Eastern Prelacy: Easter Message from Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan

Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
138 East 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-689-7810
Fax: 212-689-7168
e-mail: [email protected]
Contact: Iris Papazian

April 5, 2004


This Jesus God raised up, and of that
we all are witnesses. (Acts 2:32)

The miraculous resurrection of Jesus transformed the disciples weakness and
uncertainty into strength and absolute confidence. Christ’s unprecedented
resurrection, unexplainable to the human mind, is comprehended only through
faith. The resurrection became a supernatural and miraculous power for the
modest fishermen, and gave the fearful disciples unshakeable confidence
which led them to bear witness to Christ’s resurrection and apostleship,
gave them the strength to withstand innumerable and unbearable tortures, and
to ignore death in the face of death, just like their teacher.

“We all are witnesses.”

WITNESS TO NEW LIFE: Not a second life, but a new life. A new life that is
felt in a believer’s soul, and who, renewed with Christ, becomes a new
person. “You have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on
the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its
creator.” (Col. 3:9-10). The days of the old life remain the same as the sum
of days, but they become new in content and purpose. In the end, in lieu of
the destruction of death, we gain resurrected everlasting life. Exactly
because of this, the Apostle Paul has said: “For me living is Christ, and
dying is gain.” (Philippians 1:21). The giver of new life is Christ. New
life is possible through Him and with Him.

WITNESS TO TRUTH: We know very well that there is one absolute truth in
everything. Circumstantial correctness is born from cohesive events and does
not last. We confess to that supreme truth and bear witness to it, to that
faith that Christ gave us by becoming the Son of Man, by His Incarnation,
and by His redemptive mission. Christ’s preaching and message were not
ethereal mind games, but real security and truth, which were tested on the
touch-stone by His resurrection. It was the resurrection that prodded His
disciples to bear testimony to His word and life, and His truth.

WITNESS TO THE HAPPINESS OF RESURRECTION: As creatures of the earth, our
desire is to fill our days with happiness. In our relationships with people
at home or work, or during our restful periods, it is our wish that the
entire time passes joyfully bringing us happiness. But, that blissful state
remains a dream because in family relationships-between husband and wife,
parent and child, sister and brother-there are misunderstandings and
dissensions, temptations and transgressions that bring about quarrels
resulting in uneasy and intolerable situations. In a word, the dissipation
of happiness. In the factory or the office there are many different
circumstances that create unease-competition, jealousy, and greed. We lose
our patience, become anxious as we see the distancing of happiness in our
hearts. Our own rest is disturbed because of our or a friend’s illness,
accident, or sudden and untimely death. All of this saddens us. In our
hopelessness we think that all is ended. But when our days on earth are
blessed with Christian faith and hope, and our life’s journey is towards
Christ and not the world and worldliness, then and only then can we struggle
against sorrow and pain and accept unfading happiness that the resurrection
of Christ gave us. The joy of the resurrection joins us to Christ, and no
external factor can obscure that happiness. It is true that it is very
difficult to attain that happiness. Think of the apostles and the saints,
the martyrs and the witnesses, who did not want to give up their eternal
happiness for worldly and fleeting happiness. They were spiritually
strengthened. They withstood physically and inherited the life that they
received by their witness to their faith. In place of the honor given by hum
ans, they accepted the crown of glory given by Christ.

During this season of Christ’s resurrection, as faithful believers, we view
the apostles, who became witnesses to His resurrection, with special
awareness. With the resurrection they accepted and lived a new life. They
were witnesses to that new life, accepted and preached the truth and served
as witnesses to the truth. And in spite of suffering and death, they turned
witnesses to the happiness that is promised to all faithful Christians.

As children of the Armenian Church and nation, we saw through experience
that our nation’s strength and survival is our faith. The model lives of
Christ and His apostles became an example for our centuries of struggle,
which by irrefutable truth and moral principles became the anchor and
fortress of our everlasting life. From sorrow to happiness. From death to

Christ is risen. Blessed is the resurrection of Christ.

Armenian Apostolic Church of America
Eastern United States of America

April, 2004