Christ was born and appeared
“I am the light of the world; whoever follows Me will no longer wander in darkness, but he will have the light of life”
On this pre-Christmas evening, when some signs of spiritual darkness and uncertainty still remain in our national life and in our souls, these words of salvation come to dispel the darkness and sadness in our hearts: “I am the light of the world...”
In the book of Genesis, God's creation begins with the issuance of the command “Let there be Light...”, which expels cosmic darkness and uncertainty, chaos and begins all visible and invisible creation. But the mission of the Light arising from the Word of God does not end there, for, being an expression of infinite divine love, it naturally must be strong and continuous, as the Evangelist states: “It was the true Light, enlightening every person who comes into the world.” (John 1:9).
The miraculous Nativity of Jesus Christ was nothing more than a re-proclamation of the Divine Light of the Lord. God stooped down to the human level to restore the broken harmony of creation and stop humanity's descent back into chaos. The Armenian people were one of the first to meet the divine true Light, because they still carried in their subconscious the memory and traces of the pre-created light. Therefore, we called the spiritual renewal brought by Christ enlightenment, we called the apostles of our people and the official first patriarch Illuminators and began to consider ourselves the Sons of Light.
On this soul-restoring feast of the Nativity of Christ, which is a milestone for every Christian at the end of the year and the coming year, let us look back at our past years and try to shed light on the darkness of our inner worries and insecurities. Today we are deprived of one of the bright torches that united and inspired our national life in recent decades - Artsakh, and we thoughtfully ask: “Where will we get the light that is so necessary and vital for us, with which we will re-light our extinguished torch?”
However, God's salvation is not a one-sided and one-time action and involves approaching each other halfway. There is a famous painting by an English artist from the early 19th century called “The Light of the World.” In the darkness of the night, the Lord Jesus Christ is depicted, knocking on a closed and moss-covered door that does not have a handle on the outside. When asked why the door did not have a handle, the artist replied that the handle was inside. It is we who must open ourselves to the Light.”
From the moment we accepted the invitation to be the people of Christ and vowed to be the Sons of Light, the path of our lives and responsibilities changed: “To whom much is given, much will be required.” Therefore, when we step away from this light and our mission, we immediately begin to suffer its destructive consequences. Living witnesses to my word are all of us gathered here.
Artsakh, which has been fighting for its independence for decades, was left without Armenians for the first time in history. Our people, exhausted by a nine-month blockade by Azerbaijan and a humanitarian crisis, also put up heroic resistance on the battlefield. unfortunately, the forces were unequal, and Artsakh was left alone.
On this bright evening, we mentally move to two important temples. The first is the Church of the Holy Mother of God in Stepanakert, where even during the blockade the church on Christmas holidays was filled with indescribable love and warmth. Today, during the Liturgy here, when the legislative and executive authorities of Artsakh, headed by the President of Artsakh, Mr. Samvel Shahramanyan, pray with us in the front rows, it is like another festive Liturgy in the Church of the Holy Mother of God of Artsakh, where we had the great joy of enjoying the paternal presence and blessing of the Catholicos of All Armenians.
Your Holiness, on this feast, for the sake of our faithful people of Artsakh, we offer warm filial love and sincere gratitude for the fact that you have been a supporter of the sacred struggle for the liberation of Artsakh with constant dedication since then. years of leadership of the Ararat Diocese. We have always felt your Fatherly care and presence, especially in the days of our disaster, and even today, despite many obstacles, the Armenian Church unshakably continues to believe in the bright future of Armenian Artsakh.
Dear compatriots, the second temple that comes to mind is the Nativity Cathedral, a modest manger, kneeling before its dirty and modest grandeur, we are trying to understand why we were deprived of the first temple.
This year, tens of thousands of our compatriots will celebrate the Christmas holidays for the first time away from their home, but not in a foreign land, so we must envelop our brothers and sisters of Artsakh with such love and tenderness that they will begin to believe in their bright future again. Dear people of Artsakh, fill yourself with divine hope and optimism, live and work in Armenia, because this is the only way to preserve and realize the hope of return.
When a tree is carefully removed from the ground and its roots are not damaged, it becomes to a certain extent possible to plant it in another place, but it is impossible to remove a people whose roots have grown to their native land for centuries without damaging its roots. We were forcibly pulled out and torn from our century-old garden, but our roots remained there. Therefore, we must strive to reconnect with our roots, otherwise we, like a fruit tree, are doomed to wither.
This evening before Christmas, we pray for the steadfastness of our country and statehood, for the repose of the souls of our fallen soldiers, for the speedy return of our missing and captured children, as well as for our soldiers guarding the border. We also pray for the return of the captive leadership of Artsakh. We wish that Artsakh with its state structures will continue to exist in Mother Armenia, which will become the basis for returning to our native country.
Just as the shepherds and priests found the Child Jesus by following the Star of Bethlehem, so we can, with humility and wisdom, rediscover the ways of awakening our national life and our lost homeland by following the Christmas light. Artsakh is an Armenian paradise, and for Christians, returning to paradise is only possible through Jesus Christ. Therefore, dear believing sisters and brothers, kneeling before the humble manger of the Infant Jesus, we wish us all a return to paradise-Artsakh, with the help of Christ.