Christmas, Blessing of the Water Celebrated in Armenia


President Serge Sargisian and his wife, Rita, walk with Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II in Echmiadzin on Armenian Christmas Day.

YEREVAN — Hundreds of Armenians attended the Holy Mass performed by the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church Karekin II in Echmiadzin, which is the seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians, to celebrate Christmas Friday.

President Serge Sargisian, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and other high-ranking officials attended the ceremony. Representatives of foreign embassies in Armenia were also invited to the event.

After the two-hour Holy Mass in the Holy Mother of God Cathedral in Echmiadzin crowds of believers surrounded the Catholicos of All Armenians, to touch his hand.

In his sermon on Armenian Christmas, Karekin II urged Armenians to return to the church and start embracing its values, if they want happier lives.

“Through Christ, God’s love was revealed to mankind; the Son of God came into the world to eliminate sin, dissipate the darkness of death and to lead humanity to its Creator — to accept everlasting life.  Through Christ, divine love is dispersed throughout the world entire — over man and nature — to always renew and fill it with life and joy.  However a way of life opposed to the divine will turns life into a focus of problems and challenges.  Let us look at the modern world.  It is burdened with manifold difficulties, deprivations, contradictions and conflicts.  The rejection of Christ and His commandments gives birth to wars and tragedies, harms our planet, becomes the cause of a weakening soul and spirituality, as well as the violent interruption of God-granted life – murder and suicide.  The universal crisis of our day, which is explained through political, economic and material causes, is also fundamentally a result of the alienation and straying from the luminous path that leads toward God, the rejection of the gifts of heavenly love by sinful ways.  Christ is life and in keeping his commandments, God’s love, truth, holiness, justice and mercy are implemented in this world, leading it towards the good and perfect, the full life that was our Lord’s earthly life, which was faith and love for the heavenly Father and blessing for mankind.”

He then offered blessings to everyone, singling out several leaders.

“On the soul-renewing occasion of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of our Lord, we greet the incumbents of the hierarchal sees of our Apostolic Holy Church with Christ-bequeathed love:  His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; His Eminence Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem; His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople; President Serge Sargsian of the Republic of Armenia and the First Lady, present here today for the Divine Liturgy; and the state officials of the Armenians. We extend greetings to President Bako Sahakian of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh.  We convey our pontifical love and blessings to the oath-bound clergy of our Church and to all our people dispersed throughout the world.  With the glad tiding of the Holy Nativity, we greet the spiritual heads of our Sister Churches and the representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia.”