Primate’s Easter Message

TEL: (818) 558-7474
Fax: (818) 558-6333
E-mail: [email protected]


“To me, living is Christ and dying is gain”.(Philippians 1:21)

Inspired and enriched by the mystery of the Holy Resurrection of Christ
the words of St. Paul are as powerful as a prayer. The same words not
only come as powerful prayer echoing in our hearts, but as a way of
life, because we realize the truth that “Christ loved us and gave
himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph. 5:2)

The mystery of the Holy Resurrection of Christ becomes the essence of
our spiritual life only when the old person in us is reborn and we
fearlessly inaugurate the new man, ” to put away your former way of
life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed
in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self,
created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and
holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-25)

The entire spiritual journey of Lent leas us to the glorious mystery of
the Resurrection of Christ, which ushered in for mankind a new life and
the Christian believer discovered within himself the divine power that
enables one to constantly renew his life to the extent that he feels in
his soul the miracle of the new life.

Dear faithful, with a joyous heart we send you our Easter Message and
call upon all of you to rededicate you lives to Christ, to enter the
depths of the mystery of the Holy Resurrection through the most noble
life of prayer, and to discover in your souls the divine grace which
makes it possible for us to renew our God-given lives. Undoubtedly each
one of us needs the power of regeneration. Life may often be influenced
by the manifold temptations of the world, but when a life is established
on the cornerstone of the life-giving Resurrection of Christ it can
repel the perils that it encounters every day.

The glorious Resurrection of Christ opens before us the dawn of a new
life. The Giver of life opens before us a new way in Christ, the Son of
God, so that through the sacrifice of His life becomes the spiritual
light of a new life for the entire human race.
Christ is risen from the dead! Blessed is the resurrection of Christ!
The foundation of our Christian faith is the Holy Resurrection of
Christ. Without the Resurrection of Christ Christianity would become for
us a set of moral principles for life and a guiding doctrine. But
Christianity is life itself, the source of salvation, because it is
anchored in the personal sacrifice of Christ. Christianity is the
movement from the mind to the heart that is dawned first in our own
thoughts and then becomes the moving energy of our entire being. It is
not possible to explain in words alone our faith in the Holy
Resurrection. The Resurrection of Christ is ever spreading force that is
kneaded in our essence and separates us from the foreign thoughts that
have no root in God. In the words of St. Nersess the Graceful we subject
our souls entirely to God and we take refuge in His power. “To you I
surrender my soul. You provide and satisfy the needs of my soul and

Dear faithful, the resurrection of Christ casts the roots of new life
also in our Holy Church when we awaken in us the vision of a new Church,
a revitalized Church. The Armenian Apostolic Church has reached such a
critical moment when the mission of our Holy Church must echo the new
circumstances of life. And to revitalize the Church means to lead the
very same Church to a spiritual rebirth in the mystery of the
Resurrection. To revitalize does not mean to reject the traditions that
have reached us through the centuries, but to connect the people to
those traditions, and to reunite as one reality the Church and the
people who are drawing apart from one another. For when the Church does
not reflect our life today she remains merely a concept, a lifeless
doctrine. We are living in times when Christianity remains disconnected
to man, when one turns to other sources to satisfy one’s spiritual
thirst, sources that provide only temporary satisfaction to one’s
spiritual needs. Today this is the reality in Armenia and in the
Diaspora. The reality is no different for the faithful of the Western
Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. In order to satisfy
their spiritual thirst children of our Church leave the Mother Church
and lead their lives on the paths of uncertainty. The situation dictates
that we stay in our home and rejuvenate, renew and enrich the traditions
of the Armenian Church that have reached us through the centuries. The
Church is not a reality detached from us, and it is necessary to make
the active life the very aim and purpose of the Church through visible
actions. Anything else would suggest weakness, which we reject.

The glorious Holy Resurrection of Christ today is an invitation to all
the children of the Armenian Apostolic Church without exception to
return home. The mystery of the glorious Resurrection of Christ becomes
real when through Holy Etchmiadzin a new unity is established in our
community, a unity whose strength will enable us to see more brightly
the eternal truths.

Christ is risen from the dead! Blessed is the resurrection of Christ!

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate
Easter 2004