The supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church has blamed a decline in “moral values” for conflicts around the world and urged Armenians to strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ in the face of grave challenges facing their nation.
“Humanity entered the 21st century with great unrest,” Catholicos Garegin II said in a homily delivered during a Christmas Mass celebrated at the main Armenian cathedral in Echmiadzin on Wednesday. “Conflicts, clash of geopolitical interests, crises and humanitarian disasters continue to disrupt the world, sowing intolerance and mistrust and spreading devastation, poverty, and suffering.”
“Across societies moral values are distorted,” he said at the liturgy attended by President Serzh Sarkisian. “Lies, addiction, murder and vice are commonplace, and the foundations of social and family life are being shaken.”
“Nothing is stable when the feeling of the presence of the Lord is diminished in mankind, and when everything from personal relationships to relations between nations is solely built on personal gains or coercion,” added Garegin. “Finding the peace of Christ means having love and happiness in families, and having solidarity and prosperity in civil society and countries.”
This “peace of souls,” Garegin went on, is also critical for defending Armenia against what he described as serious threats emanating from some of its neighbors.“For years, our country has found itself blockaded between Turkey and Azerbaijan,” he said. “The latter is committing provocations at our borders in order to trample the rights of the people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) to live freely.
“We believe that through initiation of peace and through strengthening of our faith in Christ, our people will turn their peaceful spirit into a stronghold against the aggression of the enemy, an indestructible shield against the encroachment of the borders of our homeland by heroically protecting our country and sacred values.”
The Armenian pontiff similarly deplored a decline in “traditional family values” when he presided over a Christmas Mass at the Echmiadzin cathedral two years ago. He said freedom of expression is increasingly abused by people in Armenia and around the world to the detriment of “the truth” embodied by Christ.