Feast of the Ascension at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – May 2016

On May 5, the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church celebrated the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The day also commemorates the return of the Catholicosate of All Armenians from Sis to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in 1441. Under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; the feast is also designated as the Pilgrimage Day of Holy Etchmiadzin.

On this occasion primates of the Armenian dioceses and numerous pilgrims had travelled to the Mother See.

Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Mother Cathedral. The celebrant was His Eminence Archbishop Yeznik Petrosyan, General Secretary of the Bible Society.

Archbishop Yeznik offered his sermon on the sanctity of the day. “Forty days after the Resurrection of Christ, He gathered his disciples and ascended to the Mount of Olives, to ascend into heaven and sit at the right hand of God the Father. The feast of the Ascension, that we celebrate today, each year reminds us that we must follow Christ’s example, to fulfill all the commandments of God, to live in a way so that when the time comes, we’ll be able to ascend to heaven and sit at the right hand of God”.

Noting the Lord’s commandment given to His disciples during the Ascension: to preach the Gospel of salvation; Archbishop Yeznik reflected on the preaching in Armenia, implemented by apostles St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew and the establishment of the Armenian Church.

“The Apostles St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew established the Armenian Church, by which the Armenian nation became God’s chosen new nation. Of course, we understand that all Christians are God’s people, but every church, both national or local, is God’s Church in its entirety. Our people have always remembered the feast of Ascension and that they must always be ready for ascension”, stated the celebrant.

On this occasion, Archbishop Yeznik spoke on the recent military attacks unleashed by Azerbaijan, and the soldiers sacrificing their lives for the defense of the homeland.

“They took the path that leads to God, they took the path that leads to sanctification; and today we – the Armenian Church and Armenian nation, have gained such individuals, whose names will always be written in the history of the Church, as by protecting the Armenian land we protect the name of Christ”, stated the celebrant.

Archbishop Yeznik also offered his reflections in remembrance of the transfer of the Pontifical See of All Armenians. In this regard, he chiefly noted: “Difficult days were in Cilicia, and the Armenian people who were the owner of the land for three hundred years, were losing power. The Armenian See was also in danger, not only political, but also in terms of inter-religious relations, when the West through certain promises, forced us to forget the traditions of the Armenian Church. And the teachers of the Armenian Church stood up and said that the See of the Catholicosate of All Armenians must be moved and forever re-established in the place where Christ himself showed that there must be built His church. … Since that day, the blessings of our Lord, through the Catholicoi of All Armenians and through the Holy Muron, blessed by the Catholicoi of All Armenians; is distributed from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to all over the world, where there are Armenian faithful”.

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, His Holiness Karekin II offered a Pontifical Prayer.
During the service, the clergy and faithful prayed for the stability and prosperity of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and for Catholicos Karekin II, the 132nd Patriarch of the See of the Illuminator.