“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.” 2 Corinthians 4:10-11
We celebrate the Holy Easter with the firm belief that through the mystery of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the life of the Only Begotten Son would appear in us. As Paul, the Apostle states, “while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.” 2 Corinthians 4:11
It’s part of the human vulnerable nature to strive for the divine, to carry at least a fleck of holiness and thus, be purified. We feel the living presence of the Teacher within us and the Christian urge to live creative lives.
Through the celebration of the Holy Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we delight with joy and vivacity, for the dawn of the new life is upon us. For, if there was a time when we were carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, now through the Resurrection of Christ we become the “gold jar filled with manna.” To put it in simpler words, in the mystery of the Holy Resurrection, we experience the entire circle of life from birth to death, and from death to resurrection. Similarly, the history of our nation, who rose from the ashes like a phoenix, can be compared to the Passion of Christ, culminating with Crucifixion and ultimately with Resurrection. Indeed, the physical and spiritual salvation of our nation is vouchsafed through the mystery of Christ’s Resurrection, in which we firmly believe like our ancestors who came before us.
It does not really matter to us what the newspapers and the social media disseminate in terms of moral values. We know the moral values that emanate from the teachings of Christ through the Holy Scriptures. We know for sure that despite the anti-church propaganda and spiteful intentions of preaching fake values, our people, more than ever, direly need spiritual nourishment from the pure spring of truthfulness, found only in the bosom of the Mother Church.
We simply cannot live a wasteful life. Jesus saved us with His innocent blood so that we may reject sin and live fruitful lives dedicated to His glory, the holy church, the well-being of humanity, and to our Motherland Armenia. Only thus, we can preserve our national and Christian identity in the face of all adversities. As the offspring of St. Vartan, we should live “for Christ and for the Fatherland.”
Three years ago, in April of 2016, when the military troops of the sinister enemy tried to penetrate through the borders of Artsakh, our brave soldiers confronted them and marched toward their death so that we “may have life in us.” At their tender age, our selfless soldiers sacrificed their lives and carried the death of Christ around their bodies, so that we may carry the vision of the victoriously resurrected Armenia.
With the same ideology, the Armenian Diaspora tries to resists the challenges of today, often times becoming an easy target for vicious attackers. Nevertheless, the Diaspora strives to educate the coming generations with the love of Armenia and Etchmiadzin through its two venerable institutions, namely the Armenian Church and the Armenian School.
On this Easter Sunday, we urge you to live your lives with the truths of the Holy Scriptures. May this Easter serve as a spiritual call for awakening. Let us contemplate on the message of St. Paul the Apostle that we quoted in the beginning of our sermon and remain steadfast in our ancestral faith as the world goes through many temptations.
A few month ago, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians, proclaimed 2019 as the year of the Armenian family. In our Diocese, we dedicated the year to the Armenian literary heritage. Therefore, we should join forces in illuminating the lives of the Armenian people with the spiritual light that radiates from the rich treasury of our sacred heritage – one family at a time. If we succeed in this, we would carry the life of Christ and the mystery of His Holy Resurrection within us. Every word that comes out of our mouths, every step we take, and every thought we cogitate should reflect the uncompromising faith of our forefathers and martyrs.
Inspired by Holy Easter, let us instill the love and power of prayer in the lives of our children so that they may feel the strong faith of the Armenian nation and commit their lives to the Motherland and the prosperity of the Christian faith.
Inspired by Holy Easter, our nation is walking through the paths of Resurrection.
Christ is risen from the dead.
Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ.
Arch. Hovnan Derderian
Primate, Western Diocese of Armenian Apostolic Church