KAREKIN II, SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST
BY THE MERCY OF GOD AND THE WILL OF MY NATION
CHIEF BISHOP AND CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS,
SUPREME PATRIARCH OF THE PAN-NATIONAL PREEMINENT ARARATIAN SEE
OF THE APOSTOLIC MOTHER CHURCH OF UNIVERSAL HOLY ETCHMIADZIN
CHRIST-BEQUEATHED GREETINGS OF LOVE AND PONTIFICAL BLESSINGS TO THE
CATHOLICIOSATE OF THE GREAT HOUSE OF CILICIA, TO THE ARMENIAN
PATRIARCHATES OF HOLY JERUSALEM AND CONSTANTINOPLE, TO ARCHBISHOPS,
BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND DEACONS, TO DIOCESAN ASSEMBLIES, DIOCESAN AND PAROCHIAL
COUNCILS AND OFFICERS, AND TO ALL BELOVED FAITHFUL ARMENIAN PEOPLE.
“Let us build the Holy Altar of Light”
From the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, we extend our paternal love and pontifical blessings to our faithful nation, both in the Homeland and the Diaspora, with thankful prayers to God and with the joy of the Feast of Holy Etchmiadzin. The true light of faith, which was borne in the land of Armenia through the evangelization of the holy apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew, radiated anew in the life of our people. By the vision of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the efforts of St. Drtad, the King, and the inspired participation of the faithful people, arose the Holy of Holies of All Armenians – the everlasting torch of our faith, the wondrous witness of our unyielding faithfulness and unbreakable covenant with God – Holy Etchmiadzin. Through the Descent of our Savior Jesus Christ, our land and our people received divine heavenly graces.
The Mother Cathedral is a beautiful spiritual pearl to which the hearts of the sons and daughters of our nation around the world are attached. “To the Right Hand [of St. Gregory Illuminator]and to Holy Etchmiadzin the whole of the Armenian nation is bound.” In this beautiful phrase the historian characterizes the crystallization of the feelings of love of our people toward Holy Etchmiadzin that they have held throughout the centuries. Truly, Holy Etchmiadzin has become the God-founded source of all blessings in our national and spiritual life, the bountiful spring of spiritual renewal, the outpouring provider of Holy Muron – the manifestation of graces of the Holy Spirit; it encourages and renews the faith of the Armenians. The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, with its magnificent cathedral, crowned by the Holy Descent of the Only Begotten Son, was and will forever be the spiritual center of our people all over the world, the pride and glory transmitted from generation to generation, the sanctified and beloved Bethlehem of the Armenians.
Throughout centuries our people have restored Holy Etchmiadzin and have kept it in splendor, following the call of St. Gregory: “Let us build the Holy Altar of Light.” St. Gregory’s exhortation is a staunch testimony of his commitment to build an edifice that displays enduring love for the Exalted God. Throughout time, thanks to the efforts of the Armenian Catholicoi, the Mother Cathedral has been continuously adorned with frescos and icons, by building altars, bell-towers and vestries, through showing persisting care toward the sacred site, so that the Christ-founded sacred cradle may perpetually shine and radiate light, “for out of this place, light was borne to us in Armenia”.
The invitation of St. Gregory the Illuminator echoes in our life today as well, encouraging us to keep the spiritual center of all Armenians prosperous and radiant. Today, the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin is in dire need of renovation, an immense endeavor that requires the reinforcement of the Cathedral’s walls, in order to prevent it from the danger of collapse.
Necessary repair works have already been undertaken in the Mother See in order to preserve, strengthen and bedeck the Cathedral, our sacred site. These renovations, however, are extensive and require great resources and the assistance of all Armenians. Hence, we appeal to you, beloved faithful, with the call of St. Gregory the Illuminator “let us build the Holy Altar of Light.”
United, let us renovate the Holy Altar of our national-ecclesiastical life – the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. By the heartfelt expressions of your spirit, which you have always showed toward the Mother See, participate in the restoration of our Holy of Holies. Holy Etchmiadzin – our nurturing mother needs our help today so that it may continue its eternal mission in the life of our people. Through Holy Etchmiadzin, we shall always keep our covenant with God strong and remain united in love with our homeland, nation, Holy Church, and our sacred values. We firmly believe that the profession of faith of our nation has remained the same throughout centuries, against trials and difficulties. That courageous spirit is encapsulated in the following statement, “We recognize as our father the Holy Gospel, and as mother, the Holy Apostolic Church” as quoted by St. Yeghishe, the 5th century historian.
Our beloved sons and daughters, we hereby urge you to contribution to the renovation of the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, adding praiseworthy works to your faithful life and name, following the example of our forefathers.
To spearhead and coordinated the pan-Armenian fundraising efforts, for the renovation of the Holy Cathedral, a working committee has been formed by the Supreme Spiritual Council, led by the Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. Our exhortation to our dioceses, parishes and faithful Armenians all over the world is to join forces and actively collaborate with the working committee, thus participating in the sacred mission of restoration of the Christ-founded Cathedral through generous contributions.
From the depths of Our heart, we pray to God so that the Exalted Lord may protect all of you, our beloved, faithful and devoted sons and daughters, under His provident protection, and shower you with abundant blessings. We pray so that your resolute dedication to the Mother Church and our nation may remain steadfast and your patriotism may never wane. May the graces of God protect the entire Armenian nation, keep our homeland strong and in peace, our statehood unshakable, our Apostolic Holy Church always prosperous and opulent.
“Heavenly King, keep Your Church unmoved, and keep those who worship Your name in peace, amen.”
CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS
This encyclical was given on the 23 of June
In the year of our Lord 2019 and in the Armenian Year ….
In the Mother monastery of Holy Etchmiadzin