeland and the Diaspora,

The joy of the glorious resurrection of Christ once again soars in our souls. We rejoice like the oil-bearing women, who found the tomb of the Savior empty, and heard the good news of His Resurrection from the angels. We rejoice like the apostles gathered together in the Upper Room and the travelers on the road to Emmaus, to whom the Risen Lord appeared and dispersed their doubts and grief. The darkened skies are now illuminated with the rays of light of the resurrection; the sorrow and sadness of the crucifixion have been shaken off. Heaven is open and hell is destroyed; death has been defeated and life is victorious.

Our Lord, Christ the Savior, through his sacrificial act on the cross and his glorious resurrection, became a sacrifice of salvation for mankind, which is dispersed everywhere, to all who receive with faith. The priceless, divine act of salvation makes pious souls worthy of the grace of the heavenly kingdom; and as the author of the hymn says, “He who was crucified is risen and gave resurrection to you along with Him “

The path of our people throughout the evolution of history has frequently resembled Christ’s. We often ascended to the tortures of Golgotha, we were co-crossbearers with the Lord, and with faith in His resurrection, we were risen as well. By the grace of God, our people overcame the persecutions and massacres, the plots and ruins hurled at them, and kept alive the hope of rebirth, of a secure and brilliant life.

On this magnificent day of the luminous feast of Christ’s holy resurrection, we pray also for the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. It was one century ago, when the sons and daughters of our nation, were subjected to genocide by unheard of misery, only for being Armenian and Christian. They accepted the crown of martyrdom with the truth of the words of the apostle in their hearts, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (II Corinthians 5:1). Our people, through their martyrdom and resurrected life, became a witness of the truth of the miracle of resurrection to the world and all of mankind. We were crucified, we were afflicted and persecuted, but not hopeless; we were wounded but not weak; dispersed throughout the world, but not homeland-less. With the love of a lost homeland in their hearts, our people sprouted new life again under recreated statehood on the eastern portion of historic Armenia and in Diaspora communities; believing that their tree of life, rooted on the unshakeable foundation-rock of faith, and with life-giving strength, provides fruit and bears children who build the nation and the homeland.

We have struggled for one century for the universal recognition and condemnation of the Genocide of the Armenians; and we continue in this struggle with faith in the triumph of justice. At times the world heard us, at others disregarded us, because it does not always listen and remain faithful to Christ’s message of peace and goodwill to men. The result of which, the contemporary history of mankind was again blackened by the darkness of new genocides and wars. Today as well, human life is tempest tossed by conflict and bloodshed. On our cradle of humanity – planet earth – the enviable peace and universal goodwill and solidarity still remain as unrealized dreams. “Because God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living.” (Wisdom 1:13). Moreover, through His crucified and risen Only Begotten Son, God has granted us the grace to rise from the dead, which compels nations and governments to express a unified and collective will, to prevent the dangers threatening the peace and welfare of humankind, to be greater vigilant in the establishment of justice and righteousness, in the work of universal condemnation of genocides. Otherwise, the miserable paths of the world shall continue to lead toward new tragedies. Mankind is indebted to wipe away the swelling sea of tears in the world, to silence the thunder of killing weapons before the helpless gaze, cries and shrieks of orphans and needy children who yearn for a bright childhood, and to stamp out the evil of poverty. Crucifixion must be defeated in the world, and be replaced by resurrection.

Dear and pious faithful, today when we hear the good news of “He who was crucified is risen, gave resurrection to you along with Him”, let us be encouraged in spirit, let us live as a people who rose with Christ from death; as a people who are loyal to Christ and possess the power of resurrection. Let us face the challenges and troubles of our lives, and let us transform our crucifixion cross of difficulties into a blossoming cross, through our full devotion of efforts and new labors of dedication to our homeland and nation. Let us build our national, public, and social life, as well as our national-ecclesiastical sphere, with the certain faith of “for God is with us”, and walk toward new horizons of ascendancy and the victory of our righteous cause.

With the joy of the Feast of the Holy Resurrection of Christ in our souls, we convey our best wishes to the incumbents of the hierarchal Sees of our Holy Apostolic Church: His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; His Beatitude Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem; His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople; and the graceful heads of our Sister Churches.

With the glad tiding of our Lord’s glorious resurrection, we greet the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsian and the First Lady, present here today for the Divine Liturgy. We also extend greetings to the President of the Republic of Artsakh, Bako Sahakian, and high ranking Armenian state officials, wishing them abundant service and new accomplishments, for the sake of our country’s strength and our people’s progress and welfare. We offer our good wishes and blessings to the President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Mr. Berge Setrakian; and the members of the Union, who are present and in the homeland for their Annual General Assembly. We offer Easter greetings and our blessings to the leaders and representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited to Armenia, wishing you success in your efforts, aimed at strengthening the friendship and cooperation between our countries.

On the occasion of the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ, we congratulate our faithful sons and daughters dispersed throughout the world and oath-bound clergy of our Holy Church, conveying our pontifical love and blessings, and appealing for the support and abundant graces of our Risen Savior.

We pray for our omnipotent God to keep the entire world under his boundless mercy, reinforce the spirit of peace, justice, and truth, in the hearts of men, and bless the efforts of humanity to create a secure and happy life. We offer our appeal to heaven, for the Lord to keep our homeland in peace, bright with faith, and courageous in spirit. May he guide our people dispersed throughout the world with His life-giving graces to progress toward the luminous horizons of life.

May the love and peace of our Risen Lord be with us, today and always and forever. Amen.

Christ is Risen from the dead.
Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ.

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