THE MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS KAREKIN II
ON THE OCCASION OF THE FEAST OF
THE HOLY NATIVITY AND THEOPHANY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
(Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, January 6, 2003)
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Glory to You, O Heavenly King, as we behold the sacred mystery of the Theophany, the children of Our Nation in Armenia and in Dispersion, assembled together in the ranks of clergy and laity, greet each other today with the tidings of Your Holy Birth. Laborer and government official, soldier, intellectual and student, adult and child; we all hear the heavenly message, “on earth peace, good will toward men,” which is proclaimed from Your 1,700 year-old Holy Cathedral where the Only Begotten Descended. The message was clarified the instant of the Holy Nativity’s profound mystery before our gaze, when the guiding bright Star rested over the skies of Bethlehem.
Glory to You, O Heavenly King, that the consolation of Your Holy Nativity lives yet again in the Armenian Nation. We worship You with the wise men, we glorify You with the shepherds, and we praise You with the multitude of angels: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
By the compassionate and merciful Love of God, the Savior was born for the world. The Lord of the universe became a Child and came into the world, so that man estranged from God and snared within evil due to original sin, would be able to renew himself, and the world would renew itself through man. In order to bring freedom to the souls of men, in order to call men to justice and peace, God extended His hand of reconciliation, and gave the unsurpassed example of love. In the Manger of Bethlehem, the “Sun” of Justice and the Prince of Peace was born, so freedom, justice and peace be inseparable in the world. Truly, the birth of Jesus is the renaissance of man, through the grace of reconciliation with God and by the invitation, “on earth peace, good will toward men.”
All through time, the cherished dream of mankind has been peace as a condition for security, prosperity and happiness. Countless theories have been developed, principals proposed, means and efforts invested, all in the name of peace. However, the rumblings of war have not been muted; intrigues, enmity and destruction have not ceased; famine, misery and poverty have not been eliminated; because mankind has not always pursued Christ’s message of peace: to implant the triumph of the Gospel of love, freedom and justice in the souls of men.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you.” (John 14:27). Peace bequeathed from Christ is for the world, but not of the world indeed. More often than not, peace known to the world is motivated by profit, is conditioned upon interests and circumstance, often it is established and secured by violence. Thus, it cannot be stable and unchangeable; and moreover, it cannot be the genuine good, which brings forth blessings, because it is always filled with the danger of turning into antagonism.
Today, in the Holy Land, instead of hymns of praise for peace, hostility resounds and death-bringing volleys of fire boom. Today, the world restlessly witnesses the horrors of terrorism in different corners of the globe, where wars are spreading destruction and taking away thousands of innocent lives. The wounds on our people’s heart from the Armenian Genocide continue to bleed; which still has not been universally condemned by governments, which continues to be an encouragement for new villainies, as was in the case of the Holocaust.
Our soul today is also troubled by the fragile peace prevailing in the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh, because the opposite side continues resonating frivolous appeals for renewing the war. The core issue of the Armenians living on their historic lands of Artsakh is being led to a deadlock, when it is being connected unjustly and without foundation to the principal of territorial integrity; while the natural, just and legal right of man and nation to live freely is being trampled under foot. Justice will prevail, the thunders of war will be silenced, inter-ethnic antagonisms and public crises will be reconciled, when mankind desires and searches for the Christ-provided redeeming road of peace, more than the world’s paths toward peace; and when justice and humane values become the guiding principles for human life. Only in this manner can peace truly be established in the life of society, becoming the aspiration for creation, being one another’s support, and turning into the greatest ability and happiness for living one another’s joys and sorrows.
Today, beloved Armenian people, from the source of love, swaddled in the cave of Bethlehem, and from the heights of the Zion of faith and hope, the light of peace has descended and is contained in the lanterns of our churches. As it has for continuous centuries, that light is distributed through the benediction of “Peace unto all”, so that the peace of the Lord lives in us and be spread from our souls throughout our national and public life and the entire world.
Today, with the tidings of the Holy Nativity, “on earth peace, good will toward men”, we see the Savior again descending upon our land, and into our life; so that through the eternal Mother See of the Armenians, Our faith and Our covenant of relying on God, will always be renewed.
God is with us. He is with us with His greeting of peace. This is our belief. Let us accept the Dominical greeting, let us truly love each other, and desiring the benevolent and peaceful will of the Lord, let us serve one another, and together let us serve our Motherland and our Apostolic Holy Church. Let us make 2003 a year of new hopes and expectations; let us make it the year of strengthening our national life, both in the Motherland and in the Diaspora; and the remarkable New Year for witnessing our faith.
Before the cradle of the Incarnate God, let us beseech the Lord to keep our Apostolic Holy Church steadfast under His care, and to protect and strengthen the incumbents of our Hierarchal Sees under His blessings and graces: His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem; His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob Moutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople; and the entirety of our dedicated and devout ecclesiastical order of the Armenian Church, and the whole of our faithful people throughout the world.
With Pontifical love and blessing We convey Our good wishes of the Holy Nativity, to the high officials of the Government of the Armenians, led by the President of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Robert Kocharian; to the President of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh, Mr. Arkady Ghukasian; and to all the representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations registered in Armenia.
Let the Peace which is born of the Revelation of the Savior, through the care of the Mother of God, be swaddled as a child under the roofs of all homes, be nurtured and be strengthened through the good will, trust and cooperation of all great and small nations, so that nations cast plowshares from their swords, and pruning hooks from their spears, and to all corners of the world, may the hymn of praise be spread: “on earth peace, good will toward men”.
“Christ is Born and Revealed!
Great tidings to you and to us.” Amen.
CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS