Pontifical Divine Liturgy for the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ
On January 6, on the Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the St. Gregory the Illuminator Mother Cathedral of Yerevan by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Under the singing of the hymn “Khorhurd Khorin”, the Pontifical procession led the Armenian Pontiff to the Altar from the Chapel of St. Trdat.
Assisting His Holiness during the Divine Liturgy were His Grace Bishop Moushegh Babayan, Grand Sacristan of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and His Grace Bishop Anushavan Jamkochyan, Dean of St. Gregory the Illuminator Mother Cathedral of Yerevan and Dean of the Theological Faculty of Yerevan State University.
During the Pontifical Divine Liturgy, the Catholicos of All Armenians extended His Pontifical Message to All Armenians worldwide, conveying to everyone the Good News “Christ is Born and Revealed”.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light is goodness, righteousness, and truth (Eph. 5:8-9)
Dear beloved faithful,
Today, on the feast of Holy Nativity and Epiphany, our Armenian nation, although grieving and heartbroken, but with unshaken faith, unbreakable in will and full of hope, bows down before Christ the child, who from the cave of Bethlehem shines as light and salvation to the entire world. With beautiful words of praise, the soul-stirring canticle conveys to us the wonder of the Holy Nativity. "O Birth-giver of God, tabernacle of light, you became the dawn of the Sun of righteousness and gave light to those of us who sit in darkness."
The birth of the Savior is an invitation to go from darkness to light, to God, and to be always with the Lord, to become worthy of heavenly blessings and eternity. Rejecting the Incarnate God, however, brings disasters, spreads evil and destruction. The feast of Holy Nativity is celebrated today by the entire Christian world with a prayer and request that the life of humanity be filled with renewal in Christ, and that nations and states can find the ways of peace and harmonious coexistence in the present world full of distress and conflicts.
In the 21st century, our people again suffered losses, were subjected to new trials, which, unfortunately, we were unable to overcome due to complicated geopolitical events, as well as for deviating from the path of goodness, justice, and truth.
Goodness among us was spoiled by the weeds of malice and treachery, justice was transformed into nepotism and retribution, truth was mutilated and distorted by lies and malicious deeds.
Such vices also caused division among our nation, splitting of efforts, defeats and losses of our sanctuaries and dignified life. In such manner, Artsakh remained alone during the days of disasters. Armenians from Artsakh were forcibly displaced from their homeland and became homeless.
But the Lord, who by his birth brought light into the darkness, shows that with God, every tribulation is transformed into victory, every suffering into divine reward, every difficulty into strength and power, and even death is transformed into eternity. With such realization and commitment, let us unite our efforts to overcome trials and reflect the truth of the evangelist's words in our lives: ‘And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:5)
Dearly beloved faithful in the homeland and in the diaspora, on the feast of the Holy Nativity and Epiphany, our Patriarchal message is that we should not turn our hearts into dark and cold caves of despair and sorrow, but turn them to be mangers, illuminated by the presence of Christ, where the urge and desire to offer God-pleasing deeds to Infant Jesus reign. Now, let us rely on the Lord who became human, stay strong in faith, be pioneers of goodness, love and truth everywhere, for the sake of our righteous and bright life. Let us be zealous for the strengthening of our state and unite together to stop with all our strength Azerbaijan's expansionist ambitions and encroachments. Let us eliminate artificially created gaps between us, let us live with love for each other, so that the vineyards of our nation and homeland will be brightened with heavenly blessing, as it is said in the Scriptures: ‘the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.’ (Isa. 9: 2; Matt. 4:16)
Inspired by the hopeful mystery of the feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany, we bring our Patriarchal encouragement to our people displaced from Artsakh. Dearly beloved, you have overcome and are now overcoming with unparalleled heroic and unbeatable spirit and with dignity, the hardships that afflicted you. Artsakh will never become a past for us. We will continue to cherish it in our hearts and souls, making every effort to protect the rights of Artsakh Armenians.
Stay full of hope, God will provide you and give blessings for the hardships you have endured. You are not alone in your difficulties. Your faithful brothers and sisters in our country and in the Diaspora are with you, who will continue to support and help you by all possible means. Together we will get out of the difficult situation and build a peaceful, prosperous and safe future for our people and homeland.
We believe in the dawn of our new life, because darkness cannot be a barrier to the sunrise. With the light of the morning, the luminous light of God shall shine in our souls as the canticle of St. Nerses the Graceful entreats. And, as the Lord says through the prophet: “My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation shall rise as light” (Isa. 51:5).
With such abundance of hope and faith, with the good tidings of the Holy Nativity, we bring our fraternal greetings to the incumbents of the Hierarchical Sees of our Holy Church: to His Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, to the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude, Archbishop Nourhan Manoukyan, to the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople His Beatitude, Archbishop Sahak Mashalyan, to the heads of the sister Churches, asking for the Savior's blessing and support with fruitful years in their pastoral ministry. We bring our Patriarchal love and kind wishes to the clergy of our Holy Church and to all our faithful people.
On this blessed day of Holy Nativity, we send our prayer to our Savior, the Lord.
O Jesus Christ, Son of God, you became incarnate for our salvation and came into the world with your infinite love for humanity and you have brought the light of heavenly graces into the souls of all those who believe in you. Give peace and prosperity to the world and our motherland. Free us from all evil and ill, grant comfort to our hearts troubled and saddened by the horrors of war and heavy losses. Pardon us and grant us forgiveness, so that sins and failures do not block the way for us to realize our dreams and the sources of your infinite goodness and inexhaustible mercy. Protect our brave soldiers guarding the borders of the motherland with your holy hand. Promptly bring back the captured Armenians who are being held hostage, as well as to our missing ones. Grant heavenly rest and brightness to our heroic martyrs who died in the war.
Let your bright presence shine in the amongst all Armenians, as in the Christmas manger, so that with you we can face all trials with strength and move towards the victorious future of our people, glorifying you with the Father and the Holy Spirit now and always and forever and ever.
Christ is born and revealed
Good tidings to you and us
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the Blessing of the Water was performed, during which the Catholicos of All Armenians blessed the water with a cross and Holy Myron. This year's Godfather of the cross is Aramayis Kamalov, a Moscow-based doctor and academician, originally from Shushi.
At the end of the Water Blessing ceremony, His Holiness the Patriarch once again conveyed his blessing and good news of Christmas to the faithful people present.