“Glory to Your Miraculous Resurrection, Lord.”
The Mystery of Christ’s Resurrection is beyond the limits of human comprehension and logic. Christ’s Resurrection can only be felt and lived solely through faith. Faith is the key to immerse in the transparency of the Resurrection and comprehend its influence in the life of humanity, especially throughout various historical periods of our nation.
The Resurrection is the purest expression of Christ’s limitless and unconditional love, the assurance of His true promise, with which light overcame darkness, hope prevailed over uncertainty, life defeated death, and good prevailed over evil.
The Resurrection of Christ is the greatest testament to our faith, the framework of the validity of our creed, the undeniable truth of Christ’s divinity for the non-believers and skeptics, and lastly the anchor of our spiritual identity.
In these times, when the chaos of the world is overwhelming, some have resorted to unknowingly pose the following question: “Where is the Resurrected Lord?” Why didn’t God save us from the merciless coronavirus pandemic, why didn’t He send signs of the 44-day Artsakh War, why didn’t He resolve the differences between Russia and the Ukraine, a war between brother countries that may well turn into a global conflict and result in World War III?
The righteous Job also resorted to asking such questions, when he lost everything despite being pious and God-loving. Like others, Job also experienced feelings of hopelessness. However, when listening to Job’s complaints, God answered him “Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?” (JOB 40:8). Hearing this Job regretted his actions and repented by saying “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You” (JOB 42:5).
Let us not be naïve like those who attempted to console Job through empty and wearisome explanations, being the cause of his temptation. The answers to the “Whys” rest in the Cross and the Crucified, the precious blood that He shed in sacrificing Himself for the salvation of humanity. The All Benevolent God does not wish death upon the sinful. The evil and the devastation that occurs in the world are not His will nor does He command them. They are the result of our free will. St. James the Apostle says it rightfully “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (JAMES 1:13).
Therefore, such doubts and questions which may arise from our human condition ought to be answered in our partaking in Christ’s sufferings, as God demonstrated His salvific power, which ultimately culminated with His Glorious and Victorious Resurrection. It is for this reason that during Holy Week, when we sing “To Your Cross, Christ” (Khachi ko Krisdos), we praise and signify Christ’s betrayal, passion, burial, and resurrection.
As did our ancestors, we too must live our lives embracing the sunrise of Christ’s Resurrection, realizing that the temptations of life are impermanent and temporary. The mystery of Christ’s Victorious Resurrection ought to reside in the hearts of our people in Armenia and the Diaspora if we wish to heal our pain and diminish our sufferings. Comfort and consolation is derived from God. At times of doubt, sorrow and great pain, like Job, we bow before His Might. We regret and furthermore, we repent. It is only then that we will become worthy of seeing the Resurrected Lord.
Today, the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church exhorts her faithful to renew their spiritual lives with the mystery of the Resurrection. Our Church commands us to relinquish slanderous discourse, destructive criticism, unsuitable complaints, the relay of self-responsibility on others. Our Church instructs us to express our God-loving nature by demonstrating keenness, care, and love for another, just as God loves us all. We rest assured that our spiritual reawakening and national strength is conditioned upon the realization of these aforementioned exhortations.
The Feast of the Resurrection becomes meaningful when our people embrace a spirit of forgiveness, welcome humility, rely on wholehearted faith signified by the Christian spirit. How can we become God-loving, if we cannot uphold these virtues? How shall we stand before the power and the glory of the Resurrected Lord, if we are unable to value the God-given gifts of our Homeland, our Holy Etchmiadzin, our language and our culture?
For us, the year 2022 is of great significance as we celebrate the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. We have dedicated this year as the year of “The Armenian Christian Family.” These occasions oblige us to celebrate the milestone anniversary with feelings of gratitude, emphasizing that the strength of our Diocese is conditioned upon the vivacity of the Armenian Christian family.
When we reflect on these two occasions, the light shines upon the path to an everlasting life.
Therefore, may our souls gaze upon that light wherein our salvation and the salvation of our nation is derived. Let us welcome and embrace Christ’s Resurrection proclaiming “Christ is risen from the dead. Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ.”
ARCHBISHOP HOVNAN DERDERIAN
PRIMATE OF THE WESTERN DIOCESE OF THE ARMENIAN CHURCH OF NORTH AMERICA