The Armenian faithful flocked to St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Cathedral in the Holy See in Antelias, Lebanon, on Easter Sunday, April 17. His Holiness Catholicos Aram I presided over the Divine Liturgy and delivered his Patriarchal Easter Message, calling the holiday a celebration of victory.

“The miraculous resurrection of Christ is a victory feast; the victory of heaven over an earth soiled with sin and corruption, over falsity and lies; the victory of eternity over what is temporary, the victory of the Kingdom of God over the kingdom of man,” His Holiness said.  

The Catholicos evoked the words pronounced by Christ upon his surprising apparition to his disciples following His resurrection: “Peace to you, do not be afraid.” His Holiness reminded the faithful that on Sunday of Resurrection the Lord comes to us to tell us, “Do not be afraid.”

His Holiness then spoke about the current developments in Armenia and Artsakh. He pointed out that the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia cannot remain indifferent to the situation. Addressing specifically Artsakh Armenians, he said, “People of Artsakh, we tell you we stand with you, in the strongest sense of the word,” the Catholicos said. “Independence and justice are God-given values and rights.”

The people of Artsakh “has collectively established and affirmed its independence on that land, where they have continuously lived and created.” Hence, he added, “the independence of a people cannot become a topic at the negotiation table.”

The Catholicos also expressed his concern over the serious challenges Armenia faces, saying he expects the leadership and the people of Armenia and Artsakh to stand firm in their collective will. The will and the right of a people to live free cannot be conditioned by any geopolitical circumstances.