PRESS RELEASE Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Information Services Address: Vagharshapat, Republic of Armenia Contact: Rev. Fr. Ktrij Devejian Tel: (374 1) 517 163 Fax: (374 1) 517 301 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org March 26, 2005 The Message of His Holiness Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians on the Occasion of the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, 27 March 2005 "I am the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11:25) "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10) Dear Beloved Faithful, Today, from the Holy Altars of our churches, the good tiding of the great Divine grace resonates: "Christ is Risen from the dead! He trampled death through death, and by His resurrection, He granted us life." It was Sunday, three days following the crucifixion, when the miracle happened - Christ was resurrected from the dead. Together with the sunrise, the mystery of resurrection and life were revealed to the world. Faith shone upon the anxious and fearful souls of the disciples and followers of Jesus, who after placing their crucified Teacher in the tomb, supposed that everything had ended. They had heard the life-bearing message of Jesus, had witnessed how the sick were healed, the dead resurrected and through the clearest sense of their hearts and souls, they had recognized the Savior in the person of their Teacher. At that moment, when His tomb was empty, when the angelic tiding of the resurrection resounded, the significance of the words of the Lord sparkled in their hopeless souls: "I am the Resurrection and the Life", "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly". Resurrected is Christ! Sin has been expiated upon the cross. Irreversible hopelessness and fear, like the chains of death, have forever been shattered. Life is emanating from the tomb and the all-conquering hope of salvation and everlasting life are shining. God is wondrously glorified and glorified is man, because Christ submitted Himself to the cross and was resurrected, so that life stained through human sin be renewed and restored in its aim, in its true course towards God. Christ came with the love of a peaceful and just world, for a world reconciled with God, so that all which man undertakes, which man creates, be for the love of life, would be good and for the good. Christ brought to man the perfect example of filial obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father, declaring that mankind's highest aspiration is to choose the providential and saving Will of God. Indeed, dear ones, through the choice of the Will of God, mankind will be able to reject and prevent Der-Zor and Holocaust, reject and prevent September 11 and Beslan, to see paths free of wars and violence, and to find the just and luminous fraternal avenues among nations. Hope is alive upon those roads, the hope of life, progress and the future. Today and always, the opportunities of man, his choices and decisions, shall be directed to the care of the world and humanity, just as the Creator's Fatherly care is towards His creation. Along with the crucified and resurrected Savior, we are His collaborators in saving, through which we have life and have it abundantly. Glory to the Most High, that alongside many other nations, the Light of the saving Divine grace was also revealed to our people. Our people irrevocably believed in the power of the Resurrection of Christ. Armenian life is saturated with bread and wine, the land of the Armenians blooms with monastery and stone-cross. Prayer is the utterance of the Armenian, which has risen to heaven from the deadly pit of Khor Virap and has become a holy book through the script of Mashtots; has become the heaven-reaching supplication of the saint of Narek and the sacred testimony of the martyrs. Holy Etchmiadzin, established through the shower of light of the Resurrection, is the soul of all Armenians; the rejuvenated soul of the nation, surviving destructions and deaths throughout the centuries of history. Our people have not seen the empty tomb of Christ, but together with Christ, they have often seen the emptiness of the graves which had been prepared for them. Together with Christ they wove glorious crowns of victory. The Armenian cannot deny the Resurrection of the Christ. Our past and our present are testimony to that Resurrection. We experienced the Golgotha of the Genocide together with Christ, turning the most tragic period of our history into a time of victory. Our people, massacred and bleeding, in heroic struggle, gave birth to their new statehood. The first Armenian Republic rose from the ashes, as testimony to the immortal aspiration of our people for the eternal existence of Armenian statehood. Resurrected is Christ, resurrected is the Armenian Nation. The Lantern of the Illuminator lights our path, inextinguishable in faith, shining through faith, the visible light of faith, which will lead the free, united and new life of our Homeland and the Diaspora. With the faithful example of our forefathers, we will overcome the difficulties and issues facing Armenia, Artsakh and our national-ecclesiastical life. Dear beloved faithful, when the Risen Christ appeared to His disciples, He called "blessed" those who believed in His Resurrection without seeing, and that "blessed" is directed at us. Today is Easter, the dawn of a new life, the invitation of a life with God. In this temporal world, it is the invitation to see the providential Love of God beyond the material things, to believe in the saving mission and strength of the Resurrected Christ. The message of the Feast of Easter is faith. Our resurrected life with the Redeemer begins with faith, and with faith it strengthens and flourishes. With faith, self-sacrifice becomes natural, and love for a neighbor becomes the source of joy and happiness. This is the deep and mysterious miracle of the Resurrection, always aspiring to eternal heights, to truth, to justice and to the good. Let our souls today be warmed from the miraculous rays of the Savior's Resurrection, gathering more light and becoming stronger in hope and faith. Let our faith delineate our road to perfection and illuminate the reborn path of new life for our homeland, our people and our Church. Beloved Armenians, with the light of your faith turn your life to glorifying God, so that in all your works, your heartbeat is strong, your love emanates, and your will for the just, the true and the good is victorious. Where the Lord is, rivers of living water will flow, according to the life-giving Will of God and our Lord and Savior. Through us, let the miraculous Savior Lord heal, reconcile and console, give life and make it vibrant and life abundant, for our land, and our dreams and desires for peace, freedom, and justice. Dear ones in our homeland and in the dispersion, we greet you with the great holy tiding of the Resurrection, and bless your lives and good works. May the graces of the Resurrection descend abundantly upon your souls, reinforce your faith, enlighten your minds, grant more strength to your arms and more love to your hearts. Love one another, our Holy Church, and our sacred homeland - Armenia and Artsakh. We extend our greetings with the joy of the Resurrection to the hierarchal incumbents 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 ranks of clergy of our Church. With the love of Christ, we greet the spiritual leaders of our Sister Churches asking for the abundant graces of the Savior upon their pious flocks. We bring our greetings 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 Armenian state officials; and to the leaders and the representatives of the diplomatic missions registered in Armenia. On this sacred morning of Easter, before the Holy Altar of Descent of our Risen Savior, we offer our prayers asking God to always keep the land of the Armenians free and peaceful, endowed with goodness and bounty. We ask the Lord to keep our people in our homeland and at all corners of the world unified and inseparable, united in love, in our Holy Faith, with our values and inheritance, and with the visions of our just desires. May the Risen Christ protect the entire world under His mercy and grace, undisturbed and peaceful, keep all nations in brotherhood and all individuals in love, in hope and in faith. Amen. Christ is Risen from the dead. Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ.