ETCHMIADZIN, Armenia—His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II issued on Thursday a pontifical encyclical on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Armenian Independence and the establishment of the first Republic of Armenia.
“We give thanks and praise to God, that our nation meets the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia and the heroic battles of May with restored statehood in Armenia and Artsakh and with achievements,” reads a part of the encyclical.
The Catholicos’s message goes on to explain that the first Republic was created during a tumultuous time for the Armenian people. “A century ago, our people were on the verge of life and death. Ottoman Turkey, taking advantage of the confusion of World War I, carried out its Armenian Genocide program. Western Armenia and Armenian settlements were ruined in Turkey, the Turkish troops even entered Eastern Armenia, thus threatening the existence of our people,” the encyclical reads.
The pontiff’s message highlights the important of unity and how the creation of the Republic came as a result of the collective will of the Armenian people: “Our whole nation that had united into one will and one soul, stood up to save the homeland, its life, its sacred places, to protect its right to live freely in the native land. Eastern Armenia was saved from ruin and massacre, and after a long pause of five and a half centuries the Armenian statehood was restored. Thanks to God, the heroic spirit of faith, patriotism and devotion united and defended our people that in their supreme effort under the auspices of the Armenian statehood raised their lives in the homeland and the Diaspora and walked on the path of ascension.”
The message also calls for the 100th anniversary to become an invitation for Armenians to remain dedicated to Armenia’s national awakening, to keep our homeland strong and to be consolidated in the homeland.
“This significant jubilee is also a new milestone for devoting ourselves to strengthening our country and national life, to continue consistent efforts for the settlement of the Artsakh issue, strengthening our army so that peace can be safeguarded within our homeland. The 100th jubilee brings a message of national unity, development of Motherland-Diaspora relations, and the re-establishment of unity in our Church,” the encyclical reads.