Message from the Primate of the Artsakh Diocese on the feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God
Humility is the mother of all virtues,
And the first offspring of humility is God's fear
Dear believing sisters and brothers
The first reality that comes to mind when we think about the Holy Mother of God is humility.
Today we have gathered again to celebrate together one of the five Lord's feasts of our Church - the wonderful feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God. Who is the Mother of God, who is that mysterious Woman who for thousands of years inspires reverence in Herself, who consoles the suffering and brokenhearted? Thanks to her perfect humility and complete submission to the will of God, this young girl received inexpressible grace to be the earthly parent of the Only Begotten Son of God. The image of the Mother of God is a living and lived Gospel for every Christian, because She, like the Son, began the path of her conscious life with obedience to the will of God, spreading love and care around Her, and fully experiencing the suffering of Her Son, she received a heavenly crown, which does not fade.
The history of the Assumption is not recorded in the Gospels and has come down to us through Holy Tradition. According to legend, when twelve years had passed from the ascension of the Savior and when the Holy Virgin was supposed to fall asleep, the Archangel Gabriel came to Her thirty days ago, informing the Mother of God of the news of Her transfer from earth to heaven. When the Mother of God was already lying on her deathbed, She asked to serve the last Liturgy and partake of Holy Communion to Her, then, surrounded by many apostles, she repented in peace and the room was filled with an indescribable heavenly fragrance. When the Mother of God repented, believing women and holy virgins gathered and, according to the law, wrapped Her body in order to take it to the place previously mentioned by the Lord - Gethsemane, after which the apostles with psalms and blessings laid the blessed body in the tomb.
The apostles stayed in Jerusalem for several more days after the burial of the Mother of God. However, one of them, the Apostle Bartholomew, was not present at the Assumption of the Mother of God, and when he came and learned about what had happened, he was deeply saddened that he did not say goodbye to the Mother of God and did not receive the last blessing, like the other apostles. Then he began to beg Peter and others to show him the body of the Virgin. The apostles prayed with fear and trembling and willingly fulfilled the desire of their brother, opened the tomb, and found it empty. There was only the shroud of the Virgin Mary. At first, they were very surprised, but then they learned that the Mother of God had been transferred to great and bright glory, and glorified God with admiration.
This is the prehistory of the feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, which is the fourth of the five Lord's feasts of the Armenian Church and the oldest of the feasts dedicated to the Mother of God. On this joyful day, conflicting feelings filled our hearts and souls: on the one hand, the bitter reality that 120,000 of our relatives are still in a humanitarian crisis that is getting worse every day, on the other hand, the artificial obstacles that prevent us from being in Artsakh today and next to the people of Artsakh. And among these seemingly hopeless thoughts, the Mother of God appears before us, who went through suffering, her heart was pierced many times, but in the end, she saw the victory of the Resurrection and was transferred to heaven. When our Savior was sentenced to death on the cross, almost all of their own left Him, Mary did not leave Her Son to the end and, even ignoring the dangers that threatened her life, she remained faithful to the high calling of a mother given by God.
One of the favorite sayings of the inhabitants of Artsakh, at least in the last century, was the touching phrase “Mother Armenia” because the unjustly captured child always longed to return to the arms of his own mother. Before the 44-day war, the child seemed to have the opportunity to return home, because both the Mother and the child wanted it. But evil is constantly working to bring division into every strong family, and if each member of the house does not fight for the strength of the family, if he does not compromise with his desires, sooner or later the evil of division will creep in.
Under this ray, the atmosphere of indifference that reigns in the Motherland and in the Diaspora causes anxiety and incomprehensibility. Apart from individual compassionate people, by and large, there is still no necessary seriousness and awareness that the future of our country depends on every Armenian. Jesus walked the way of the cross to enter into His glory, but do we want to achieve this through entertainment? Such people are deeply mistaken, thinking that this is not their affair. When Artsakh was free, everyone came to enjoy the nature of Artsakh with great joy, and everyone was proud of our victories, but now where are these people? Are you really drawn only to a healthy and safe homeland, at a time when the wounded country needs your love and care more? Today the child is wounded and exhausted, and so is the mother, but we believe that every mother is like the Mother of God, if she does not break her connection with God, if she does not forget that she is the Mother, then she will be able to see the triumphant Resurrection and Ascension of her child.
If in politics there are no permanent friends, but there are permanent interests, then in the spiritual sphere the picture is very sad. Why does the entire Christian world, together with its pastors, turn a blind eye to the crucifixion of justice once again? As a humble servant of the Holy Altar of Christ, our request and exhortation is addressed to all Christian churches: “Look at Artsakh, which is the ancient cradle of Christianity, understand that the shrines of this land are common to all mankind, and when it is handed over to the hands of unbelievers and will be defiled, then everyone will answer to God, because your brothers were in trouble, they were sick, they were in prison, but you did not visit them (cf. Matt. 25:31-46).”
Dear compatriots, it was the perfect maternal love of the Mother of God that encouraged us in these difficult days for Artsakh to once again turn to the faithful Mother of all of us, who, with her inexhaustible mercy, who is familiar with our human weaknesses and shortcomings, will intercede before Her Only Begotten Son and our Lord. Therefore, with this vision, on the Saturday preceding the feast of the Assumption, we invited all of you, singing psalms and uniting the prayer of our hearts together in one common petition: “Holy Mother, intercede!”
May the Mother of God intercede for the peace of Artsakh and the unity of all Armenians.: