Message of His Holiness Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians on the Nationwide Prayer for the sake of Artsakh

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, 2023 OCTOBER 01

Dear faithful people,

The souls of all of us are filled with infinite pain and deep concern. My Armenian nation is experiencing difficult and alarming days. Today, united in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and in Armenian churches throughout the Diaspora, we raise a prayer in support of our brothers and sisters in Artsakh, who, having been subjected to terrible suffering and inhuman deprivation, have taken the path of emigration. The world of Artsakh is being depopulated, the sacred land is once again orphaned.

It is with pain to reflect on this national tragedy that the inadequate response of the world to the aggressive, genocidal actions of Azerbaijan, the policy adopted by the authorities of the Republic of Armenia towards Artsakh and the divisiveness of our people led to the loss of Artsakh.

Today, the Republic of Armenia is facing the same threat; the dangers of loss of sovereignty and statehood are openly discussed. The security challenges, the territorial losses, the haste shown in the process of establishing peace under obvious coercion, as well as the ways of the government's communication with the public, have created an atmosphere of mistrust and brought about a just uprising, which in the created complex situation can lead to painful developments.

We urge the statesmen not to sow hatred, divide and weaken the people with new dividing lines, unbalanced words and expressions. In order to provide a dignified solution to the existing problems, to get the motherland out of this dangerous situation, it is necessary to act soberly, to correctly assess the geopolitical realities and to use all the expert potential and experience of our nation in the crisis that is deepening day by day, in order not to lead our country to new losses, especially considering the enemy's ambitions and belligerent rhetoric. The bloody picture of Artsakh is a testimony to the fact that the aggressive aspirations of the enemy are uncontrollable, and there is no discrimination in the choice of means.

We also urge the national, religious, public, and political structures to unite our people to face the current difficult challenges and act unitedly for the sake of guaranteeing the future of our country.

Dear people, in the face of ontological threats, our national unity and cohesion is imperative, because in unity is our power, in unity is the way to prevent the coming disaster. Now, let's live and act with love, with a high awareness of turning the pain of our losses into achievements, let's turn our will and spirit into a real awakening of national life and a united force for the protection of the rights of the Motherland and the people, let us testify with our lives the true dedication to the Motherland, the nation and our independent statehood cherished for centuries.

Beloved ones, in the current difficult conditions, we, as a people, have become, according to the words of the Apostle, "oppressed on all sides, but not depressed, longed for, but not desperate, persecuted, but not forsaken, afflicted, but not dead" (2 Cor. 4:8) :

Indeed, our faith, hope, patriotism and devotion to the nation can never be killed. That is why the Nationwide Prayer for Artsakh is not a prayer of hopelessness, not a prayer of sorrow, not a prayer of sorrow, but a prayer of hope and consolation, revival and resurrection.

Let this Nationwide Prayer gird us, and unite us as God's own people, with one and the same vision of strengthening the nation and the countrymen.

This moment is also an opportunity for us to reflect on the course of our lives, to remove anti-patriotic phenomena from us, to correct mistakes and shortcomings, in order to strengthen ourselves as a nation, state and Church.

The priceless symbol of our country, the world of Artsakh, is ours and is in our hearts, and the consciousness of Artsakh being Armenian will never weaken in generations.

Our dear pious children, let us pray together for our people of Artsakh and be kind and supportive to our exiled brothers and sisters, consoling them in their pain and troubles and showing the necessary care for their existence and needs.

Beloved children of Artsakh, be strong and resilient with your special brave spirit, remain steadfast in your faith and hope, continue to live and create, not succumbing to difficulties, and keep your love for Artsakh and your native heritage alive forever. All our people and the Church are with you and in these painful days with ready commitments to support you.

On this day of Nationwide Prayer, in support of our children of Artsakh, sacred relics are placed in a number of churches in Armenia for worship and fervent prayer of the faithful.

For the pilgrims coming to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Christ-bearing Holy Lance of Geghard was taken out as a sign of the terrible sufferings and victorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

With the power of the Holy Lance of Geghard, our people survived disasters, massacres and genocide, kept faith strong in hopelessness, revived hope in disbelief and turned love for good into a fight against evil.

With this confidence, let's send our prayer to God, saying: "Almighty Lord, grant us Your blessings and save us from dangers and trials. Give me the strength to withstand the attacks of evil, to rise above the blows. Keep the heavenly light of resurrection burning in our lives and keep us under the protection of Your Holy Right Hand. Keep in your care and blessings our brothers and sisters from Artsakh who are always loyal to you, suffering from deportation and going through hardships. Grant peace to the souls of those who died for national defense, healing to the wounded and afflicted, and freedom to our captive children. Beneficent and Almighty God, increase faith, hope and love in us so that we live according to Your will and ask for peace to the whole world and our homeland, prosperity and security for our people around the world, glorifying Your Most Holy Trinity with constant prayer."

May the grace, love and peace of our Savior Lord be with us and everyone today and always and forever. Amen."