Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
His Holiness Aram I based his Easter sermon on an exhortation by the Catholicos theologian Nerses the Gracious, in which the theologian describes Jesus as “The Gate to Life.” His Holiness said that today people, by falling into a self-centred hedonistic way of life, are in danger of forgetting God, to whom their lives belong. Referring to Nerses the Gracious’s image, he said that the gate to life had been closed by Adam and original sin, but had been opened once again with the coming of Jesus.
Through Jesus, God revealed himself to sinful humanity, which was alienated from the true source of life. He revealed himself to humanity because he loved them; He had created them in his image and had made them stewards of his creation. As it is written in the Bible, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. The hymn “Sourp Asdvadz” (Trisagion) chanted in the Armenian Church, reminds us that Jesus was born and was crucified for us, and with His Crucifixion and resurrection He gave us eternal life.
God sent His only Begotten Son so that humanity would be reborn and become ‘fruits’ of the New Creation. “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created” (James 1:18). Through the birth of Christ, humanity and the entire creation was renewed. Through Christ’s blood, sin disappeared; through His tomb, death was buried; through His death the old humanity died; and through His Resurrection, the God-given life was restored. Christ’s resurrection means victory over self-centered life; it is the victory of life over death; it is the beginning of new humanity and new creation.
In his conclusion, His Holiness Aram I exhorted the faithful not to be tempted by the attractions of the world and to turn to Christ, and remember the Apostles, who after witnessing and experiencing the Resurrection of Jesus, declared, “we were made alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (Ephisians 2:5). Therefore, “…to live is Christ…” (Philippians 1:21). At the end the Catholicos asked the faithful to join him in besieging Christ to lead them to the Gate to eternal life, to Him.
At the end of the Easter message His Holiness Aram I sent his pontifical blessings and greeted with Christian love, Serge Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia and Pako Sahakian, President of Nagorno Karabagh; he greeted with brotherly love His Holiness Karekin II Catholicos of all Armenians and the Armenian Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Constantinople and he blessed the prelates, clergy, leadership and the faithful of the Catholicosate of Cilicia.