23 February 2020
Message of the Catholicos of All Armenians on the Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Published - 10 January 2020

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. 

“With the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”.

(Gal. 4:4-5)

Dear faithful,

While glorifying God in our heart, we greet you with life-giving good tidings of the Nativity of Christ: “Christ is Born and Revealed”. The feast of the Nativity of the Savior brings joy and delight to the entire Christian world. Today our hearts and souls are overflowing with such happiness, with which we have gathered to glorify the birth of Infant Jesus and to be renewed by the rejuvenating graces granted by Christ.

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, so that we might receive adoption as children”, says the Apostle. It is hard for a human mind to comprehend how infinite God could limit Himself  , how God the Creator could take up the likeness of a created man. In his beautiful hymn the father of our historiography, St. Movses Khorenatsi calls the marvelous event of Christ’s Holy Nativity “ The Great and Wonderous Mystery ”. He says, “He who is greater than heaven and earth, was swaddled and placed in a manger and dwelt in the holy grotto”. Indeed, this splendorous reality of the Holy Nativity can only be grasped through faith, as in the same way, through faith, God’s beneficent care and deeds become visible, and the Lord’s life-giving presence and influence are felt. Today, through our faith, alongside the shepherds we listen to the songs of glory and good tidings of angels. Through faith, together with the magi who came from the East, we see the Holy Family who found shelter in the grotto, and we bow down in front of new-born Jesus, who came, as told by the Apostle, so that we might receive adoption as children.

The Birth of Christ is a grace to value human life, to turn it into a new beginning, a new path which leads to knowing God and to receiving God’s adoption. Christ’s Birth is a testimony of an incomparable love, a witness of endless love for humankind. It is a sacrificial and  wholehearted love through which Almighty God descended from His heights, took up the image of a servant, while being the Lord, so that human lives may be led to salvation, to the heavenly kingdom; so that the feelings and thoughts of people could be cleansed and exalted, and so that their deeds would be just and righteous. One of the Church fathers, St. John Chrysostom teaches that adoption by God is the renewal of humankind. The Lord our Savior brings that very grace and power of inner transformation. Through Christ sins melt away, despair is vanished, fear turns into courage, enmity turns into love for others, slander and defamation turn into right mindedness and veraciousness and out of the hardship and sorrow the light of the Holy Nativity shines forth, bringing the hope and vision of new world, new life.

Dear faithful people, on this soul-renewing day of the Holy Nativity we also reflect with a sense of regret that in the midst of the diverse and contradictory developments of modern life, in the currents of secularisation and conformity, in soul-less rivalry and in the vast space of the new possibilities of communication, the message of the Birth of Christ is often lost. Dangerous imitations of true values are being promoted, which are stripped of the genuine principles of love of God and love of others and are built upon erroneous understanding and interpretation of freedom and rights. To withstand these new realities and changing times, we must stand firm in our faith in Christ, revaluating our past, choosing renewal and adoption. The presence of our faithful sons and daughters in the churches with prayerful and sacred feelings, the spiritual reverence in front of the manger of Infant Jesus, is our joint answer to the divine calling to live in Christ, to be renewed through Christ, to perpetuate in Christ. As a Christian nation, on this day full of the graces of the Birth of Christ, we once again are reaffirmed in steadfastness that we shall be more decisive in the witnessing of our Christian identity, that we shall build our national life upon love and solidarity, that we shall be united through our spiritual values, through our faith, around our sacred homeland and our Holy Church. By His Birth, Christ envisioned our path of being united with each other and with God. Let us proceed on that path, renewing and adorning our lives as well as the life of our homeland and our people.

With such wishes and Good Tidings of the Holy Nativity of Christ, we send greetings to the incumbents of the hierarchical sees of our Apostolic Holy Church; to His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, to the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude, Archbishop Nourhan Manougian and to the newly elected Patriarch of Constantinople, His Beatitude, Bishop Sahak Mashalian, and to the entire oath-bearing clergy of our Holy Church. With fraternal love in Christ we send Our greetings to the heads of our sister Churches and to their faithful. With pontifical blessing we greet and bring Our best wishes to the President of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Armen Sargsyan; to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Nikol Pashinyan, who is present at this celebration of Divine Liturgy, together with his distinguished wife. We extend our greetings to President Bako Sahakyan of the Republic of Artsakh; to Armenia’s state officials, and to the representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia. We bring our pontifical love, blessings and best wishes to all our faithful people around the world. 

On this soul-reviving day of the Holy Nativity, our beloved faithful, let us pray to our Saviour with the words of Catholicos St. Nerses Shnorhali. “Restorer of old things, restore also me, adorn anew!”. Let us pray that the heavenly gifts of restoration may improve the entire world, so that the lives of people and countries may grow in prosperity and so that the protection of the holy right Hand of God may always safeguard our homeland, our courageous defenders of our land, our sisters and brothers in the Middle East and in other places who face afflictions, and all our people around the world. May your lives and families be adorned with the life-restoring graces of the Saviour and heavenly gifts, and may God’s protection and blessings always remain with you.

Christ is born and revealed,

To you and us the Good News.