Message from the Primate of the Artsakh Diocese, Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan, on the occasion of the feast of the miraculous Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
(Stepanakert, Church of the Holy Mother of God, April 9, 2023)
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
“Where, death, is your victory?
Where, the grave, is your sting?
(1 Corinthians 15:55)
This rhetorical question of the Apostle Paul resounds in our ears as we stand face to face with the reality of the victorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The fear of death that keeps the world in fear is no longer stricken for those who believe in Christ. The Resurrection of Christ is the core of our faith, and Christianity is the religion of life, because "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Luke 20:37).
All the evangelists clearly describe how Jesus completely endured human suffering and pain, and His soul was sorrowful. Just as the full commitment of our Lord to enter into the depths of human pain defeated the devil and destroyed hell, so the invincible truth of the Resurrection defeated the inner fear and commitment of the apostles. Those who had previously fled during the sufferings of Christ, after the Resurrection became His valiant witnesses all over the world, and even the fear of death could not drown out Their voices, for they knew the Truth and tasted the sweetness of real life; they saw the Risen Savior.
The Resurrection confirmed the truth of the words and deeds of Christ. We do not follow fairy tales or myths, and the remission and forgiveness of our sins are based on an empty tomb. The Resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of our future resurrection. “I live and you will live” (John 14:19).
When we participate in church services during Senior Week, we mysteriously appear next to Jesus from afar and go with him to Calvary.
The experience of all this brings us closer to our Savior and helps us to understand the infinite love of God and how, according to Divine providence, suffering is crowned with a triumphant Resurrection.
On the path from the Cross to the Resurrection, the fundamental principles of Christianity are embodied for us: to deny ourselves, to forgive and be forgiven, to love others in order to make them happy, the purposefulness of life, sacrificing oneself for the sake of truth and thereby make our salvation whole.
Such was the whole course of mankind and the earthly life of Christ, and it was transmitted as grace to the apostles, and saints, which came down to us, and if we possess this grace, then we cease to be a crowd and become a holy people. Our future depends on our Christian position, like-minded image, and understanding of each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Today, many eyes are looking at us, examining our unity and drawing conclusions about whether this nation is capable of a united struggle, and whether it has the will, desire, and prudence to fight or not.
Today, our Motherland is going through an uninterrupted path of trials, and we are celebrating the wonderful feast of the Resurrection: these two contradictory realities actually complement each other. On the path of struggle for justice, laurels of victory and glory do not always await us, often a crown of thorns falls to us, but when we fight for the Truth, for the will of God, and not for our ego, then the Resurrection occurs as a result of our efforts. Misfortune and suffering force us to recognize our shortcomings and delusions. As a result, we discover a transient and vain earthly, striving for eternal and enduring blessings. Christ by his example teaches us that the greatest secret of human happiness lies in doing the will of God with all your being.
Nothing dishonors and grieves God so much as the unbelief of man. The whole purpose of Christ's saving work was that man should love God and trust him. God is constantly trying to awaken faith in people with His promises and grace. The main way to awaken grace and strengthen faith is the Covenant. In difficult situations, the Covenant should become a spiritual anchor and a guarantee that the promise of God will certainly be fulfilled.
We, as a nation and people, are not aloof from the covenants made with God and covenants so important to us 3.
- The first covenant is the family covenant, when God saved the righteous Noah and his family from the global flood and settled them on the slopes of Ararat, he gave humanity a new beginning.
- The second is the covenant made with Hayk Nahapet. God strengthened his hand, mind and soul, and Hayk, being the bearer of Christian ideas before Christianity, resisted the anti-divine plan of the evil Bel and, being faithful to the worship of the one God, laid the foundation for our first Armenian kingdom.
- God made a third covenant with us with His Page, by which Armenia enlightened the world and founded the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church. By this covenant, the Armenian people are bound by the Right of the Enlightener and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
Family, State, and Church, in these three dimensions, God made a covenant with our people, and if we remain faithful to these three important shrines, then our path will be a current leading to eternity, and our suffering will be crowned with the victory of the Resurrection.
Today, according to tradition, announcing to everyone about the Miraculous Resurrection of Christ, we will not change anything significant if what once happened does not become a living reality for us. We need the will to suffer and fight for our Faith and Motherland in order to rise again after that, because the path to glory lies through the Way of the Cross. Even today, our enemies, having become a tool in the hands of evil, having nailed the hands and feet of our people, the Artsakh world to the cross, complain that they managed to kill the truth. But just as the miraculous reality of the Resurrection was not included in the plans of evil, so our enemy does not see the possibility of our people to live and resurrect.
Therefore, dear ones, on this joyful holiday of the Resurrection, let's be filled with love and care for each other, strength for joint and patient overcoming of difficulties, let's be faithful to our covenant with God, and with our strong faith we will grant the Resurrection to our Motherland.
Christ is risen,
good news to us and to you