Archive for the ‘Sermon’ Category

The Message of His Holiness KAREKIN II
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians
On the Occasion of the Feast of the Holy Resurrection
 of our Lord Jesus Christ
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, April 20, 2014

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

“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Dearly Beloved Sons and Daughters in Armenia and the Dispersion,

The feast of the wonderful Holy Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ has illuminated our souls with bountiful hope. Our Savior has Risen from the dead; the tool of execution – the Cross – has been transformed into the tree of life; man and universe have been renewed by the grace of life and eternity.

Today risen with Christ, is the new creation, the path of a new life, bright with life-giving light, which is granted by the Savior. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” These words of our Risen Lord are a divine invitation for an eternal, as well as an earthly illuminated life, directed to each individual since the graces of the Holy Resurrection are distributed for all; including those who as yet, are not walking the path of faith; including those, who brokenhearted by the trials of life, are rebelling against God. The graces of the Holy Resurrection are dispersed also in those places where men and women have become bitter through wars and enraging terrorism, where hearts have become hardened, where people bear the severe burden of misery, where angelic children are sacrificed, all as results of poverty, indifference, and military actions. Today, the darkness-dispersing light of Christ’s Resurrection shines over all conflicts that disrupt the life of mankind, over humanitarian and environmental disasters, economic and political crises, and all worries and challenges. The belief in the Resurrection, which transformed the course of history, and educated soul and mind, created culture, guided states to progress; offered standards for justice and rights for all mankind, philanthropic values and principles; remains also today the miraculous power on which we shall rely and through which the world and the souls of men shall be renewed by new achievements, peace and love, to transfigure with goodness the life of humankind. Today, there are no societies or states without concerns, needs or problem. However, societies and states cannot have progress – and are even doomed to annihilation – if they do not possess the vision and goals of life, progress, and perfection, established on spiritual-moral values; and apostles devoted to the same.

Indeed, the greatest achievements of mankind are the heroisms of individuals who possessed vision; just as those disciples of Christ who spread the light of Christianity, who with their powerful faith in God, and a self-sacrificing sense of duty, laid the beginning of the path of eternal life in this world, for the sake of humanity’s salvation, happiness and wellbeing. Everyone who believes in God, who has love for creation and his fellow man, is an apostle and will implement his mission with the confident knowledge that the source of grace is God’s blessing, which dispels the gloom from life; that God’s help multiplies the fruits of labor, God’s consolation dissipates hopelessness and sadness, and God’s heavenly justice reinforces the foundations of earthly justice. It is with this knowledge and the elevation of this spirit that the wounds of the present world shall be healed, the course of nations and societies be established on paths of love and solidarity, and life be transformed by the light of resurrection, which is the commandment of our Lord and the sacred mystery of the Resurrection of Christ.


Dear and Pious Faithful,

The good news of the Risen Savior today is an invitation to our people dispersed throughout the world to not submit to the difficulties of our national life; rather to invest efforts with steadfast will for the prosperous and bright future of our native land and our people. In the tempests of centuries, where would our people be if not strengthened by the graces of Christ’s Resurrection? If not having love for our homeland and nation? And not able to turn that, into a buttress in times of difficulties, and strength, to live, create and rise up? We can determine solutions to the trials and challenges we face with unshakeable desire to transform life, by fidelity to our Christian values, via the noble and good path, and with our undertakings, and our nation-devoted and beneficial works. The feast of the Holy Resurrection brings to us the encouragement to bring to life with a hopeful spirit those plans that each individual – by responding to the call of the Lord – is able to realize for our familial, societal, state and national life, by not differentiating between the personal interest and the national and people’s interest. Let us serve in our calling and responsibility with spirit and devotion; let us not aspire for successes only for ourselves, rather for one another, for the progress of our native and national life, and as the Lord instructs, consider that we have done all that we were obligated to do. (Luke 17:10.)

We extend our fatherly words especially to our young children in Armenia and the Diaspora, exhorting them to be the bearers of the divinely commanded mission; combining with hope and faith the marvelous vigor of youth with our national life. Keep strong the life-affirming spirit of youth when facing the difficulties and imperatives of our lives, the self-centered and passing soul-destructive trends and views of our times, and all gales of temptation, by steadfastly standing on the rock of faith and recalling the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Dear and beloved young sons and daughters, you who are the first generation of our free homeland, keep and protect in your hearts as your most precious treasure, the light of your souls that is free with Christ, that is bright through Christ. A people that has scions educated with the laws of God, has real hopes and a positive future. You shall bring to fruition those hopes in the fields of our state, national and ecclesiastical life, at the borders of our homeland, at the positions of defense of our language and culture in the Diaspora; to strengthen our country, to defend the right of Artsakh to live free, to defend our righteous cause on the fields of battle; and with the devotion of your souls, through your responsibilities in our native and national life, you shall weave the victories of our life in this new day.

At present, the difficult situation of the Armenians in the Middle East, continues to concern our national life, especially in Syria. In recent weeks, a new crisis has arisen in Kessab where militant extremists have engaged in military actions with the assistance of the Republic of Turkey. The destruction of an Armenian populated area and the deportation of its Armenian residents is the continuation of the same criminal policy adopted by Turkey towards the Armenian people, which we shall confront through state, ecclesiastical and national structures, to defend the rights of our people through unified efforts.

Today, beloved, when the light and excitement of the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ once again beat in our hearts, and in accord to the apostolic words, having put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12), as one who rejoices in our Risen Lord, and as apostles who reject grief, fear and despair, let us go out to transform our lives and the lives of our brethren and people with new accomplishments, through steadfast steps that shall turn the vision of our bright future into a shining reality.

It is with this faith and wish that we extend the greetings with the good tiding of the Holy Resurrection 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 all clergy of our Church; as well as to the heads of all sister Churches and their faithful flock. We appeal for the Lord’s protection for them and His daily assistance in their divinely commanded mission.

With the appeal for the graces of Christ’s Resurrection, we convey our greetings to the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsian, and the First Lady, present here today for the Divine Liturgy. We extend our greetings and best wishes as well to the President of the Artsakh Republic, Bako Sahakian, and to all state officials of the Armenians, and all representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia. We extend our fatherly love and blessings with the joyful news of the Holy Resurrection to all of our sons and daughters dispersed throughout the world.

On this holy and cherished Easter Sunday, our prayer from the depths of our heart, is for the graces of Resurrection to reinforce you, dear Armenian people, to live in faith and hope and love, and to build the new good day of our lives in solidarity.

         May God grant peace to the entire world under His Holy Right Hand, grant prosperity and progress to our homeland, and brilliance to our Holy Church and our faithful Armenian nation, to praise today and always, the Holy Resurrection of our Savior.

 

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

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS KAREKIN II, SUPREME PATRIARCH AND CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS, ON HOLY WEEK

“Dear faithful people,

Great Lent marked the days of prayer, spirituality and reflection, a time for meditation, penitence and repentance to rejuvenate our spirits and strengthen our faithfulness, piousness and love for one another.

The genuine desire and the honorable aspirations of God-willing brotherly love, solidarity and support are a powerful and vital force that will help us to overcome our hardships, keeping the independent and peaceful foundations of our Homeland unshaken. The doors of God’s mercy and blessings will be widely opened before our personal and national life if we keep God’s commandments.

We are entering Holy Week. With the sacrament of the church services, through contemplation and empathy we witness the last events of Our Lord’s earthly life – Christ’s passion, His Crucifixion and Death, also His miraculous Resurrection, granting humanity a resurrected life on Earth and eternal life in the Heavenly Kingdom.

Beloved faithful children in Armenia and the Diaspora, let the message of Holy Week become a call for all of us to reinforce our path to God, rejecting unworthy thoughts, words and deeds, so that we can accept the good news of Our Lord’s life- giving Resurrection with a pure heart, and a hopeful and joyful spirit. Let us make the effort to have the Christian spirit manifested everywhere in our reality, valuing honesty and devotion of the spirit, righteousness, sympathy and mercy, and become closer to God. Let us pray for each other, extending our joint prayers for the Syrian people, the Armenians in Kessab and all the Syrian Armenians, and offer them our support so that our brothers and sisters in Kessab, who were displaced by armed extremists, can overcome the hardships and return to their homes and continue living peacefully with God’s will.

From the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin we extend Our Pontifical blessings, wishing from the bottom of Our heart that the graces of Our Lord’s Holy Resurrection descend upon our lives, and reinforced with divine blessings, that we always remain loyal children of God, and devoted children of our nation and Holy Church. May the heaven- sent peace be established in all the corners of the world, staying strong in our independent Homeland and in the lives of our people dispersed throughout the Diaspora.

May Our Lord Jesus Christ’s grace, love and mercy be with us and all for now and forevermore. Amen.”

 

Read Full Post »

clip_image002[4]

THE MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS KAREKIN II
SUPREME PATRIARCH AND CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS
THE FEAST OF THE GLORIOUS RESURRECTION
OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, March 31, 2013

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

"That God gave us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son."
1 John 5:11

Dear and pious faithful,

With the warmth of the dawning spring and the awakening of nature filled with new life, the hope and joy of the Feast of the Resurrection take flight in our souls today with the angelic tiding of "Christ is Risen", renewing and strengthening us in the confidence "that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son".

These words of the Apostle testify to the event that changed the course of the history of mankind, which occurred when the crucified and entombed Christ rose from the dead. From that moment on, death has no power over men, sin is absolved, and the reign of death is destroyed. It is the light of salvation and eternal life on the other side of the grave that brightly shines today in our souls – renewing us in our hope and faith.

The belief in the Resurrection of Christ always brings strength and power to always rise up and live that life that is in the Son of God. The foundation of that life is love – the love that sacrifices. That love with which the Son of God came to the world, fulfilled His mission of salvation, and instructed His disciples and followers saying, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another". John 13:34. Christ placed love at the foundation of human life, so that man would be perfect and that he would lack nothing. Love creates, builds and establishes and does not ruin; it illuminates, inspires hope, grants joy and bliss and does not succumb to indecision and despondency; it does not bring pain and grief. Love is the fountainhead of goodness and joy, the rock of peace and justice, the encouragement to support and help each other for the sake of a life of goodness and ongoing progress.

Today, alongside the bliss in our heart of the feast of Christ’s Resurrection, is also the regret that our Lord’s message of love for mankind and all of God’s creation does not manifest itself everywhere and always in human life. The seeds of Christ-commanded love that have been preached for two millennia often fall on the barren stones of souls that have strayed away from God, or do not produce results due to the negligence of man; or that which is planted by the Lord is plundered by evil, spreading dissension and leading men astray from their good paths. The present difficult global-political and economic developments, the growing self-centered mindset, and the disregard of spiritual and moral values, bring forth new disagreements and conflicts, problems and concerns in the life of societies, and human relationships. The path to rise above these realities that devastate the peaceful and harmonious life is illuminated by the good news today of Christ’s Resurrection, bringing with it the message of that life, which is in the Son of God. That life is real, attainable and within reach for us all. When human thoughts and works are born and guided by faith in God and love for one another, that is the life that is in Christ. When care and mutual support are the characteristic and natural state of society, that is the life that is in Christ. When thirty pieces of silver do not clear the way for Judas-like falsification and betrayal, and injustices are not realized through Pilate-like indifference, that is the life that is in Christ. When both in times of difficulty and plenty, the mouths of men resound with prayer and praise to God; when families raise pious children, that is the life that is in Christ, and for which mankind is called through God’s benevolent grace.

Dear and beloved faithful, today our state and national life continues to be troubled by serious challenges: the issue of Artsakh, the illegal blockade of our country, socio-economic concerns, emigration, and the influx of false values and customs. Worrisome also are the moods of despondency and disparagement, the lack of mutual trust, the lack of will to listen to each other; and the implacable imposition of one’s own truth. Let us expel from ourselves these kinds of behaviors. Our truth is the newly independentArmenia– the inextinguishable dream of centuries of our fathers and grandfathers; liberated Artsakh – the modern day heroism of our spirit and our proud victory. Our truth is our people who face difficulties and distress, the Armenian Armed Forces who defend our native borders under threats of war, our communities dispersed throughout the world, struggling daily for their national and spiritual identity, and today’s endangered and shrinking Syrian Armenian community – yearning for aid and support. These are the realities before us, dear faithful. We have only one path to strengthen our homeland, to build our flourishing life, for the realization of our visions and with aspirations for national rebirth and reawakening: that life that is in the Son of God. Let us renew our oath with God with the tiding of the Savior’s resurrection, let us fortify ourselves with faith and the hope of the risen life, to overcome our present difficulties and troubles. Let us reject fear, indifference, despondency and all doubt that can weaken our people and our unity, and by helping one another, let us implement all of our nation-building programs and cherished goals. Let us live with the love witnessed and testified by our Lord, so that the success and accomplishment of each one of us serve the general welfare and progress, turn into victory, glory and honor for our country and the entire nation, and may we remain God’s own and faithful people, worthy of the Lord’s heavenly graces and gifts.

With the glad tiding of our Lord’s glorious Resurrection, we extend our brotherly love in Christ and best wishes to the incumbents of the hierarchal Sees of our Apostolic Holy 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.

Appealing for the graces of the Risen Lord, we greet President Serzh Sargsian of the Republic of Armenia; President Bako Sahakian of the Republic of Artsakh; and all Armenian state officials, wishing many accomplishments and lasting achievements done in the name of the bright future for our land and people. With the good news of the glorious Holy Resurrection of Christ, we extend our blessings to the leaders and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited inArmenia, wishing them all good things and success to their work.

We extend our pontifical love and blessings to the oath-bound clergy and faithful sons and daughters of ourHolyChurchdispersed throughout the world.

We pray that the graces of our Risen Lord flow into the souls of men, so that peace, love for one another and justice be established and flourish everywhere throughout the world. May the Lord keep our homeland and our people in peace, and may He bless all efforts in the name of the goodness of our life and the vibrancy of our faith, so that the Armenian Nation, today and always says with joy:

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

 

Read Full Post »

To the Prelates,
The Clergy,
National Representative Assemblies and
Executive Councils, and
The Faithful People of
The Holy See of Cilicia

On the eve of the New Year filled with the mystery of the Epiphany, we greet you from the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias, with pontifical blessings, fatherly care, and Christian love, wishing you a year filled with divine goodness and grace.

According to the tradition we have instituted, we dedicate each year to a unique value, major concern, or special event relevant to our people, our church, and our homeland, and invite our faithful to examine the given theme through different activities, with a realistic approach and serious evaluation, aimed at making our communal life more productive.

Taking into account the active presence and unique role of the Armenian mother in our church and community life, with this Pontifical Letter we declare the year 2013 to be,

YEAR OF THE MOTHER OF THE ARMENIAN FAMILY

Throughout our history, mothers have become not only a role model for the Armenian people, reflecting the sacred spiritual, moral, and national values and virtues in her life; not only the steady pillar of the family and the dedicated educator of her children, but also a person deserving the utmost respect for her committed participation in the sacred mission of protecting and defending the Christian faith, and strengthening the nation and homeland, by her exemplary behavior, solid attitude, and infinite sacrifice in the most crucial moments of our history.

Therefore, it is necessary to reevaluate the model of the mother in the Armenian family with a comprehensive approach, particularly in face of the concerns and challenges she confronts in current times, and the unique role attributed to her.

It is necessary first to turn to the Bible as the foundation of our Christian faith, life, and thought.

I
The Mother in the Bible

The Bible is the source of divine revelation. The church must always look at the Bible to receive its inspiration and direction regarding any teaching, principle, or value related to its life and mission.

In fact, there are many references to the mother in the Old and New Testaments.

God’s commandment: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12) is the basis of the biblical teachings. We read in the prophecy of Isaiah: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (66:13). And the book of Proverbs says: “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old” (23:22). Another passage in Proverbs says: “Hear, my child, your father’s instruction, and do not reject your mother’s teaching; for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck” (1: 8-9).

In the New Testament, the supreme model of the mother is St. Mary, the Holy Virgin. The selection of Mary by God as the exemplar mother to become the mother of the Only Begotten Son of God (Matthew 1:20), the care exhibited by the Virgin towards the infant Jesus born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:6-7), the role of the Virgin in the spiritual and intellectual growth of Jesus (Luke 2:22-24) and then the constant presence of the Virgin alongside her son during His apostolate (John 19:25) and, on the other hand, the deep respect showed by Christ towards His mother (John 19:26), are eloquent manifestations of the authentic image of the mother and the exemplary mother-son relationship based on mutual love and nurturing.

Indeed, the mother has been so much respected that even “Jerusalem above” has been characterized as “our mother” (Galatians 4:26).

The presence of the mother in the Bible may be summarized with the following points:
a) The mother is the basis of the family; her role is not only to guarantee the survival of the family by giving birth to children, but also to educate. The maintenance of a healthy family in the moral and spiritual sense is the first and foremost duty of the mother.
b) Taking into account the singular mission given to the mother by divine directive, she is called to express moral and spiritual values and principles in her life and deeds.
c) It is necessary that children obey their mother, following her directions and example.
d) St. Mary, Mother of God, is regarded as the example of true motherhood.

II
The Mother in the Teachings of the Church Fathers

The fathers of both the universal church and the Armenian Church have given particular importance to the mother, with the Bible as the natural axle of their teachings, and the Virgin as the exemplary mother.

It is worth to briefly recall some words of our church fathers.

John Chrysostom, referring to Isaiah 66:13 (“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you”), says that God graces His children with love, care, and peace, like a nurturing mother.

Augustine, noting Deuteronomy 5:16 (“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, so that your days may be long…”) and Ephesians 6:1-3 (“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother . . . so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth”), says that respect and honor showed to the mother open wide the doors of heavenly goodness before us.

Cyril of Alexandria quotes Luke 2:44, where Joseph and Mary “started to look for him [Jesus] among their relatives and friends,” and says that parents have always to look for their children to prevent them from getting lost in the dust of sin and lawlessness.

Origen cites Luke 2:27, “The parents brought in the child Jesus” to the temple, and says that by doing this Joseph and Mary teach parents to bring children to church.

The fathers of the Armenian Church have also frequently referred to the role of the mother.

Quoting Proverbs 29:15 (“The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by a neglected child”), Nerses of Lambron underscores that the demands of the mother towards her children teaches them to lead responsible lives.

Hovhannes of Erzinka underlines particularly the educational role of the mother, noting that if she fails in her responsibility, she will be responsible before the tribunal of God for the evils committed by her children.

Parsegh of Mashkevor emphasizes the importance of prayer and suggests mothers teach their children how to pray.

Krikor of Tatev says that the mother deserves high respect and honor, because she has a very important duty to form the image of God in the child.

Hovhan Mandakuni describes the model of the Armenian mother with such power that he regards her as the “mother of mothers.”

Khrimian Hayrig suggests mothers teach the Gospel to their children so they learn to love their brother, their friend, and their fellow humans.

In view of this cluster of testimonies taken from the fathers of the universal church and the Armenian Church, we consider necessary to make the following observations:

a) The fathers of the universal church and the Armenian Church have generally referred to the duty of parents towards their family and children, considering father and mother as one entity, but particularly emphasizing the role of the mother.
b) They have underlined the educational role of the mother and have regarded her as the authentic expression of Christian virtues within family and social life, and consider the Virgin Mary to be the unique model of motherhood.
c) The fathers of our Church have depicted the Armenian mother not only as a shining presence of Christian values and virtues in the family, but also as a person called to have a pivotal role in national life.

III
The Armenian Mother in Armenian Life

The mother has always had a central presence in Armenian history. Her dominant role is evident in religious, cultural, political, social, and humanitarian spheres of our life, and even in the liberation movement. Armenian history cannot be fully understood without referring to her mission, and equally the unique role of the mother in the Armenian family cannot be understood without examining Armenian history.

Mothers have brought an active participation to the mission of the Armenian Church and to the life of our nation, and with their modest lifestyle, devoted service, and exemplary dedication, have enriched our collective life, occupying positions of leadership in the decisive moments of our history. Our ancient writers (Agathangelos, Khorenatsi, Yeghishe, and others), as well as the Catholicoi of our church, from St. Gregory the Illuminator to St. Nerses Shnorhali and our spiritual fathers of modern times, have characterized the role of mothers with exquisite text.

Perhaps, Armenian culture has represented the figure of the Armenian mother, as well as her special place and role in our history, in the most vivid way, through letter and color, sound and form. In general, our literature, particularly poetry, has portrayed the mother in the Armenian family and the profound feelings our people have about her.

In fact, from Mateos Mamourian, who asked “Who taught prayer to my delicate mouth to adore God?,” to Taniel Varoujan, who wrote about the sadness and expectation of the mother waiting for the return of her emigrant son; from Alexander Dzadourian, who honored mothers who gave “heroic sons” to the nation and the homeland, to Bedros Tourian, who sang “Oh, forgive me… I have seen the tears of my mother!…”; from Hovhannes Shiraz, who recalled “My mother is the god of our house,” to Moushegh Ishkhan, who raised to the skies the prayer of the elderly Armenian mother, “It is enough, Dear Lord, give us back our home and place”; from Jacques S. Hagopian, who depicted in simple but eloquent words the prayerful life of the Armenian mother (“They burnt their souls like lanterns day and night so the piety of God would descend instead of darkness”), to dozens of other poets, all of whom have walked the footsteps of their mothers. And our mothers have walked along time, and even above time, as the guiding light in the turbulent life of the Armenian people.

Is it possible not to remember and not to pause before those revered mothers who lived “for faith and for homeland” and gave their life “with purpose-driven death” (Yeghishe)? How can we not remember those mothers who became church and school in the deserts of Deir-ez-Zor, who paved walls of faith with the epic of Sartarabad, who armed the mountains of Artsakh with the fire and blood of their vows, and who deserved love, even veneration, from church and nation?

For Armenians, the mother is unique as an authentic expression of faith, dedication, resolve, and love. In the words of the poet:

I wandered through countries, I crossed many roads,
I saw deprivation and pain, I saw love and laughter,
But I did not see, I did not find a heart as brave
and as noble as your soul, my sweet and good mother.

These words written by the Armenian American writer Hamasdegh depicts the genuine feelings of an Armenian towards his mother, and may be applied to mothers of all times, known and unknown.

Finally, how can we not recall the following lines by Baruyr Sevag about the deep faith, infinite love, and vast sacrifice of mothers?

Let us come today to kiss as children
these hands that have given us birth,
have nurtured us,
have kept us,
have never tired of us,
have cleaned, done laundry,
always tolerant, always toiling
these hands
rough and cracked,
but which, for us, are like silk,
these tender hands.

Avedik Isahakian captures the heart of mankind when he says: “The best woman is the mother. The heart of the mother is the heart of humankind, the heart of the universe. It is worth to come to the world just to have a mother.”

IV
The Mother of the Armenian Family Today
Facing New Challenges

Human words, despite their power and beauty, are unable to express the pure feelings, the infinite love, and the deep gratitude the children of our nation have for their mothers, who are the source of their existence. Truly, it is not by accident that our wise ancestors gave the distinction of “mother” to our most sacred realities and values: Mother Church, Mother Armenia, Mother Tongue…

The Armenian mother is the synonym of eternal values, supreme ideals, sublime virtues, and strong principles. The Armenian mother is the pedestal of our existence, the source of our power, the citadel of our identity, and the inspiration of our struggle.

Thus, without the radiant presence of the Armenian mother, our life is parched. Without her educational mission, our life is colorless. Without her committed presence, our life is impoverished.

In the face of the terrible waves of history, we remained Armenian thanks to our mothers.
In the face of current assimilating trends, we remain Armenian thanks to the mothers of Armenian families. We will remain Armenian even in the face of future challenges thanks mainly to them.

Today, as we observe the life of our people, we ask ourselves: Is the Armenian mother up to her mission? How faithful is she to her sacred calling? Questions need to be addressed seriously and realistically by our mothers and families.

We know it is not easy to be a mother and, particularly, to be a mother to an Armenian family. We know it is not easy to be a mother in today’s world.

We need the mother that inspires faith, strengthens will, instills hope, and transmits love. In other words, who forms the Christian and the Armenian person, and sacrifices herself on that path.

Let us never forget that the Armenian mother became a church where there was no church; a school where there was no school; a homeland when there was no homeland.

This is the task and authentic calling for the mothers of Armenian families today and forever.

We highly respect Armenian mothers.

* * *

By declaring this year the “Year of the Mother of the Armenian Family,” we expect:

a) To reflect on the sacred mission of the Armenian mother in our life;
b) To reaffirm our deep love and respect for the Armenian mother;
c) To remind the Armenian mother the importance of maintaining her unique role and true image.

Therefore, in view of these expectations, we suggest that our prelates, clergy, executive councils, and all community organizations reaffirm, recall, and reevaluate the unique place and role of the mother within the life of our church and community through special initiatives.

We pray to Almighty God to grace our mothers with His heavenly graces in order that they may continue their vocation with renewed dedication and faith.

With warm paternal love,
Prayerfully,
ARAM I
Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia

January 1, 2013
Antelias, Lebanon

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

Message of His Holiness Karekin II

Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians

On the Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, January 6, 2013

 

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,

and they shall call His name Immanuel,

which is translated ‘God with us’.”

Matthew 1:23 / Isaiah 7:14

 

Dear and Beloved Faithful,

 

Today, with boundless joy in our souls, we glorify and praise the Holy Nativity and Theophany of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by conveying to one another the greeting: “Christ is Born and Revealed, great tidings to all”.

 

In the fullness of time, the words of the Prophet Isaiah came to fruition, “Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated ‘God with us’”.

 

From the insurmountable heights of heaven, our beneficent Lord humbled Himself and was born as an infant in the cave; he made himself poor in order to enrich us with blessings.  The Apostle Paul says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (II Corinthians 8:9.)  God became man so that man created in the image of God would recognize his Creator and His will, become enriched with faith and the word of God, be enriched with the longing and zeal for a God-pleasing life, and having become worthy of salvation, inherit eternal life.  Truly, nothing can be compared to that wealth – to the grace of having eternal life in God’s kingdom – which was brought to us by the Savior our Lord, Jesus Christ – “the Son of man who is in heaven.” (John 3:13.)

 

The unapproachable Lord of glory and powers has become a child, has come to earth, and each individual may boldly approach and worship Him following the example of the shepherds and the Magi, who recognized Him and brought their gifts to the Savior Child lying in the manger.  Today, dearly beloved faithful, it is we who bow down before the cradle of the infant Jesus, but what gifts have we to offer our newborn Savior?  Our Lord does not want expensive material presents.  The honored gift for the Savior is the Christian himself, who has accepted the prophetic tiding of “God with us” with a clean heart, and who tries to live every day according to divine Will, full of faith in God, love for his fellow man and with spiritual renewal with the Savior.  The man, who is reborn with the graces of the Savior, transforms life, leading it always toward the good, toward the better and the perfect.  Before the shadowless rays of the Lord’s presence and mercy, as Saint Gregory of Narek says, sins melt away, wounds are healed, corruption is cleansed, sadness withdraws, sighs retreat, darkness flees and the all-provident kingdom of the Benevolent God reigns. (Lamentations, Prayer 41.)  Today and until the end of time, in accord with His promise, the incarnate God is with us. (Matthew 28:20.)  He is with us with the grace of His salvation and His miraculous love of mankind.  But are we with God?  Is the world progressing on that path that Christ directed?

 

The life of mankind, as well as our lives, dear pious sons and daughters, is full of different types of challenges, crises and troubles – fundamental social and economic issues, international and inter-religious controversies and conflicts, poverty, the fury for personal gain, the neglect of those in want, the lack of justice and humanity, as well as other deficiencies – which are all the result of paths that lead away from God.  Before the reality of the world, man often assumes that the improvement of life and the wellbeing of society are reachable, especially, through the abundance of material goods.  Whereas if God is not present in the souls of men, the material only divides society and dries up the happiness and joy of life.  The wealthy live in anxiety, the poor in restlessness, and society at large in alienation.  For the sake of material goods, men search for ways to steal, to deny, and to humiliate.  For the sake of material goods, laws are broken, offices are abused, rights are trampled, and lives are ruined; for the sake of material goods, at times, alas, even in the name of God, against God.  All which is done in the name of God is goodness for mankind; is consolation and joy.  For the man who is with God, there are different standards for life, other values and principles for the purpose of being, “Love without hypocrisy, abhor what is evil, cling to what is good; be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” (Romans 12:9-10.)  With God, the position is service, human practices and abilities are the source of goodness, building the nation, and the wellbeing of life.

 

Dear ones, with the mystery of the Holy Nativity, we have the daily grace to ascend the mountain of transfiguration with Christ, to live in the presence of the Lord, in a God-pleasing and soul-building environment, and to keep our course steadfast on the paths of God on moral and true values.  The Holy Bible teaches us that walking with God saves us from temptations, multiplies our blessings and grants triumphs through heavenly power.  Indeed our history testifies that our people, through fidelity to the Savior, have built the victories of their creative life and the ascents of our culture.  It is with our Lord that we have overcome adversities, risen up from destruction and survived genocide.  By the power of our Lord we have sprouted again in the Diaspora and protected our identity; we have reestablished our free statehood through our dispersed unity; we have always kept on high the vision of our promised land; and moreover, the belief that the Lord shall gather us together in our Homeland.  Today, with the tiding of “God is with us”, let us bow down with bright hope and encouragement before the incarnate Savior’s cradle, to be warmed by His love and to accept His graces and blessings, so that we reform and strengthen our life in the Homeland and the Diaspora; so that we realize our national goals, create our people’s prosperous, happy and bright future, and always remain a people faithful to God.

 

With this appeal and wish on our lips, we greet with brotherly love and the glad tiding of the Holy Nativity, the incumbents of the hierarchal sees of our Apostolic Holy Church:  His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople; His Eminence Archbishop Aris Shirvanian, Locum Tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem; the heads of our Sister Churches; and the entire ranks of clergy of our Church, and appeal for the countless graces and strength of our Lord in their Christ-ordained mission.

 

With the best wishes of the Lord’s Holy Birth, we greet His Excellency Serzh Sargsian, President of the Republic of Armenia, present today for the celebration of Divine Liturgy.  We extend out greetings to President Bako Sahakian of the Artsakh Republic and all government officials of the Armenian people, appealing for success to all of their nation-building labors under the heavenly blessings of our Lord.  We greet the leaders and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia, and wish for the friendship and cooperation between our peoples and countries to always be improved through their fruitful efforts and renewing accomplishments.

 

We extend our pontifical love and blessings to our beloved sons and daughters in the Homeland and the Dispersion.  We offer prayers to heaven for the incarnate Savior’s graces of love, peace and solidarity to shine throughout the world every day, and especially over those lands where there are conflicts, among them war-torn Syria and in the lives of our brothers and sisters there who are facing difficulties and pain.  May the souls of men always resound with the Christmas message of “peace on earth and goodwill to men” and be strengthened with the will to walk with God.  May the Lord keep our native land at peace and secure under His Holy Right Hand, our Holy Apostolic Church bright and unshakeable, and bless the Armenian nation throughout the world, now and always. Amen.

 

Christ is Born and Revealed.

Great Tidings to Us All.

Read Full Post »

ПОСЛАНИЕ

ЕГО СВЯТЕЙШЕСТВА ГАРЕГИНА ВТОРОГО,

ВЕРХОВНОГО ПАТРИАРХА И КАТОЛИКОСА ВСЕХ АРМЯН,

ПО СЛУЧАЮ ПРАЗДНИКА СВЯТОГО РОЖДЕСТВА И БОГОЯВЛЕНИЯ ГОСПОДА НАШЕГО ИИСУСА ХРИСТА

(Первопрестольный Святой Эчмиадзин, 6 января 2013 г.)

Во имя Отца и Сына и Святого Духа! Аминь.

 

 Се, Дева во чреве приимет и родит Сына,

и нарекут имя Ему Еммануил, что значит: с нами Бог”

(Мф. 1:23, Ис. 7.14).

 

Возлюбленный благоверный народ!

С безмерной радостью души сегодня прославляем и славословим Святое Рождество и Богоявление Господа нашего и Спасителя Иисуса Христа, передавая друг другу приветствие: “Христос родился и явился, вам и нам – благая весть”.

Во исполнение времени свершилось слово пророка Исаи: “Се, Дева во чреве приимет и родит Сына, и нарекут имя Ему Еммануил, что значит: с нами Бог”.

С недосягаемых небесных высот человеколюбивый Господь склонился и, родившись в яслях как младенец, обнищал, дабы обогатить нас духовными благами. Апостол Павел говорит: “Ибо вы знаете благодать Господа нашего Иисуса Христа, что Он, будучи богат, обнищал ради вас, дабы вы обогатились Его нищетою” (1 Корф. 8:9). Бог вочеловечился, дабы человек, сотворенный по образу Божию, познал своего Творца, Его волю, обогатился верою, словом Божьим, обогатился жаждою и устремлением к богоугодной жизни и, удостоившись спасения, наследовал вечную жизнь. Воистину, ничто не может сравниться с этим богатством – благодатью обладания вечной жизнью в Царствии Божием, которую принес нам Спаситель наш Господь Иисус Христос, “Сын Человеческий, сущий на небесах” (Ин. 3:13).

Непостижимый Господь славы и могущества стал младенцем, пришел в мир, и каждый может смело подойти и поклониться Ему по примеру пастухов и волхвов, которые познали Его и преподнесли свои дары младенцу Спасителю, положенному в яслях в пещере. Сегодня, возлюбленный верующий народ, мы склоняемся перед яслями младенца Иисуса, однако какие дары мы имеем преподнести нашему новорожденному Спасителю? Не материальных богатых даров ожидает Господь. Драгоценным даром для Спасителя является сам христианин, кто с чистым сердцем принял пророческое благовестие “С нами Бог” и стремится каждый день своей жизни прожить в соответствии с волею Божьей, исполненный веры в Бога, любовью к другим, в духовном обновлении со Спасителем. Человек, возродившийся милостями Спасителя, преобразует жизнь, ведя ее всегда к добру, к лучшему, к совершенному. Пред чистыми лучами присутствия Господа и Его милости, как говоритСвятой Григор Нарекаци, тают грехи, заживают раны, исчезают скверны, отступают печали и стенания, рассеивается мрак, и воцаряется всеопекающее царствие Благодетельного Бога (“Книга скорбных песнопений”, гл. 41). Сегодня и до скончания времен, согласно Его обещанию, вочеловечившийся Бог – с нами (Мф. 28:20). Он с нами Своей благодатью спасения, Своим чудодейственным человеколюбием. Но с Богом ли мы и шествует ли мир по тому пути, указанному Христом?

Жизнь человечества, в том числе и наша, возлюбленный благоверный народ, полна разнообразных вызовов, тревог и забот: фундаментальные социальные, экономические проблемы, межнациональные и межрелигиозные сложности и противостояния, нужда, исступленность собственною выгодой, пренебрежение лишенными, недостаток справедливости, человеколюбия и другие пороки, которые являются следствием отдаления от Бога. В реалиях мира человек зачастую полагает, что благоустройство жизни, благоденствие общества достижимо особенно при изобилии материального. Однако, если в душах людей нет Бога, материальное лишь разделяет их, иссушает радость и счастье жизни. Имущий живет в беспокойстве, неимущий – в досаде, общество, в целом, – в отчуждении. Ради материального люди ищут пути, как обокрасть, лишить, унизить. Ради материального люди нарушают законы, злоупотребляют должностью, попирают права, губят друг друга. Ради материального, увы,порою даже именем Бога – против Бога. То, что порождено во имя Бога, есть благо для людей, утешение и радость. С Богом для человека действуют иные критерии жизни, иные принципы и ценности смысла существования: “Любовь да будет непритворна; отвращайтесь зла, прилепляйтесь к добру; будьте братолюбивы друг к другу с нежностью; в почтительности друг друга предупреждайте” (Рим. 12:9-10). С Богом должность – это служение, человеческие способности и возможности – источник блага, процветания страны, благоденствия жизни.

С таинством Святого Рождества, дорогие, нам навсегда дана благодать взойти с Христом на гору преображения, жить в богоугодной духовной среде в присутствии Господа и хранить незыблемо ход нашей жизни на стезях Божиих, на истинных, нравственных ценностях. Святое Писание наставляет нас, что шествование с Богом спасает от испытаний, умножает блага и дарует победы силой небесной. Сама наша история свидетельствует, что упованием на Спасителя народ наш творил победы своей творческой жизни и подъем культуры. С нашим Господом мы противостояли испытаниям, воспряли из руин, пережили геноцид. Силой нашего Господа мы возродились в Диаспоре и сохранили нашу идентичность, сплоченностью рассеянной по всему свету нации мы восстановили нашу свободную государственность, сохранили всегда ярким видение нашей обетованной земли, а также веру в то, что Господь объединит нас в нашем Отечестве. “С нами Бог!” – обнадеженные и ободренные этим благовестием, преклонимся сегодня пред яслями воплотившегося Спасителя, дабы согреться Его любовью, принять Его милости и благословения, чтобы в Отечестве и Диаспоре преобразовать  и упрочить нашу жизнь, осуществить наши национальные чаяния, созидать благоденное и счастливое, светлое грядущее нашего народа и навеки остаться верным Богу народом.

С этой мольбой и пожеланием на устах, с благовестием Святого Рождества и братской любовью приветствуем глав иерархических престолов нашей Апостольской Святой Церкви: Католикоса Великого Дома Киликийского Его Святейшество Арама Первого, Блаженнейшего Патриарха Константинопольского Архиепископа Месропа Мутафяна, Местоблюстителя Иерусалимского Патриаршего Престола Архиепископа Ариса Ширваняна, духовных предстоятелей сестринских Церквей и все духовенство нашей Церкви и испрашиваем обильной милости и поддержки Господней в заповеданной Христом миссии.

С добрыми пожеланиями праздника Святого Рождества приветствуем присутствующего на Божественной литургии Президента Республики Армения господина Сержа Саргсяна, шлем Наше приветствие Президенту Нагорно-Карабахской Республики господину Бако Саакяну и всем государственным мужам, испрашивая успехов в деяниях во благо нации и Отечества при ниспосланном с небес благословении Господнем. Приветствуем глав и представителей дипломатических миссий, аккредитованных в Армении, желая, чтобы плодотворными стараниями и постоянными достижениями присно благоукрашались дружба и сотрудничество наших стран и народов.

Приносим Наше Патриаршее благословение и любовь возлюбленному нашему народу на Родине и во всем мире. Возносим молитву, чтобы милости любви, мира и солидарности вочеловечившегося Спасителя неизменно источались на мир, особенно, на страны, переживающие конфликты, в частности, на Сирию, находящуюся в состоянии войны, где и наши братья и сестры преодолевают трудности и лишения. Пусть в душах людей всегда находит отклик назидание Святого Рождества “мир на земле и благоволение в человеках” и крепнет воля к шествию с Богом. Пусть Господь под сенью Святой Длани Своей хранит в мире и безопасности наше Отечество, процветающей и незыблемой – Апостольскую нашу Святую Церковь и благословит наш армянский народ по всему миру ныне и присно и вовек. Аминь.

 

Христос родился и нам явился!

Вам и нам – благая весть!

 

Read Full Post »

IN HIS SHOES ministries

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: