(31 December 2023)
Dear faithful in the homeland and the diaspora,
On this New Year’s Eve, from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, we bring our pontifical love and best wishes to you all. The New Year is the borderline of the days that have become history and the hopeful future.
We welcome the dominical year of 2024 with deep concerns, filled with the relentless pain of immense losses in our hearts. We experienced a challenging year, but relying on the Lord, we look to the future of our nation with hope and optimism. In the face of the occupation and depopulation of Artsakh, the severe situation created around Armenia, and the existing problems, we must resolutely overcome the difficulties, keeping strong the dedication and love for our homeland and faith in our Almighty Lord.
Dearly beloved, whether in moments of joy or distress, our people have always relied on God, always drawn strength from the Most High, believing that God is with us. Undoubtedly, our people’s spiritual potential and strength of spirit will lead us to the revival and the triumphant resurgence of the Armenian life. We are the heirs of a nation that was in pain and suffered, but did not surrender, had experienced the genocide, but was not destroyed, was massacred, but did not die.
Certainly, the history of a people whose historical records are marked with beautiful testimonies of godliness and patriotism, with a ceaseless desire to live and create, cannot be interrupted. Trials often happen in peoples’ lives, but those nations that remain resilient in spirit and have faith in God, bravely face hardships and challenges. “The Lord is the hope of all those who trust in Him,” says the Psalmist (17:31).
Now, dear ones, let us renew ourselves in spirit and mind, let us be strengthened with hope, reflect on our progress and deeds with self-examination, correct the shortcomings and slips, let us not allow the division of hatred to be sown in the national life, the destructive adaptation and indifference to take root. Let us live a life adorned with faith, with God-bestowed love for each other, so that we feel God’s gracious presence amongst us. Let us “build ourselves up on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep ourselves in the love of God.”as the Apostle urges (Judas 1: 20-21).
Let us be united in Armenia and the Diaspora and use our collective efforts to protect national interests and to create a new dawn in the life of our countrymen and the nation. Let us realize that the motherland is the only sacred place where the prayers and dreams of Armenian generations of all times are stored, where the identity of the Armenians will continue to be formed, and from whose sacred land the Armenian people will continuously gain strength. Let us surround our sisters and brothers forcibly displaced from Artsakh with caring love; let us increase hope in them so that the vision of returning to native Artsakh never fades and faith in God remains strong. Let us support the needy and distressed and seek the help of the Most High for our missing and captured ones and their families.
And following the message of the Holy Scripture, let us not forget charity and sharing the resources we have with each other because such sacrifices please God (cf. Heb. 13:16), and this is the way to a pious and safe life of our people, this is the way towards the viability and permanence of our nation and state, nurtured with time-tested values.
Let us pray wholeheartedly, so that the Heavenly Lord keeps our homeland and the whole world in peace; so that with His support He spreads the grace of hope and love and the gift of victory to our homeland and to the lives of all Armenians passing through dangers,
today and always and forever, amen.
Happy and blessed New Year.