Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – September 2016
On 20 September, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Armenia, a Prayer for the Republic was offered in the St. Gregory the Illuminator Mother Cathedral of Yerevan under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. In attendance was Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia.
Also present for the service were Mr. Galust Sahakyan, National Assembly President of Armenia; Mr. Gagik Harutyunyan, President of the Republic of Armenia Constitutional Court; members of the Brotherhood of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Great House of Cilicia, state officials, representatives from civil society, and guests.
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; entered the church led by a clerical procession and stopped to pay their respects to the relics of St. Gregory the Illuminator, which is enclosed in a reliquary in the church narthex. Then, accompanied by 14 bishops, His Holiness Karekin II and Catholicos Aram I blessed the faithful people and ascended to the Holy Altar. There they offered a Prayer for the Republic, for the strength and vibrancy of Armenia and a peaceful and prosperous life for the Nation.
During the service, the Pontiff of All Armenians, and the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, knelt at the Holy Altar and read the “I thank thee,” prayer, asking God to keep our statehood and Homeland strong under His Holy Right Hand.
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS KAREKIN II
ON ARMENIA INDEPENDENCE DAY
St. Gregory Mother Cathedral
In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Your Excellency, Mr. President; Serzh Sargisyan;
Beloved Brother, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia,
Dear Spiritual Fathers and Honored State officials,
Dear faithful people,
On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Armenia, we extend our greetings and congratulations to our faithful nation. Today, under these sacred arches, together we offered a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the peace and prosperity of our native country. We extended our gratitude to the Almighty to grant us the reward of a free life. “Thank you God, thank you, For all things Lord, thank you” ( Armenian Book of Hours – Breviary )
For many years our people have struggled for the restoration of independent statehood in their own homeland. Today we have our 25-year-old country, which is the embodiment of hope, love, and pride of our people. Our state is young but is established enough to lead the aspirations and visions of a national awakening of our people into reality.
The path of the establishment of statehood was not easily given to us. Our people faced many hardships and tribulations, to the still ongoing blockade, the imposed war in the struggle for the liberation of Artsakh and the concussions of inter-political life. In the most difficult situations, unconditional love and dedication and the vision to build a new and free life of our people were victorious in facing all dangers and challenges threatening our statehood. Glory to You, Lord, for making us worthy enough to rebuild our independent statehood. Glory to You, Lord, that our people fought heroically and strengthened the foundations of our state in challenges which seemed insurmountable; continued to live and created good and protected their just rights.
Today, we are proud of the achievements of independent statehood, our courageous army and immortal heroes and our new, bright generation carrying the value of independence in their souls. Our sacred places are built and prosper today and our children are educated as Christians. The native independent statehood has provided an opportunity to our people worldwide to express their unity and the potential of consolidation around patriotic programs and national aspirations. In all times, but especially during the years of independence, the heart of the Diaspora has always been beating for the Homeland, evidence of which are the numerous patriotic deeds of our children living in the four corners of the world. Our country, indeed, is a solid basis for the realization of national aspirations; the right of our people to live free in Artsakh and our just cause to victory.
Despite these achievements, the past 25 years were not enough to create comprehensive state-centered thinking; to fully correct the shortcomings and deficiencies; to completely solve social and economic problems, which have led to mistrust, intolerance or displays of indifference, tense situations and sometimes, to painful human losses.
Dear ones, despite all challenges and difficulties, we passed a kind and worthy path of ascent and in front of us is the responsible and honorable duty to strengthen our country. The Apostle commands us: “…and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace …” ( 2 Timothy 2:22 ). These values shape the divine image of a human description, raise the life of the societies and keep the states foundations firm. Let us through our lives and activities confirm each day in the Homeland and the Diaspora that we are the bearers of these virtues, that we love our country and that we have the potential to face all challenges: keeping our life on the paths of justice, peace, love, and unity. Let us always remember that only through unity is it possible to realize our vision of a strong homeland, and that only through commitment and sacrifices, dedicated service and righteousness can we flourish in our life and keep our statehood strong and steady. Only through a strong state can we support our communities in the Diaspora, in their diligent efforts to preserve national identity and support our nation’s children in times of hardship.
At this moment, dear faithful, when we offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of our Independence, we have a soulful duty to bow in memory of our heroic sons, who offered their lives for the homeland, and to all those devotees who put forth efforts and drive and displayed courage and strength for the reestablishment and establishment of our statehood.
We are pleased that today we offered the Prayer for the Republic with our spiritual brother, Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, accompanied by the prayers of our faithful children, spiritual fathers, and State officials. Through her daily prayers, our Church will continue to support our state for the sake of our country’s progress and the welfare of our people.
We exhort our Lord to spread undisturbed peace to our Homeland with His Omnipotent Holy Right Hand, to grant strength and vigor to our native authorities and grant grace and blessing to all our people worldwide.
«Կեցո՛, Տէր, զժողովուրդս Քո եւ օրհնեա՛ զժառանգութիւնս Քո, հովուեա՛ եւ բարձրացո՛ զսոսա յայսմհետէ մինչեւ յաւիտեան». Amen.