11, 2011

Remarks by Serzh Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia, on the Occasion of the 60th Birthday Anniversary of the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Garekin II

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Your Holiness,
President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Being present here and participating in this event is a great honor – the honor that I share with millions of brethren of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church. The hub of such spiritual unity is in Armenia, at the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, which shines the light upon the eyes of brothers and sisters around the world.

I stand here today as one of the millions, who has come to reaffirm his filial love and reverence for His Holiness Garekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, on the festive occasion of his 60th birth anniversary.

Your Holiness,

You and the priesthood of your generation have a special mission and a blessing. You chose the path of becoming spiritual servants of our Church in the era when it was not at all encouraged. Moreover, faith was at the time wrongfully downgraded, and believers persecuted for cherishing their faith.

That path of spiritual service began with the blessing of the late Vazgen I, Catholicos of All Armenians, who was a true symbol of our people’s faithfulness to our spiritual roots. During the decades of his leadership, the soft yet steady resistance helped to pave the way for our freedom and independence.

Vazgen I and his disciples, among whom was our Pontiff, did not allow the time to get out of joint. They prevented attempts to substitute true values with false idols. They came to assume the mission of the revival priests of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church.

Dear Compatriots,

Today, a powerful church-building movement has been formed in our fatherland and beyond under the leadership of His Holiness Garekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians. New magnficent churches are rising and those bended get a new life in our towns and villages as the embodiment of our love and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritual and moral betterment and individual return to the Mother Church is the main goal of the relentless work of His Holiness.

With this regard, his acute attention toward the works conducted with the younger generations is not accidental. And today these works are comprehensive and multifaceted – from the Armenian Homes to the Youth Federation of the Saint Armenian Apostolic Church. As a devout Christian, His Holiness is moderate and restrained in his words. In the world of self-praise around us, he avoids and does not encourage any advertisement of his activities. However, the benefits of his pontificate are anything but modest. The results of his humble service and confident and firm leadership are evident. He who has eyes shall see, and he who has ears will hear. It is the duty of each one of us to be by his side and to support the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church.

It is clear that the hard work and dedicated efforts of His Holiness have yielded fruit. Spirituality is on the rise in Armenia today. People are returning to their origins, to the faith and values of their ancestors in order to understand who they are, where they come from and where they are going.

These questions are never untimely.

The answers to these questions were brought to our ancestors by Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus, who brought to the Armenian land the preaching and the true word of the Bible.

The answers to these questions were given by Saint Gregory the Illuminator, whose light still shines as a beacon upon all of us.

The answers to these questions were made accessible for every Armenian through the assistance, efforts, and pains of Saint Mesrop and Saint Sahak, who established the Armenian schooling.

The answers to these questions are up to today given by Saint Vardan Mamikonian and his brave comrades in arms, from whom we have inherited genes that do not allow to rest those who incite hatred and hostility towards us.

The duty to treasure and cherish our Christian faith, love and morality, and our faith is a blessing for all of us. It is the liability of each one of us towards one another and towards mankind.

Your Holiness,

I once again congratulate you on this anniversary. The 12th anniversary of your enthronement has been marked several days ago - a time period during which the values treasured by our ancestors have been reinforced.

I am deeply convinced that morality, faith, and the Church are interconnected and interdependent. With millions of brethren of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church, I pray to Lord and ask for strength, vigor, and virtue for the accomplishment of your noble supreme mission.

God bless and protect the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and its devoted pontific.

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