ETCHMIADZIN ( — Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II on Wednesday presided over, at the Cathedral of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, a Divine Liturgy commemorating the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Jesus Christ (Christmas).

The event brought together hundreds of faithful, President of Armenia Serzh Sargkisian, National Assembly Speaker Galust Sahakian, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian, government members, and representatives of diplomatic missions.

“In our national life as well it is an imperative to uphold the command of peace,” the Catholicos specifically said in his sermon. “For years our country has found itself blockaded between Turkey and Azerbaijan. The latter is committing provocations at our borders in order to trample the rights of the people of Artsakh [i.e. Nagorno-Karabakh] to live freely. We believe that through initiation of peace and through strengthening of our faith in Christ, our people will turn their peaceful spirit into a stronghold against the aggression of the enemy, an indestructible shield against the encroachment of the borders of our homeland by heroically protecting our country and sacred values, and by a solid and united spirit, investing its efforts to overcome difficulties, to build our country, and our lives and communities around the world.

“Beloved, Christ is our might! Let us follow the messages of our Lord without doubt. According to the inspiring words of our Savior, let our hearts not be troubled or afraid. Let us not only take refuge in our weak human strength, but let us take refuge unto the blessing of God which can make the impossible possible for us. Let our guide be the spirit of service, love and devotion and our deeds born of the same spirit are a necessity to fulfill our visions of national awakening and the luminous future.”

The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Jesus Christ (Christmas) on January 6.

Jesus had blessed the water by his baptism. Hence the server of the Christmas Divine Liturgy, on the morning of January 6, pours the chrism in water and blesses it. At the end of the mass, the faithful take some of this water to their homes as a remedy for the ill, since the water blessed on that day is considered to be graceful and to have special qualities.

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