ETCHMIADZIN–His Holiness Karekin II–Catholicos of All Armenia’s delivered the traditional Catholicos’ New Year’s message Saturday. Karekin Ii congratulated the entire Armenian nation on the momentous occasion calling for optimism and hope in the new year.
In his message the Catholicos also spoke of the heartache and pain of the Armenian nation over the last year–as the Armenian people lost leaders both in the religious and political world. "As we enter the year 2000 and bid farewell to 1999–we are certain that the past year will go down in our history as a year of great trial and painful loss. The souls of His Holiness Karekin I–National Assembly Speaker Karen Demirchian–Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkissian–and the six senior government officials have not been purged of our pain and sorrow yet. We are all concerned. The tense political and socio-economic situation in our Homeland weigh down on all of us," the Catholicos said. "Despite this however–we greet the New Year with optimism–as we celebrate the beginning of a new century–marked by the jubilee of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Along with the rest of the Christian world–we–too–shall celebrate and commemorate the New Year and the birth of Jesus Christ."
The Catholicos went on to call for continued faith in the strength of the Armenian nation to come together and conquer various obstacles. "I believe in the strength of our nation to create and to build. I am proud of our ability to live–to survive–to be victorious to be patient–and to sacrifice. I am content to know that even in times of dire strait we are able to have hope and to believe in God."
"t the dawn of this new millennium," the Catholicos continued–"we are reminded of an era gone by–with all its pleasant–painful–victorious and otherwise uneventful happenings."
The Catholicos explained that that past Century was marked by scientific and technological advances–as well as financial success for many. He noted–however–that in this success–the spirit of God and his presence was more often left out–and he called on the Armenian nation to reverse that in the new century. In addition–the Catholicos called for equality and fairness in all aspects of life. "We direct our New Year prayers to the Almighty God–asking Him to bless our people and our church. Happy New Year. May we all be blessed," concluded the Catholicos.