ETCHMIADZIN (Combined Sources)–Thousands flocked to the Etchmiadzin Mother See for the ceremonious blessing of the Holy Chrism presided over by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenia’s and delegations from Dioceses worldwide.
Catholicos Karekin II led the procession out to the St. Drtad open air altar, and joined by 12 Primates from the various Dioceses and in the presence of the political leaders and the public began the traditional process, which takes place every seven years.
Also present at the ceremony was Ecumenical Patriarch His Holiness Bartholomew I and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, representing Pope Benedict XVI from the Vatican.
The new Chrism is mixed in an ornate cauldron with the old chrism, symbolizing the passage of the holy water from generation to generation. A batch of the Chrism blessed in Antelias this June at the Great House of Cilicia was also added to the mixture.
“It is through the beneficent Will of God, that on this festive day of the Holy Cross of Varag, we have gathered together with joyful souls to bless the Holy Muron. We are together in our holiest site where Christ Himself descended, which was drawn with heavenly lights as the center of witness of faith and the altar of oath for our people and for all time. For continuous centuries, guided by the spirit of pilgrimage, our Armenian nation, reinforced and renewed with faith, sees their illuminated path to eternity ‘s their path to salvation and God. “So that this illuminates us with faith and we grow in the house of God; so that this renews us with the graces of the Holy Spirit and fills us, makes us fruitful and bountiful with the same.” (Catholicos of All Armenia’s Simeon of Yerevan). The God-granted and soul-sustaining mission of Holy Etchmiadzin, from the time of Saint Gregory our Illuminator, is dispersed and distributed through the Holy Muron to our churches, our hearths and Armenian life around the globe,” said the Catholicos in his remarks.
“On this grace-renewing day of the Blessing of the Holy Muron, we mixed the most noble, aromatic and healing liquids with the fruit of the olive tree ‘s the symbol of peace with our Creator. To this virtuous mixture, we combined the previous Muron, through which, we transmit the oil blessed by our Lord from generation to generation; and also mixed the newly made Muron of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia. We blessed it with our sacred and cherished relics ‘s with the saving Cross of our Lord, the Holy Lance, and the Holy Right Hand of Gregory the Illuminator. With the warmest prayers of our souls, we appealed for the intercession of our holy forefathers, so that the newly blessed Muron, through the permeation of the Holy Spirit, becomes “the seal of heavenly cleanliness”. We prayed that the seven virtues of heaven be distributed within our lives, and as God has directed, the Muron be and always remain sacred for all of us. Today, this Muron receives miraculous power with the heavenly graces of the Holy Spirit. Today, this substance, through prayer and entreaty, becomes conscious and alive, “I sanctify you, oil of the olive tree, in the name of Almighty God; so that all influences and powers of satan be persecuted by you, so that you become strengthened with blessing, to seal the Holy Spirit on all those whom you anoint, in the name of the Almighty Father and the Son ‘s our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Canon of the Blessing of the Muron),” explained the Catholicos.
“Through their ordination with Muron, clergymen are called to service at the holy altar of our Lord. Through the grace-bearing and grace-dispersing Muron, we are born from the baptismal font as the worthy people of God ‘s as the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church. Through the seal of the Holy Muron, we recognize, live, feel and protect our Armenian and Christian identity and our national wholeness. Sealed with Holy Muron, we have triumphed over all wars of life and death; over all campaigns for survival and endurance, for the sake of our faith and our homeland. Through the power and light of the Muron, we unite our past, present and the future of our children,” added the Catholicos.
“It is with these emotions and wishes what we welcome the presence of the president of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sarkisian; president of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, Bako Sahakian; and high-ranking state authorities of the Armenia’s; wishing them success in the progress of Armenia and Artsakh, and for the sake of the right of our people in Artsakh to live free,” said Karekin II.
“With our love in Christ, we extend our fraternal greetings to the incumbents of our hierarchal sees, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; His Beatitude Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem; and His Beatitude Mesrob Mutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople; asking for God’s blessing and assistance for their lives. We are happy on this joyous day for our people, to welcome in Holy Etchmiadzin our brother in Christ, Ecumenical Patriarch His All Holiness Bartholomew I, asking for God’s protection for his pious flock,” added the Catholicos.
On Monday, President Sarkisian met with the visiting religious delegation, which included Catholicos Karekin II, Patriarch Bartholomew I, Cardinal Sandri.
Greeting the guests, the President said: “The Chrism is of special symbolic importance for us. Every Armenian believes that after spreading it all over the world, the Chrism returns to Holy Etchmiadzin ‘s our religious center and it’s the spiritual magnetism of our people.”
Sarkisian stressed the importance of religion in maintaining peace and moral values, fighting against despair, immorality and temptations, since there are many temptations in the contemporary world.
Following the meeting the religious leaders visited the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Memorial Monument and laid a wreath in memory of the victims of the Genocide.