YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Faith in Christianity remains vital for the survival and prosperity of the Armenian people, Catholicos Karekin II, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, insisted on Friday as he celebrated a Christmas mass at the Echmiadzin cathedral.
In his homily read out during the service, Karekin said Armenians must stick to what has been their dominant religion since the beginning of the 4th century. He also deplored violent conflicts, terrorism, injustice and other “sinful ways of evil” persisting around the world.
“The message of renewal in the Gospel and the apostolic exhortation have perpetually resonated with and sustained our people,” Karekin told hundreds of worshipers — among them Prime Minister Karen Karapetian and other senior government officials — attending at the liturgy.
“Life renewed by the Gospel for centuries has granted our people the fortitude of faith, strength of soul, and courage to be able to withstand tribulations, to endure hardships, and to create accomplishments worthy of written remembrance.”
“With this same spirit, we confront the illegal blockade of our homeland and military provocations that cost lives,” he said in a clear reference to Armenia’s unresolved conflicts with Azerbaijan and Turkey.
“Let us be strengthened by the Lord, so that our hopes become a reality and our national goals are accomplished,” added Karekin. “May we … keep the faith in our souls bright and, like the wise men, make fidelity and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ our life’s path and destination.”