Prayer Service Dedicated to the Captives and Missing was Offered in the Mother See
“Let us be united and brave in these difficult post-war days, let us remain strong in faith and hope”: His Holiness Karekin II
On January 10, following the Divine Liturgy, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; a Special Prayer was held dedicated to the captives and the missing people of the Artsakh war and for their return home, in all the Churches.
The Brotherhood of the Mother See, presided by the Catholicos of All Armenians; took part in the Divine Liturgy in the St. Gayane Monastery. Following the Divine Liturgy, under the Presidency of His Holiness, the Special Prayer was held, then, the Catholicos of All Armenians delivered His speech to the faithful.
MESSAGE OF THE ARMENIAN PONTIFF DURING THE PRAYER SERVICE DEDICATED TO THE CAPTIVES AND MISSING
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”.
Dear faithful Armenian sons,
Today, we have united in our Holy Churches to pray to God for our brave sons captured or missing during the Artsakh war.
Together with the fathers and mothers, wives and children of our soldiers, we all cherish in our hearts the hope of our sons returning home. Our hope is not a simple feeling, a desire, or optimism, but a trust based on God's faithful love. It is never embarrassing, as the apostle says, because God has spread His love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. It is this hope that strengthens us to pray fervently, and wait hopefully to the immediate freedom of our captive sons, and finding of the missing ones.
Unfortunately, the Artsakh conflict was impossible to resolve through a peaceful negotiation process. The Azerbaijani authorities were inclined to solve the conflict trough the military means, which happened. The war disrupted the peace and security of the region, causing our people heavy human and territorial losses, endless sorrow and pain. The Azerbaijani authorities continue the same behavior today, along with territorial aspirations, manipulating the issue of returning the captives, searching for the missing ones, and extraditing the bodies of the victims. Our captive sons are being treated inhumanely; the norms of international humanitarian law concerning the captives are being violated. The applications and exhortations of the countries and international human rights organizations, that value human life, dignity and rights, are being ignored. Our call and expectation is that in support of the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, along with His Holiness Kiril I, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade, Grand Mufti of the Muslims of the Caucasus, in the spirit of our trilateral meetings, the Spiritual Leader of Azerbaijani should make a necessary contribution to the freedom of the captives, as well as, humanitarian operations related to the killed and missing soldiers.
We express our gratitude to the President of the Russian Federation Mr. Vladimir Putin, for his personal efforts to end the war, peacekeeping and humanitarian activities. We express our heartfelt gratitude to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia for his support to our people and the Church in these difficult days. We would also like to express our appreciation to the peacekeeping forces deployed in Artsakh, to all organizations and individuals who take continuous measures to resolve the situation and the current problems fairly. The peace remains stable only on the basis of justice, as the Bible testifies: " Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 84:11).
Dear faithful sons, let us be united and brave in these difficult post-war days, let us remain strong in faith and hope; to overcome the horrors of the war we have faced, to face the difficulties and forge the bright future of our homeland. We also urge to the servants of our Holy Church to continue their pastoral care with the same vision and zeal, and support those injured by the war, and comfort the families of the captives and the missing with messages of hope and faith of the Gospel, comfort the families of the captives and the missing.
At this moment, dear ones, with a heartfelt prayer on our lips, let us ask the Heavenly Lord for the Blessings and support of the Most Holy Trinity to the life of our homeland and our people all over the world, asking that heavenly graces, love and peace be with us all. With the prayer of our faithful children, We claim to the benevolent Lord the Savior for the captives, the missing, the wounded and their families.
Merciful God, You sent Your Only Begotten Son to heal the brokenhearted, to preach freedom to the captives; We beg You to grant mercy to our captives with Your Divine Mercy, have mercy on our captives so that they may return home safe and sound.
Send your angel of peace to strengthen all the fathers and mothers, relatives, wives and children who are waiting with heartbeats to the return of the captured and missing soldiers, grant them the joy of seeing their loved ones.
Dear Lord, strengthen those who make great efforts to release the captives, to find the missing ones and the unburied bodies of our fallen martyrs, and hand them over to their families.
Now, Merciful God, listen to the kneeling prayers and requests of Your people who trust in You, help and support them, grant them courage and firm spirit in difficulties and hardships, fill their hearts with the hope and faith of a good and bright day.
Almighty God, We pray from the depths of our hearts and believe, that you will grant freedom to our captive children; we all are looking forward to their return, in order to glorify together with them to Your Most Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now, always and forever... Amen.”