Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Information Services Jan 5, 2010 2:17 AM
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, 2010
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
Dearly beloved faithful,
Our souls rejoice today with the tidings of the Holy Nativity and are filled with songs of praise, to accept the babe, born in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger. It is the Son of God who became incarnate. It is the promised Savior who has come to the world. He came to save us from sin, to liberate us from the reign of evil, to defeat death itself.
Our joy is endless, for the Savior our Lord has granted us a renewed soul, a reborn life, to walk toward God, toward the Creator of all life, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Today the sacred mystery of God’s love and mercy hovers over the world, above the temporary vanities and above time. Everything is humbled before this limitless love, according to the prophetic words from Isaiah, the valleys are lifted up, mountains and hills are made low, the uneven ground made level, the rough places become fields and the grace of salvation reigns – the grace that entered the world with the Newborn Jesus.
That same true love with which Christ entered the world, gathered his people together so that they become children of God, sons and daughters of the kingdom. His family – the Holy Church – Christ established on the commandment of love, on that miraculous power whereby men are not strangers to one another, rather they are kin. "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35. He who has love within him is a follower of God; he performs the saving will of God.
It is love for God and for each other that will bring peace and harmony to this world troubled by countless crises. It is love that will eliminate the trampling of the rights of men and nations, the destruction of their holy shrines and spiritual treasures. It is this kind of love whereby poverty, disease, casualties and strife from natural disasters will be defeated. It is with the light of this love that the world shall be renewed, the earth shall become heaven, and God be glorified by the life of mankind.
Dearly pious faithful,
Today, Jesus Christ comes to live in our hearts and in our families with His divine love, so that the graces of salvation be dispersed from familial homes, be transformed to life and grant manifold fruits of goodness. Faith, hope and love are nurtured and strengthened in the family, through which, in the free, warm and familiar environment of the family, the individual grows and develops toward the good and the perfect. God formed and blessed the family, so that it remain established, grow and multiply in love and reflect the glory of God, the presence of God and God’s care for His creation and all mankind. The family is called upon to continue God’s creation and protect the divine image of the soul of man. The family is holy due to this very calling, it is the nourisher, the bearer and conveyor of the divinely-established commandments, on which are founded the God-granted life and on which are built the relationships with neighbors, with man and with God. The values that are cultivated in families are those that are expressed and find their place within life. That which is given importance in the family, that which is either directly or indirectly learned… honesty or falsehood, jealousy or good will, hatred or compassion, malice and ignorance or sympathy and philanthropy, all of this will be expressed also in the life of society. "The people, if (they are) progressing, take their first steps from the familial home…" writes the Pontiff of the Armenians Khrimian Hayrik… "If they are illuminated, their light is from the familial lantern; if they are united, their spirit and connection is the family; if they grow strong, their power and might is the family; if they are enriched, their treasury and treasurer are the family; if their home and table are filled with goodness and plentiful, the fertile field is the family."
In today’s contemporary world of progress, developments and achievements, unfortunately the problems facing families also continue to increase. Not only do financial difficulties remain a concern, but also domestic violence and arguments; the sacredness of the family, and the preservation of its tranquility and harmony. Today we see penetrating into life, and at times even affirmed by legislation, a distorted concept of the family. The divinely established order of a holy union between a man and a woman, and the honor of being blessed by the birth of a child through the love granted by God are being corrupted. We cannot accept or remain indifferent toward realities that deny God, regardless of how they are cloaked in modernity or exhibited under the banners of democratic values and human rights. Today it is essential for the family, as well as mankind, to be valued and appreciated by its God-granted calling and image, to be and remain the true witness of the love that God has for man.
Dear faithful Armenians in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora,
We too are members of God’s family, the children of the Armenian people bearing the seal of Etchmiadzin. Throughout the centuries, in the face of our history’s deadly storms and abysses, we have remained steadfast with the faith of the Armenian family. The Armenian family is our small home turned into a church, through whose prayers are strengthened the mortar of our spiritual and national life, and its foundation, our state. The Armenian family is the first school and the first nourisher of spiritually-molded values. The Armenian family is a miniature homeland, where the memories of ancestors live and the native heritage is preserved intact, where the Armenian soul is joyful and endures. Let us keep our families strong with faith, bountiful in hope and reinforced with love, so that the united life of our great spiritual family – the Armenian Church - be renewed and bright with the grace of our Lord’s salvation; so that abundant in blessings, the aspirations and desires of our great home – the Armenian homeland – become reality. The homeland is the anchor of our hopes; the guarantor of our free, secure, prosperous life and future; the God-granted shelter which gathers together the entire nation. In the home, love is spontaneous, harmony is the rule, the desire to help one another reigns; and it is natural to be saddened by each other’s sadness and be delighted by each other’s happiness. This is the blessed path, dear ones, by which we shall create our prosperous life in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora, to face both internal and external challenges, to defend the right of self-determination for Artsakh, to defend our just Cause resulting from genocide, to together build relationships with all countries and all peoples through positive means, and to bring our contribution to the building of a better world. This is the blessed path, by which we shall become worthy to reach our heavenly home, to be near our Father, by the grace of the Only Begotten Son and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us remain in faith, hope and love, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
On this soul-renewing feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of our Lord and Savior we extend our brotherly greetings of Christ-bequeathed love and appeal for the manifold graces of the Holy Spirit for the leaders and heads of our Sister Churches; 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 Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem; and His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople. We convey our pontifical love and blessings to the oath-bound ranks of clergy of our Church and to all our sons and daughters dispersed throughout the world.
With the tidings of the Holy Nativity and an appeal for the assistance of the Almighty, we greet President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsian, President of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh Bako Sahakian, all state officials of the Armenians, and leaders and representatives of all diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia.
On this day of glad tidings and bounteous grace, dear faithful sons and daughters, let us pray for the inextinguishable heavenly lighthouse of the star of Bethlehem to illuminate our path and overcome the darkness. May our Lord Jesus Christ at all times guide and bless the entire world, our lives and all our efforts, for the sake of our country, our people dispersed throughout the world and our Holy Apostolic Church.
CHRIST IS BORN AND REVEALED
GREAT TIDINGS TO US ALL