Christmas Eve Candlelight Divine Liturgy in the St. Gayane Monastery
On January 05, on the Eve of the Feats of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; Candlelight Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the St. Gayane Monastery, which was attended by the members of the Brotherhood of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin; Artsakh President Mr. Samvel Shahramanyan, Armenian statesmen and pilgrim Armenians.
The Celebrant was His Grace Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan, Director of the Artsakh spiritual and cultural heritage office of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
Prior to the Divine Liturgy, an Evening Service was held and different Bible passages were read, then four Deacons of Mother See read the Prophecy of Daniel.
During the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence reflected on the sacrament of the Feast and stated in part: "The miraculous Nativity of Jesus Christ was nothing but the re-proclamation of the divine Light of Lights order. God condescended to restore the broken harmony of creation and halt humanity's descent back into chaos.
The Armenian people were one of the first to meet the divine true Light, because they still carried the memory and traces of the pre-created light in their subconscious sphere. Therefore, we called the spiritual renewal brought by Christ enlightenment, we called the apostles of our nation and the official first patriarch enlighteners, and we began to consider ourselves the Sons of Light."
The Celebrant urged the faithful to look back on their past years and try to shed light on the darkness of their inner concerns and uncertainty.
In his sermon, Bishop Vrtanes also referred to the loss of Artsakh.
"Artsakh, which has been fighting for its independence for decades, was completely depopulated for the first time in history. Exhausted as a result of the nine-month blockade implemented by Azerbaijan and the humanitarian crisis, our people showed heroic resistance on the battlefield as well, unfortunately, the forces were unequal, and Artsakh was alone," noted the Bishop, recording the pain in his heart that this year tens of thousands of Armenians from Artsakh will for the first time celebrate Christmas and New Year's holidays away from their cherished homes.
In this regard, His Grace Bishop Vrtanes told the faithful to wrap their brothers and sisters in Artsakh with love and warmth, so that they start believing in their bright future again, and he urged the people of Artsakh to be filled with divine hope and optimism, to live and create in Mother Armenia, because only in this way can they stay awake and realize their hope of return.
Bishop Vrtanes also expressed his filial love and sincere gratitude to His Holiness for the sake of the faithful people of Artsakh, despite many difficulties, for always supporting Artsakh and Artsakh Armenians with unfailing dedication.
At the conclusion, Bishop Vrtanes raised a prayer to God for the steadfastness of the Armenian country and statehood, for the peace of the souls of the brave martyrs, for the speedy return of the missing and captured Armenians, as well as for the Armenian soldiers guarding the border at the moment.
His Holiness ascended the Holy Alter and lit a candle, so that the faithful have the opportunity to light their own candles, and take the light to their home symbolizing the light of the revealed Son of God. Then, the Brotherhood of the Mother See gathered in the Pontifical Residence, where under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenian; a Christmas Home-Blessing Service was offered.