Sunday, 8 January 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Christian faith vital for Armenians, says Garegin

RFE/RL Report
Christian Faith Vital For Armenians, Says Garegin
January 06, 2017 

Faith in Christianity remains vital for the survival and prosperity of 
the Armenian people, Catholicos Garegin (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, Garegin 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," Garegin 
told hundreds of worshipers -- among them Prime Minister Karen 
Karapetian and other senior government officials -- attending at the 

"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 

"Let us be strengthened by the Lord, so that our hopes become a 
reality and our national goals are accomplished," added Garegin. "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 

The Apostolic Church, to which the vast majority of Armenians 
nominally belong, has traditionally marked Christmas on January 
6. Celebrations of the holiday start late on January 5 with Christmas 
Eve candlelight services held in churches in and outside 
Armenia. Christmas has been a public holiday in the South Caucasus 
country ever since the break-up of the Soviet Union. 

"Through Christ, the world, roiling in a tempest of sin, was renewed 
and humanity was graced with the chance to become new again by heeding 
the message of establishing peace, love and goodwill in the world," 
Garegin declared during the mass broadcast live by Armenian 

"Sadly, however, the sinful ways of evil persist in opposition to 
God," he said. "Wars, conflicts, and terrorism are unceasing; human 
rights are being violated, and genocides and cultural destruction have 
yet to receive their just condemnation. Greed and the craving to for 
riches lead to fraud and abuse causing human tragedies, polarization 
of society and social injustice. 

"Alongside kindness and honesty we witness hatred and treachery, and 
beside humility and dedication, we witness blind ambition and 
obsession for power." 

Adherence to Christianity represents "the hope of renewal" for the 
world, Garegin went on. "Christ's redemptive work in the world is the 
model for envisioning one's own mission in the establishment of 
national and universal good and working together to create the paths 
of happiness, progress, and achievements," he said. 

Garegin decried attempts to "build a world without God" in June 2016 
during a mass held in Echmiadzin in the presence of the visiting Pope 
Francis. He said they are at the root of political, socioeconomic and 
even environmental problems facing humanity. 

In a joint declaration issued at the time, Francis and Garegin 
similarly voiced concern at the declining role of religion and "the 
crisis of the family" in many Christian nations. In that regard, they 
reaffirmed their opposition to same-sex marriage. 

The statement also praised "the continuing and growing closeness" 
between the Roman Catholic and Armenian churches which was underscored 
by Francis's three-day visit to Armenia. 

Francis repeatedly paid tribute to Armenia's Christian heritage during 
the landmark trip. "For Armenia, faith in Christ has not been like a 
garment to be donned or doffed as circumstances or convenience 
dictate, but an essential part of its identity," the pontiff said at 
the Echmiadzin cathedral on June 24. 

Geo TV, Pakistan
Muslims and Christians pray at Aleppo church in show of inter-faith unity
Ali Imran Syed
Jan 6 2016 

ALEPPO: As rebels, Al-Qaeda, Daesh and Assad fight for control of war-ravaged Aleppo— hundreds of Muslims, Christians and Armenian gathered at a church to pray for peace, in an extra-ordinary show of inter-faith harmony. 

The prayers held at the Central Church in Eastern Aleppo was also attended by three French parliamentarians. 

The six-year long war has taken a toll especially on the youth who pray for a peaceful city. “I pray for not just a peaceful Aleppo but all of Syria,” said a young man attending the service. 

Although bombings have come to a halt in Aleppo following ceasefire, the peace remains shaky and citizens of the war-torn city are fearful of the ceasefire falling apart. 

Despite the uncertainty however, people here have not abandoned hope and continue to pray for peace. 

— the correspondent is visiting war-torn Syria to bring on-the-spot coverage for our readers 

Watch the video at 

The Guardian
Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas Day in Manchester, UK – in pictures

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