Message from the Primate of the Artsakh diocese

Message from the Primate of the Artsakh Diocese, Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan, on the occasion of the Declaration of Independence Day of Artsakh

“Dear compatriots!

Today Artsakh is celebrating one of the most important days of its revival – February 20th.

On that day in 1988, the historic decision of the Regional Council of the NKAR to withdraw Artsakh from the Azerbaijan SSR and join the Armenian SSR was neither an end in itself nor an emotional outburst. This was the highest manifestation of the self-consciousness of our people and the protection of God-given rights to live freely in their historical homeland. Our clear position on the realization of our legal and moral rights to determine our own destiny, of course, met with strong resistance from Azerbaijan and turned into a bloody war. But, as we have seen, our people once again signed and sealed the declaration of February 20 with the blood of their devoted sons.

The historical record always reminds us that victory is given only in case of unity, as was the case in 1988, when thousands of people waited in the streets, under the snow, for that historic decision, when people's deputies made a historic decision, joining thousands of protesters, cheered with jubilation the first minutes and hours of independence and freedom. This was the reason for the unification of Armenians from all over the world in order to once again call for a national awakening.

Before the war of 2020, indeed, February 20 was for us the shelter of a heroic decision and a firm will to master it. It was a living and active reality. And today, when it seems that this fateful decision has become only the property of history, the results of which have already been lost, is it pointless to remember and overestimate it?

As a Christian nation, we must understand the simple truth that our struggle is an eternal struggle that has accompanied us for centuries since the days of Hayk Nahapet. This defeat was just one battle in this chain. In this context, the memory and re-evaluation of each heroic episode is always relevant. Therefore, today, more than ever, we need to return to the point from which the glorious Artsakh movement began. It was February 20, 1988. We must try to rediscover for ourselves the spirit and will, the national unity that gave birth to this national awakening, to understand what we had in these days that we do not have now. At the same time, we need to focus more on our mistakes that prevented us from maintaining our achievements.

The Bible gives us that key: «First of all seek the kingdom of heaven, and the rest will be given to you doubly.» It means putting aside personal, self-centered life, sincerely loving God, your neighbor, and homeland. If we live an impersonal life, then the homeland, the earth, and the material will be given to us doubly. In 1988, more people lived an impersonal life than in 30 peaceful years.

We pray that God will give us the wisdom to understand our real interests, to live with a bright vision of the future.

Artsakh was and will be Armenian, albeit at the cost of thousands of battles.

Congratulations on February 20."

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