Easter Message of HH Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Information Services
Address: Vagharshapat, Republic of Armenia
Contact: Rev. Fr. Ktrij Devejian
Tel: (374 1) 517 163
Fax: (374 1) 517 301
E-Mail: [email protected]

April 11, 2004

The Message of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of
All Armenians
on the Occasion of the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, 11 April 2004

“Take heart, it is I; Have no fear” (Mark 6:50)

Dearly Beloved People,

Christ thus addressed His disciples, who in a boat on the open sea were
distressed and frightened by the strong winds and rough waters. And they
saw Jesus, Who was walking upon the waves, and He approached and entered the
boat. ‘It is I’, He said, ‘take heart and have no fear’. At that moment,
the winds ceased. The deadly elements turned to peace, and life shone in
their troubled souls.

On the boat, in the person of the Lord, Life itself was present amongst
them, though His disciples yet did not recognize it. They would still walk
much with their teacher, they would see countless healings and would listen
to Him, hearing as well that He would eventually be tortured and betrayed to
death. Afraid and hopeless, they were to see the tomb where their crucified
Teacher was placed. They would yet see Him, Resurrected, standing amongst
them and to hear the Divine message once again: “It is I; Have no fear”. At
that time their minds would be opened, and they would recognize that He was
the Savior of the World, and they would believe that death had been forever
destroyed, and that we have Resurrection and Life. We have the hope of
renewal, of becoming and possessing the same image as the Resurrected, of
being called the children of God and becoming the co-inheritors of the
Kingdom of Heaven.

On this sacred morning of Easter, the mystery of the Resurrection within our
renewed hope and faith, calls to us again, “Take heart, it is I.” Today,
that message of the Lord, like the life-giving and joyous heavenly dew,
descends upon our human souls, when we are troubled by the disturbing events
in the world, when often we are found to be weak before the imperatives of
the present day, feeble by our fears, anxious and uncertain by questions
which concern us. The world has changed much since the days of Christ, and
changed are the possibilities of man. Mankind has completed and continues to
make complete the numerous inadequacies of life, yet the most important
thing continues to be lacking – the response of the human soul to the divine
call to peace and good will amongst men. In the present era of science and
technology, mankind has split the atom, is conquering the universe, and has
the power to make the desert arable. Nevertheless, humanity has not
succeeded in silencing the sounds of war, nor has it eliminated need and
poverty. Every day, thousands of newspapers, periodicals, books, and radio
and television programming speak and witness ‘that man is the crowning glory
of creation’. However, universal and timeless moral values, especially the
love of mankind, still feel the need to be defended. Indeed, what can we
hope for, if moral standards, holiness and philanthropy are absent from the
hearts of men? If men do not have the fear of God? God Himself has given
us the unsurpassed example of the true love of man, by sending His Only
Begotten Son to the world to save us. With Him, we came to know love;
because for us, He took up the Cross, so that we might be raised from the
dead. From our God-loving souls, the love of mankind will pour forth, as
the greatest achievement of all times and of every society.

Once again, we see today Heaven opened by grace, and the face of God who
loves mankind gazing towards us. Today our Risen Lord comes to shoulder our
burdens, to comfort our sorrows, to dispel our doubts, to rescue us from
deadly shipwrecks, and to open the peaceful skies overhead. He has
appointed us as His coworkers in the service of men. Thus, every task which
we embark upon, let us do it in a manner as if we were doing it for God
(Col. 3:23); and Christ with His blessing, will complete the rest – that
which exceeds our human capabilities.

Dearly beloved Armenian people, with His blessed presence and with His
saving power, the Lord has been at our side, wherever the ship of our life
has been driven during the journeying courses of difficult, as well as
trouble-free periods of our history. God has been at our side and has not
abandoned us in deadly fateful times, when having lost our hope in men, we
have been left alone. The light of the Resurrection soars above all of our
Avarayrs and Sardarapats; the paths of Golgotha for the Armenians, which
dispersed us throughout the world, are crowned with the radiance of the
Resurrection. Today, our statehood is also reborn, and at every stage of
life, the Lord awaits us, to spread His light and His peace over us, to
bless our efforts and labor and to make them fruitful. However, we should
not mix the good with the bad, nor confuse truth with falsehood. The truth
is Armenia independent and Artsakh free, and our patriotism, our solidarity
and unanimity. Let it not be that we remain indebted before these cherished
truths, let it not be that we remain beholden to our history, to our
martyred sons resting at Yerablur, and before our generations. Let us keep
our pan-national unity spotless, for through it, the light of our lives and
our God-seeing faith remains radiant. Indeed, there is no greater
expression of faith than unity, and there is no greater encouragement than
the belief that God with his saving power, is with us.

In our changed and changing reality of today, we have much to do. We still
have journeys to complete, which we will traverse together, with the sacred
oath of unity we have inherited from our forebears, so that the homeland of
Armenia and Artsakh, will develop and be strengthened, and so that Armenian
life blossoms and flourishes in all Armenian communities. Wherever we live,
we will live through the Homeland and Holy Etchmiadzin, with our national
values and patriotic inheritance, so that our children will keep away from
useless and false ideas, and from alien values, which are penetrating our
lives and being imposed upon us from within and without. Clergyman, parent,
official, intellectual, and teacher – all of us shall contribute heart and
soul, so that the Armenian spirit is renewed with faith and will shine with
the sanctities of our forefathers, and in the Homeland and in the Dispersion
we will always see in the eyes of our children, the gaze of the father of
our faith and our Illuminator – St. Gregory, and see the faces of our great
teachers graced by God – Saints Sahak and Mashtots, and see the fearless and
joyful spirit of Saint Vartan and Vartanank.

Dear Armenians dispersed throughout the world, you who can look to Ararat
from near or far, can see under the gaze of the mount that hosts the Ark,
the outstretched ark of Armenian salvation: Armenia and Artsakh. You, who
see the radiating and inexhaustible light of the lantern of the Illuminator
above the heights of Aragats, have faith, that the God of our fathers will
continue His work upon our land through our faith. He will continue His
work throughout our national life, upon which today the hope of Resurrection
is taking flight.

With the great tidings of the wondrous Holy Resurrection of Christ, and from
the Only-Begotten established Mother See of All Armenians, we greet the
incumbents of the hierarchical sees of our Apostolic Holy Church, His
Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; His Beatitude
Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem; His Beatitude
Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople; as well as
heads of our sister Christian Churches. We bring our blessings to the
entire rank of our oath-keeping clergy, and members of our diocesan and
parochial administrative boards.

We greet and bless the state leaders of the Armenians, headed by President
of the Republic of Armenia Robert Kocharian, President of the Republic of
Nagorno Karabagh Arkady Ghukasian, and representatives of the diplomatic
missions registered in Armenia, and all of our people in Armenia, Artsakh
and the Diaspora.

On this good morning of light, hope and encouragement, let us pray and ask
together in one voice: With your peace, O Christ our Savior, keep safe and
unspoiled the entire world, and spread your blessings on all nations. Keep
and protect under Your grace the Armenian people, and illuminate the new
paths and new hopes of our homeland. Grace us O Lord, with the spirit of
wisdom and reconciliation, and as well, in accord with your words “Take
heart, it is I”, grant us a fortified heart by Your resurrected presence, so
that we may live the life entrusted to us, and become worthy of eternal
life, and with our holy forefathers, to forever praise You the Only-Begotten
Son, with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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