Prelate’s Easter Message


GOLGOTHA TO RESURRECTION: THE PATH TO GLORY

The Resurrection of Christ, the core of our Christian faith, stirs our hearts and souls once again with the inspiring and heartening promise of hope; hope that suffering will give way to triumph and glory. The Easter message is one of victory and liberation; it is triumph of life over the bonds of sin and death, of good over the dark forces of evil, of love over the destructive emotion of hate, and of truth and righteousness over the thin veil of falsehood. The power and promise of the Resurrection is ever-so consequential this year as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The path from the Cross to the Crown, from Golgotha to the right hand of the throne of God, was one of great suffering. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, was rejected, persecuted, mocked, spat on, struck, and with a crown of thorns upon His head, walked to Golgotha to be crucified. He was buried in a cave, laid in another man’s tomb, as those who sought to put an end to His mission were deemed victorious.
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His disciples were left distraught and defeated at the suffering their beloved teacher had endured; the accusations and slander, betrayal and arrest, condemnation and torture, and ultimately, His death on the Cross.

Behold, the veil of doubt was torn off and the trumpet of victory was blown on Sunday morning when Christ rose from the dead, trampling down death by death, and heralding the promise of everlasting life. Christ’s opponents had in vain tried to silence Him and put an end to His ministry, for the adversity and suffering they brought upon Him was the fulfillment of prophesy, “that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31).

The disciples who bore witness to the glorious vision of the Risen Christ took on a new life, one of revitalized faith and hope. Driven by the motivational words of their teacher, “Be encouraged, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33), they marched forward fearlessly, at the cost of their own lives, to illuminate the world with the life-saving and life-giving message of the Resurrection. Their path and mission was not an easy one. They endured persecution, torture, and death, but the followers of Christ did not waver. Strengthened and comforted by the Lord’s promise, that “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25), they became martyrs for the faith and were rewarded with the crown of eternal blessedness.

The Armenian nation has walked the path of Christ for the centuries since the illustrious disciples spread the Light of Christ to the Armenian people. We have lived through the turmoil of countless occupations, exiled from our lands, our identity and very existence threatened. Our path to an independent and Christian Armenia has not been a smooth one. It has been paved with the sweat and tears and the suffering and blood of our ancestors, from the fields of Avarayar to the Hamidian massacres, Adana and Smyrna, Sumgait and Baku, to the borders of Artsakh today, and most especially, the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The searing desert of Der Zor became the Armenian Golgotha, and the Euphrates, the tomb of our people.

But as the enemies of Christ in vain attempted to put an end to His life and ministry, so too did the enemies of the Armenian people in vain attempt to annihilate the Armenian people. Armed with the indestructible faith and hope of the Resurrection, the Armenian nation was reborn from the ashes of the Genocide. “Now thanks be to God Who always leads us in triumph in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14).

Dear faithful,

The Resurrection is our reality, our hope, our victory, and our path from suffering to glory. Our history has proven that “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). Our martyrs put on the full armor of God and always abided in Christ. They put aside self and shed their blood for the victory of protecting and preserving our faith and identity. And now, a century after their great sacrifice, they will be canonized into the sainthood for their martyrdom as a profession of faith. They crossed the path from untold suffering to “the riches of the glory of His inheritance” (Ephesians 1:18). “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10), blessed are our martyrs who will soon be our intercessors before God.

One hundred long years have passed. We lost our best and brightest, our most prominent intellectuals, clergy, writers, teachers, and professionals in all fields. Millions of Armenians were not born as a result of the Genocide. But if “tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4), as wrote the Apostle Paul, then we are a nation of extraordinary perseverance, character, and hope. From the early days of our history, to Der Zor and beyond, we have suffered but not faltered. We have risen again and again, and today, we have an independent homeland and ten million Armenians in the world to attest to our triumph. Furthermore, we have made significant contributions to the world with important innovations in various arenas including medicine, science, technology, arts, and more. Inspired by the legacy of our forefathers, the Armenian people will endure and will emerge victorious. As the heirs of a resurrected nation, we will persevere in our path as we remember and demand justice for our martyrs.

On this holiest of holy days, we extend our paternal love and blessings to our clergy, councils, parishes, schools, committees, sister organizations, and faithful parishioners, praying for the glory of the Risen Christ to fill us with a hope, joy, and peace which comes from God alone. May the transformative and enlivening message of the Resurrection continue to resonate throughout the hearts and souls of each and every Armenian individually and throughout our nation collectively, spurring us in our pursuit of truth and righteousness.

With faith, hope, patience, and with God and the truth on our side, our path will lead us to glory and we will stand up to our opponents and forcefully proclaim; “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55), for

CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD BLESSED IS THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

Prayerfully, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian Prelate, Western United States Easter 2015

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