Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II conveyed a message on the Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Jesus Christ.
On this marvellous day of the Feast of Nativity and Theophany, following the light of the star of Bethlehem, the gazes of our souls are directed towards the manger, where the Only Begotten Son of God was born and came into the world for our salvation. Gathered today in the churches, we praise the newly-born Saviour, glorify the Heavenly King, and say: “Glory to your wondrous Birth, o Lord”.
In the fulness of time Christ entered the world. Through the Birth of the Saviour we witness the mystery of profound divine love and care towards us. God became flesh through the nativity of the Saviour. While being infinite, he willingly assumed limitedness. By His own humility the impassable underwent passions and crucifixion, so that humanity may be worthy of the grace of salvation; may become the adopted children of God and inherit the Heavenly Kingdom.
The Son of God became flesh, lived and acted among people, testifying that God is their heavenly Father, who expresses His love, care, and protection for humanity through unimaginable sacrifice, as stated by the beloved disciple of Christ, John: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Beloved faithful, actions in contradiction to those of God, however, continue to disturb the life of humanity, burdening with worries and troubles. Despite the tremendous advancements in the spheres of science and technology, humanity vacillates between the choices of good and evil, between life and death. In our age of unprecedented economic enhancements, millions of people are still suffering from hunger and poverty. In this time of defence of human rights, the rights of people and nations are being violated. In our days of dialogues, many people become subject to intolerance, hatred on a religious basis, terrorism; and become victims of various kinds of violence. In this era of the battle for peace, scores of people pay the highest price with their life because of the use of weaponry and the ongoing race for armament. Drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and other kinds of addictions, become evil to societies and families: people addicted to these become unable to properly organise their lives, some find themselves in despair and commit suicide.
These tribulations that disturb the normal pace of life in the world also affect the life of our country and our people around the world. While living under blockade and in the reality of an unstable peace in the homeland, our people strive to achieve prosperity and to protect her rights; ensure the security of our country by paying the highest cost with the life of her courageous sons. Along with the achievements gained through the unshaken will and dedication of our people, our country is still facing unemployment and poverty. There is a need for ongoing efforts to strengthen hope for the future, faith in justice, and to overcome the social, economic, and other challenges facing our national life.
Dear faithful, our Lord was born in a poor manger so that we may be victorious over troubles and hardship, by putting our trust in Him. He was honoured by the rich magi, so that the wealthy may use their abundant means for kind and God-pleasing deeds. He was worshipped by the shepherds, so that all people may bow down to Him with pure hearts and be worthy of the graces that He brings. We enjoy the continuous care of God, as testified by the incarnation of Christ, when our faith is translated into life and actions, when the Nativity of the Saviour does not become mere history and commemoration or a festivity of a banquet, but becomes a state of being, an inspiration and a great mystery. Through such an approach, the celebration of the Nativity, our prayers and supplication reveal to us a perpetual spring of graces; grant us the joy of praising God with one accord together with the heavenly hosts; fill our lives with the divine presence; our families with the heavenly love and graces; our world and humanity with the peace and delight proclaimed by the angels.
Dear faithful, on this day, full of heavenly gifts of God, it is my wish and my message, so that we become new souls, free of sins, and remain in a new creation, set forth by the Nativity of Christ. By accepting in our hearts infant Jesus, let us keep strong our faith and our pious path of life, so that we may always enjoy the care and endless love of God. The knowledge of the commandments of Christ and their fulfilment, the purity of heart, humility of soul, love for others and compassion - are those important gifts that God shall delightedly accept in lieu of gold, frankincense and myrrh brought by the magi, as pleasing gifts for infant Jesus. It is in this spirit and faith that we may truly support our homeland and our brothers and sisters who are in need, that we can fearlessly protect our borders, strengthen the unity of our Christ-loving people, contribute towards realisation of our national aspirations, and towards victory of just rights for our people.
With these wishes, We convey our greetings to the incumbents of the hierarchical Sees of our Apostolic Holy Church; His Holiness, Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Nourhan Manougian; the Locum Tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian; and to all the clergy of our Holy Church. With joyful tidings of the Nativity we greet the heads of our Sister Churches. With Pontifical blessings we greet and bring our best wishes to the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, and the first lady, present here today for the Divine Liturgy. We extend our greetings to the President of Armenia, His Excellency Serzh Sargsyan and President Bako Sahakyan of the Republic of Artsakh; Armenia’s state officials; the representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia. We bring our Pontifical love, blessings, and best wishes to all our faithful people.
We pray to our Lord Jesus Christ, so that he may pour the graces of His marvellous Nativity around the world, so that nations may live in accordance with the angelic message of peace and solidarity, and so that unshaken peace may prolong in our homeland and prosperity prevail in the life of our people worldwide. Let our homeland be empowered thanks to the fruits of our committed and dedicated deeds, let our Holy Church remain on the path of enhancement and let us be worthy of salvation and eternal life granted to us by the Lord, now and always and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”