“And you will know the truth,
and the truth will make you free.”
Dearly beloved faithful,
With the tidings of the Holy Nativity, from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, we greet you in Armenia and in the Dispersion, and glorifying together the name of our Lord the Savior, before the Holy Altar of Descent, we proclaim the Dominical message, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
To know the truth… Man has strived to find it for so long – from the time of the old world until the present, expressing his search in philosophical thoughts, through the embodiment of art and literature, through programs for rearrangements and reformations of society. The best thoughts, kind aspirations and efforts of humanity have been directed to the quest of ‘what is the truth?’ Man has searched and is searching for the truth within his own world, but the truth has been revealed to mankind from the heavenly heights, through the starlight of Bethlehem, leading to the Savior Child born in the manger. The Incarnate Son of God is the Truth, who testified to the boundless love of God for us, His creation. Man, alienated from God, had no hope to see or know the truth, but through Jesus, the Truth Himself is within us, uniting the divine to our human life. Through His Revelation, Jesus expanded the boundaries of truth beyond the limitations of human experiences and mortal standards, and extended them towards the eternal: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
Today the prophets who became the messengers of God’s promise of salvation, and who expected and hoped for the Savior, are speaking. Today, the wise men who saw the shining bright star in the sky and proceeded towards the salvation of the world, are offering their gifts to the Infant Savior. Today, before the open gates of heaven’s mercy, the shepherds who sang together with the angels, are praising the Savior Child resting in the manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. They recognized the Grace of God Who had entered into the world, Who frees men from sins caused by evil, Who keeps us from going astray and Who protects us from destructive paths. Nothing – no human creation or plan – is capable of renewing and transfiguring the soul of man, other than the faith of God’s presence in the life of mankind, through which the spiritual rebirth and moral progress of humanity are accomplished.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free”, has resonated for 2,000 years, so that the gaze of man is directed upwards to see the light of salvation and to believe that he is free through Christ, and to believe that through Christ the path towards a world of truth, justice and love is open. Faith has no yearning for proof, but the proof of faith is the renewing spirit – the soul free through truth which seeks to transform the world, leading it to goodness and leading it to truth.
Anxieties prevail in various places throughout the world; mankind is faced with issues of relations between states and peoples; demands for revisions in societal life; natural disasters and calamities born from the actions of men; social, moral and many other problems, all of these are in need of solutions, for which men are seeking to find the right answers and the correct paths. Every decision of man, every activity, is dependent on the presence of God which is measured in its value: Is it good or evil? It is acceptable or unacceptable? Is it temporary and fleeting or everlasting and timeless, leading life to prosperity and happiness… It is with the Savior that we are truly free and through our decisions and the steps that we take, we can establish justice in the world in spite of inequity, love in spite of hate and enmity, and peace in spite of violence and war.
The liberating and saving Truth revealed to mankind through Christ has illuminated the historic course of our people and will enlighten our present and our future. We came to know the Truth, which formed the creative and ingenious spirit of our culture and infused the spirit of renaissance which directs our history. We created with the love of life, with the conviction to live; we lived and were martyred with the aspiration of being the free people and nation of Christ. Tempest-torn, regardless of where we were scattered, the lantern of the Illuminator, kindled by the starlight of Bethlehem, shone high and inextinguishable in the skies of our spiritual life. The lantern kept us united and whole with its undimmed light, guarded the hopes of our people for a peaceful and reconciled world, and for our unified life and bright future.
Our miraculous alphabet of Mashtots was born through the graces of a Divine and free spirit, whose 1,600th anniversary we celebrate this year, invoking the sacred memories of the Armenian translation of the Holy Bible, and the era of Sahak-Mesropian education and enlightenment. We will also solemnly commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, reconfirming our fidelity to the faith of our innumerable martyrs and to their vision of a new life for the Armenians. By invoking the memories of our innocent victims we will once again extend the invitation for the recognition of the Genocide, for the sake of a world that is just and free of violence. Glory to the Lord, because the independence of Armenia and the liberation of Artsakh have opened doors of hope for the victory of justice; and for the secure life and actions of our people in the homeland, which shall serve to be the new testimonies of our faith in Christ. In Armenia, in Artsakh and in all corners of the world, our people today are manifesting their centuries-old dreams of a creative life with an awakening faith, and will continue to bring their benefit to peace-loving efforts of states and peoples.
Dearly beloved Armenians, today the star of Bethlehem is guiding us to the Savior’s manger, where the eternal was born, the infinite was confined, and that which cannot be comprehended was recognized as liberator. Let us not hesitate to know the Truth, to do the good, to serve one another and to serve Christ. Let us put aside all which will disrupt us from following His luminous and liberating path. Freedom is the greatest grace in which our hopes and aspirations will bear fruit, to construct a peaceful and prosperous life and a free society. We will not only defend the freedom of our Homeland, but also make it become freedom for each one of us. Freedom is our choice of the good, which in itself is also a struggle against evil. Poverty and the evil of lawlessness will be erased from our soil with our Christ-loving and truth-loving endeavors; indifference and intolerance will be forced out of our society and the benefits of true philanthropy will be established. It is through our brotherhood, in our justice and in our love that our plans and labors will succeed; aimed at the building and strengthening of our Homeland, in the transformation of our society, in the preservation and renaissance of national life in the Diaspora, in the education of our children, in the development of our culture, and in the realization of all objectives of our people.
The blessing of the Savior descends upon the earth. From God-built Holy Etchmiadzin, from the Altar of the Descent of our Savior and our Lord, we extend glad tidings of the Holy Nativity and our Pontifical love and blessings to all our faithful people dispersed throughout the world. We send our greetings to the incumbents of the hierarchal sees of our Apostolic Holy Church: 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 to the entire oath-abiding dedicated ranks of clergy of the Armenian Church.
Offering songs of praise for the Revelation, with love in Christ, we greet the heads of our sister Churches and their pious flock.
With Pontifical blessings we convey our best wishes of the Holy Nativity to the President of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Robert Kocharian; to the President of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh, Mr. Arkady Ghukasian; to all state officials of the Armenians; to the leaders of the diplomatic missions registered in Armenia; and to all representatives of international organizations.
Let us kneel down beside the cradle of the Infant Jesus and ask that through the presence of God, the renewing spirit be ours as well, and the life being led towards goodness and truth be our life as well, in our Homeland and in the Diaspora. Let us all pray in unison that our compassionate Lord, through the consolation of the Holy Spirit, grant comfort to the hearts of thousands affected by the recent natural disaster in the countries of the Far East, and with His unending mercy, grant rest to the souls of the victims. May the peace sent from heaven be established throughout the world, and especially today for all peoples living in the dangers of war, and may divine paths lead the course of mankind towards the shores of reconciliation, justice and brotherhood; towards an improving prosperous, progressive and happy life; and towards salvation and eternity.
“Christ is Born and Revealed! Great Tidings to You and to Us.” Amen.
05 Jan 2005 by Press Office