Message of His Holiness Karekin II on Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Jesus Christ

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:14)

Dear Pious Faithful,

The Good News of Christmas has led us to our churches, so that with joy and spiritual awe we bow in front of the manger of baby Jesus, the Savior of the world.

Christ was born in the manger in Bethlehem, and through coming of the Savior to the world, the journey of return, reconciliation with God and of salvation, was initiated for those who fell away from Him because of sin. With the mystery of the incarnation of His Son, God turned mankind into heirs of the heavenly kingdom and through Him showed the path of being worthy of such glory in accord with the song of praises of the angels: “and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The incarnate Son of God with His saving mission changed the course of history by calling upon mankind to establish their life on the principle of love and peace. Christ is granting humanity the greatest gift of the world, His peace. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John14:27), says the Lord.

The most significant contemporary challenge responding to Christ’s call and invitation to a life of peace is the disruption of peace in the life of individuals, communities and governments. Humanity entered the 21st century with great unrest. Conflicts, clash of geopolitical interests, crises and humanitarian disasters continue to disrupt the world, sowing intolerance and mistrust and spreading devastation, poverty, and suffering. Across societies moral values are distorted. Lies, addiction, murder and vice are commonplace, and the foundations of social and family life are being shaken. The terrorist organizations who preach extremist ideologies in the name of faith spread death and destruction especially in the Middle East, where along with other nations the children of our nation also suffer.

Through these destructive and deadly situations humanity is trying to find a way out, and in the state of uncertainty we hear in our souls the hopeful words of our Savior born in Bethlehem: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” The peace given to us by Christ is not the peace of this world which is uncertain and unstable. Christ’s peace is the peace of souls, which, anchored in the faith in God and in God’s word and commandments, transforms life. It dwells in a righteous heart, in truth, in justice, and it strengthens in the hearts of those who live with the of hope of eternity. Accordingly, the Apostle writes, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7).Truly, life is steady with the peace of a spirit filled with the love of God. Nothing is stable when the feeling of the presence of the Lord is diminished in mankind, and when everything from personal relationships to relations between nations is solely built on personal gains or coercion. Finding the peace of Christ means having love and happiness in families, and having solidarity and prosperity in civil society and countries. The Incarnate Son of God has given strength throughout the centuries to all nations in order to realize the joyous message of reconciliation with God and good will toward men. He gives us the strength to accept the heavenly saving grace which lives within us when we are joined to establishing peace, justice and to provide support and comfort. “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:18).

Dear pious children, in our national life as well it is an imperative to uphold the command of peace. 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 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.

On this holy day of the birth of our Savior, let us send prayers together to heaven from our spirits, filled with joy, so that Christ our Lord may empower the souls of people with heavenly grace, faith, hope and love, in order to build a safe, peaceful and prosperous world. May the Lord also keep our nation and people in peace, bless our lives in this world and lead us into the everlasting light.

We say once more, as an exhortation, the perpetual prayer of the Holy Church of Christ: Peace be unto all!

With the marvelous good news of the Holy Nativity we greet the incumbents of the hierarchical sees our Apostolic Church Sees; His Holiness, Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; the Armenian Patriarch of Jersualem, Archbishop Nurhan Manoogian; the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Archbishop Mesrop Mutafian; and to all the oath-bound clergy of our Church. We convey our greetings to the heads of our Sister Churches. With Pontifical blessings we greet the President of Armenia, Serj Sarkissian and the first lady present here today for the Divine Liturgy. We extend our greetings to President Bako Sahakyan of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh; Armenia’s state officials, and the representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia. We bring our pontifical blessing to our entire nation by greeting you with a spirit of joy.

Christ is born and revealed, Blessed is the revelation of Christ.

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, January 6, 2016

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