“Do not quench the Spirit”
(1 Thessalonians 5:19)
This message uplifts our hearts and brings healing to our suffering nation. Suffering has been infused in the blood of our people. It seems as though the journey of our nation and Motherland will never change, for it will be the path to Golgotha. Having faced this reality, we have thousand reasons to instill in the depth of our hearts the message of the Apostle “Do not quench the spirit.”
We will always follow the message of the Apostle which reminds us all that the journey of our nation has been in harmony with sufferings of Christ, our Lord. Yet it is also the journey leading to Christ’s Victorious Resurrection.
Tonight, gathered with clergy and faithful, we commemorate the memory of the saints of the first genocide of the 20th century. We also pray for the brave soldiers of our nation who sacrificed their lives in last year’s Artsakh War.
The commemoration of the saints of the genocide and the commemoration of the sacrificial lives of young and brave soldiers must be honored with due respect and renewed commitment for the sacred land of Armenia, for the holy traditions of our nation and for the trust in the upcoming generations. If we fail to do so, we then walk the path of doom.
“Do not quench the spirit.” This divine message, addressed to us all, must also echo in our being, for it reminds us the mission of our life “For Jesus, for the Motherland.”
Our ancestors have walked through turbulent paths of sufferings, knowing that through their sufferings, the doorway to everlasting life will open before them and us. Thus, the light of the Resurrection never faded away in their hearts. History has witnessed this reality and we attest to their sacrifice with resolute faith. Any attempt to show weakness in honoring their memory and demanding justice will be the tolerance and acceptance of injustice. In the history of our nation for the past 106 years, countless courageous milestones have been recorded despite the fact that we have been let down numerous times.
The Armenian spirit will be one of resilience against all odds, challenges and tribulations of the times. We carry within ourselves the sufferings of our ancestors yet what flows in our blood is the call for new life. Tonight’s Holy Badarak is dedicated to the sacred memory of our saints. Tonight’s badarak is the call of the spirit and is the invitation to rebirth so that we may become sons and daughters of a new nation. We must possess the vision of the victorious resurrection in enriching the gift of life with the creative will, with the love for our Motherland in leading our children with the vision of the new dawn.
The late Catholicos Vazken I has given us a clear message of the Resurrection through his exemplary life. He has seen the light of the resurrection in our nation’s life and has defined the resurrection of our nation following the genocide in the Battle of Sardarabad. He has called it an “act of a miracle and the stronghold empowering our Motherland.”
He has seen in the sufferings of our nation the light of the resurrection. “Guard and be awake so that the hope of the resurrection may never dwindle in your hearts for it is only through the quench of everlasting life that humanity excels and becomes creative. Without this commitment, the spirit of humanity is dead.”
The one and most important and practical act for our survival is the life lived with the faith in Resurrection.
The world is progressing in many ways yet our love and dedication for our Motherland, our Church and sacred traditions remains relentless. Nothing equals the sanctity of Holy of Holies, for a nation’s journey is enriched ultimately through the legacy of lasting spiritual and moral values.
Today, as we pray together in this Cathedral, we are united in spirit with our brothers and sisters who are leading their steps toward Tsitsernakaberd. The pinnacle which unites us, purifies our souls, strengthens our commitment, enforces on us all to render due respect for one another as tangible form of homage to our martyred saints. Therefore, let this day be the day of spiritual rebirth, the day of unity, the day to absorb the message of the Apostle, the day to remain in prayer, to love our Motherland, the day to infuse in our spirituality, the vision of the new dawn.
Archbishop HOVNAN DERDERIAN
April 23, 2021