Garegin II addresses Easter message
YEREVAN, APRIL 21, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Church leader Catholicos Garegin II has addressed a message to the faithful on Easter. According to a news release by the Mother See of Holy Etchmiatsin, Garegin II said:
''In the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.
“God has risen, and all of his enemies have been scattered.”
(Book of Hours)
Dearly beloved faithful,
The joy of the Feast of the Holy Resurrection has filled our souls, and the victorious exuberance of the Resurrection is to be found everywhere: in our surroundings, our churches, our families, the entire Christian world, as well as in the budding nature. Christ has triumphantly arisen from the sealed cave, and the angel announces the Good News of His Resurrection from the empty tomb. The chains of sin and death have been shattered by the victory of the Saviour, the doors to the Heavenly Kingdom have been opened, and divine grace is offered to humanity — the priceless gift of inheriting eternal life. “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11.25-26).
The path of eternal life and resurrection in Christ begins in this world. It begins with a change in the life of the person, the rejection of sin and evil, and with a movement toward a way of holiness and perfection. Indeed, wherever human souls are exposed to the light of Christ’s resurrection, there also the darkness of God-rejecting evil thoughts, corrupting ideologies, divisions and polarizations, intolerance, enmity and dissensions retreat and are scattered. In their stead, cooperation and agreement, faithfulness, holiness, love and happiness are established. “God has risen, and all of his enemies have been scattered,” proclaims the prayer.
Those paths, which reject renewal in Christ, making life captive to sin and subject to corrosion and destruction, are antithetical to peace in the world, the public welfare, the harmonious coexistence of humanity, the strengthening of families, and all that is good.
The Good News of the resurrection of Christ is an invitation to all — to live in the graces bestowed upon us by the Saviour as a new person, as the Apostle exhorts and says, “put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4.22-24). To believe in the resurrection of Christ and our resurrection through Christ as well as transformation of our life, means not only to overcome sin, addictions and spiritual error, but also to be filled with love toward all and to reject everything that tramples justice, dignity and all that is human. It also means striving to spread care and general goodwill as did Christ, “who came and saved all creatures” (Sharakan - Hymnal). Greed, theft, violence, hatred, enmity and other manifestations of blindness to God’s commandments have no place in the life of the Christian who has received the grace of the Resurrection. Such deeds reject the grace of freedom in Christ from sin and death, they destroy good and undermine the well-being of the human person, the family unit, and national life. Freedom is given in order to choose good and not as a pretense for evil and unruliness (cf. 1 Peter 2.16). Truly, being an heir of the grace of the Resurrection is made apparent in one’s lifestyle and deeds, not only personal and familial, but in the help rendered and efforts brought in the life of the public, nation and humanity. Faith is made radiant and fruit-bearing, hope increases, love of others is affirmed as we move forward together.
The passions and resurrection of Christ for our sake and for all humanity, are the expression of divine, boundless love. “And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor 5.15). Love, dearly beloved, does not focus on the self, it does not look for its own benefit (1 Cor 13.5), but rather it is expressed in dedication toward one another and is the foundation of flourishing, ascension and resurrection. It is this great message that Our Lord and Saviour passes on to humanity through His own example. The resurrection of the Lord manifests the mystery of solidarity, community and accord to the world. Christ brought his service to all, and in a similar manner we too must live with each other in a spirit of service, dedication and commitment. It is with this understanding, that we will be able to overcome the difficulties that afflict our state and pan-national life, to solve the problems befallen to us, to strengthen families, to defend steadfastly and build up both our homeland and our diasporan national life. Our people–which accepted Christ as its Saviour and have risen from the ashes of history in faithfulness and the love of the Lord – will today with that same faith and strength continue to fortify its victories and accomplishments. Now, dearly beloved, let us always keep the light and power of Christ’s resurrection in our lives and in our land, sanctified by the descent of Christ, and continually be renewed by the grace bestowed upon us by our Saviour. Doing so, we will be able to join together toward a revival of a strong homeland and toward new horizons in our life, testifying, that we are a people resurrected in Christ; we are the people of Christ, God’s own people.
In the exuberant Good News of the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, We convey our greetings to the incumbents of the hierarchical sees of our Apostolic Holy Church: His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Abp. Nourhan Manougian, the Vicar General of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, His Eminence Abp. Aram Ateshian, to the spiritual leaders of our sister Churches in supplication for the fruitfulness of their service. With patriarchal blessing we greet and bring our well-wishes to the President of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Armen Sarkissian and to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Nikol Pashinyan. We extend our greetings to the President of the Republic of Artsakh, Mr. Bako Sahakyan, and to the state officials of Armenia. On this graceful occasion of the Resurrection we convey our best wishes to the representatives of the diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia. We express Our love and blessings to the clergy of our Holy Church and to all our faithful people.
On this grace-filled day of the Holy Resurrection we pray, that the grace of our Saviour’s Resurrection work miracles in the world; that people be renewed by the good intensions and fulfillment of life, peace and unity and that they may be one family under divine blessing. We ask again that in this year, dedicated to the family, our family ties may become strong and radiant with the light of Christ’s resurrection, full of love, solidarity and happiness. May the Lord protect our people in his boundless love, and keep the light and joy of the resurrection aflame in our hearts, in our country and in the entire world.
May the grace, love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ remain with us and with all. Amen
Christ is risen from the dead,
Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ.''