Divine Liturgy Offered on Armed Forces Day

On January 26, in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; presided over Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day of the Republic of Armenia. The celebrant was His Grace Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamian, His Grace Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Armed Forces and Head Chaplain of the Armenian Army.

Present at the Divine Liturgy were Primates of the Armenian Church; members of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin; Mr. Serian Ohanian, Minister of the Republic of Armenia Armed Forces; Senior Officers of the Armenian Army; Mr. Berge Setrakian, President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, and AGBU members.

During the Liturgy, Bishop Vrtanes offered a sermon, reflecting on the important role and significance of the Armenian Army in the lives of Armenians. “Christianity is a religion of peace and tolerance, amity and solidity; it is a religion preaching love that urges people to exclude conflicts and hostility from their lives. All of us should strive for those values. Yet we also realize that those prerequisites are missing in our present life, therefore we need a strong rampart to stop violence and harsh force. The army is that much needed strength for its country. As long as globalpeace and harmony are not established on Earth, the Army remains of crucial importance for attaining inner and outer peace in the nations.

In this regard, our nation needs weapon and army for defense only, and not for unlawful aspirations or harassment; attacking people, seizing foreign lands or shedding innocent blood. Some armies spread death, some re-establish peace and love. Self- defense is one of the primal and inherent rights of human beings, which requires a strong army. The enemies of our country must realize that against violence they will receive violence; if they come with swords, they might stay without their swords. The cross is a spiritual weapon against the evil that saves those relying on it and becoming a physical weapon protects the body of the faithful. The Armenian soldier must realize that victory is not gained with weapon only, but also through the power of faith, which our holy and Christian fathers have taught us through centuries”, noted Father Vrtanes in his remarks.

Following the Divine Liturgy, at the Holy Altar of Descent of the Mother Cathedral, the Catholicos of All Armenians presided over the prayer “Blessing of the Republic” for the welfare and vibrancy of Armenian and the Armenian Army.

Following the prayer, a formal reception was held in the Events Auditorium of the Gevorkian Theological Seminary, during which His Holiness once again congratulated everyone on the occasion of the 22nd Anniversary of the Republic of Armenia Army, extending His blessings and best wishes. His Holiness Karekin II happily noted that presently the Armenian Army keeps the country in peace due to the devoted service of the Armenian soldiers and military servants, forging a peaceful life for our people and the Homeland. The Catholicos of All Armenians wished to the servants of the Armenian Armed Forces that God grant them vibrancy, strong health, fruitful service and new achievements for the love of our Mother Homeland and the welfare of our nation.

At the conclusion of the reception, bestowal of medals was convened. Through the intercession of His Holiness Karekin II, His Grace Bishop Vrtanes granted Major- General Manvel Karapetyan; Major- General Poghos Poghosyan; Mr. Garnik Hayrapetyan, Colonel Daniel Balayan and Colonel Onik Gasparian with the order of “St. Nerses the Graceful” and bestowed them each with a Medal, in recognition to their service of their service to the Homeland and the faithful people of Armenia.

Father Vrtanes read the Pontifical Encyclical. “From the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, we are extending Our Pontifical blessings and best wishes on the occasion of the Armed Forces day, joyfully reflecting on your efforts for our Homeland. Together with thousands of national heroes who had fought during the Artsakh war, you put your efforts with unconditional devotion in the sacred mission of defending our Homeland. We were successful in reclaiming our God-sent land after a hard and long struggle due to the courage and self-sacrifice of Armenian soldiers such as yourselves, who bravely withstood all the attacks from the enemy, enriching our modern history with pages of victories.

Under conditions of armistice you continue making your contributions with your productive service, reinforcing the Armenian Army for the safety and prosperity of our country and nation. The various state and military titles and medals granted to you are testament of your commendable accomplishments over the decades”, reads the Pontifical Encyclical, addressed to the medal recipients.