Pontifical Encyclical Of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch And Catholicos Of All Armenians on the 850th Anniversary of the Death of Saint Nerses the Gracious
On March 5, with the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos oof All Armenians; the Brotherhood of the Mother See participated in the Divine Liturgy at the Saint Gayane Monastery. During the Divine Liturgy, the Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Karekin II was published, which was dedicated to the 850th anniversary of the death of the Holy Patriarch Nerses the Gracious.
Under the singing of the “Etchmiadzin I Hore” hymn, His Eminence Archbishop Vasken Mirzakhanyan, Director of the Office of Social Doctrine of the Mother See, placed the Pontifical Encyclical at the Holy Altar of Descent, which was read by His Grace Bishop Artak Tigranyan, Dean of the Monasteries of the Mother See.
KAREKIN II, SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST,
BY THE MERCY OF GOD AND THE WILL OF THE NATION CHIEF BISHOP AND CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS,
SUPREME PATRIARCH OF THE PAN-NATIONAL PREEMINENT ARARATIAN SEE
THE APOSTOLIC MOTHER CHURCH OF UNIVERSAL HOLY ETCHMIADZIN.
CHRIST-BEQUEATHED GREETINGS OF LOVE AND PONTIFICAL BLESSINGS
TO THE CATHOLICIOSATE OF THE GREAT HOUSE OF CILICIA,
TO THE ARMENIAN PATRIARCHATES
OF HOLY JERUSALEM AND CONSTANTINOPLE,
TO ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND DEACONS,
TO DIOCESAN ASSEMBLIES,
DIOCESAN AND PAROCHIAL COUNCILS AND OFFICERS,
AND TO ALL BELOVED FAITHFUL ARMENIAN PEOPLE
Awake, sons of the light, for the blessing of the Father of the light" (Prayer Book of the Holy Armenian Church),
“Shouting as an observer from a high watchtower God's command to listen to you”
With a deep sense of gratitude, this year we commemorate the 850th anniversary of the death of the Armenian Apostolic Patriarch Saint Nerses the Gracious.
Patriarch Saint Nerses the Gracious is one of the renowned and great Armenian Catholicoses, a brilliant theologian, a powerful preacher, poet and songwriter, historian and pedagogue. Patriarch Nerses IV, as a brave shepherd " The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11), who became a virtuous leader, a bright lighthouse for our people and a tireless worker of the Lord.
He expanded his fruitful mission from the Pontifical See established in Romkla. In the conditions of the exile of the Catholicos residence, Saint Nerses the Gracious, striving to keep the spiritual and national life of his people united and whole, always looking towards the motherland, praised the exceptional importance and significance of the Christ-based Armenian spiritual center of Holy Etchmiadzin. “Armenian Church, where the heavenly light fell on it, … the light became immeasurably larger, and the ray became unspeakable”.
The whole life and activity of Saint Nerses the Gracious was a glorification of God and a painstaking mission to bring people's hearts closer to God. He taught the commandments of the Lord to those who believed in his unfailing preaching- “wake up, sons of the light, for the blessing of the Father of the light”, “Shouting as an observer from a high watchtower God's command to listen to you”.
The Patriarch shepherded the flock of Armenians in difficult and disastrous times, bearing great pain and sorrow for the many children of our people who were exiled and became refugees. He directed his fatherly remarks to everyone, from princes to soldiers and construction workers, from bishops to priests, deacons and scribes, strengthening with faith and nourishing everyone with knowledge.
The words, significant works and treasures of St. Nerses the Gracious, with a unique thought process and enjoyable style, are directed to the preservation of the national-Christian identity of the Armenians, the elevation and crystallization of the spiritual and cultural life.
The products of the prolific pen of the Blessed Patriarch beautified the rituals of our Church, kept the Christian soul and mind of our people awake and illuminated its rocky path to new horizons of spiritual and national awakening.
Saint Nerses the Gracious had a great reputation and recognition in the international and inter-church shpere as well. Clerics and faithful in the Greek, Assyrian, and Latin Christian world were impressed and inspired by his virtuous behavior and scientific greatness.
Constantly relying on God's mercy, he made a hopeful effort for the loving cooperation of the Churches. The blessed Armenian Patriarch tried to dissolve the age-old division between the Christian Churches with an evangelical spirit; became a supporter of the unity of the Christian world describing the position of the Armenian Church with the formula "Unity is important, as well as freedom and love for all".
Beloved ones, the bright examples of the lives and works of the great children of the Armenian nation are a bright guide for generations. With the renewal of the memory of talented and famous Armenian persons, such as Patriarch Saint Nerses the Gracious, but also with encouraging exhortations, admonitions and encouragement, our people gained strength to face the trials, to live, to improve and to raise their lives on the path of progress and building a bright future.
The blessed Patriarch, by his bright example, still today, “Shouting as an observer from a high watchtower God's command to listen to you”, inspires the faithful according to the Apostolic commandment: “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us” (Tit. 2.7-8).
With this Pontifical Encyclical, we extend an invitation to the diocesan and national structures of our Holy Apostolic Church; scientific and educational institutions; charitable and patriotic organizations and all our people, to mark the indelible memory of Saint Nerses the Gracious through conferences, publications and ceremonies; to re-evaluate his legacy, which is always relevant in the national and church community; to honor the outstanding teacher of the Christian faith and the reformer of our national-spiritual life.
Before the Holy Altar of Descent we offer our prayers that the Almighty Lord, with the intercession of Saint Nerses the Gracious, protect and strengthen all our people with faith, hope and love, to face the difficulties affecting our lives and to realize the national aspirations of a bright future. May our Holy Armenian Apostolic Church always remain bright and steady under the most caring Holy Right Hand of the Lord. Amen!
CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS
Encyclical issued on the 3rd of March
In the Year of our Lord 2023 and in the date of the Armenians 1472
At the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin