Posted 16 September 2003 - 01:55 AM
As usual, MJ is twisting everything and using sophisms of all sorts. What is his point? That there be problems inside the Armenian Church as an institution? Who says there aren't? Does this imply we should reject our Faith?
Excerpts from Sermon Delivered by Fr. Vazken Movsesian
15 February 1998
Once again we are given an opportunity to reflect on Vartanantz
- a battle which took place in 451 A.D. Vartan has become a
hero for the Armenian people. He has a special place in the
Armenian soul. One of the first poems that Armenian children
are taught is a couple of verses claiming, "I am the grandchild
of Vartan." It's interesting, because we remember a war that we
have lost and yet we celebrate it. Today, I'd like to share
with you a few ideas about Vartanantz and its importance to us,
not merely as Armenians but as people.
Vartan is not just an Armenian hero. He's not only a warrior.
Rather, he's received one of the highest honors of the church,
he is a saint. We refer to him as saint Vartan. In fact, its
because of the Church that Vartan is remembered today. As all
the saints, Vartan too was a human being. He had all the
frailties of a human. He went through all the trials and
tribulations that we go through; however, he was able to rise
to the occasion and leave his mark in this world.
Let's go back to the time of the Battle of Vartanantz - to 451.
Christianity had only been accepted for 150 years. The
conversion of Armenia took place at the time of St. Gregory and
King Dirtad in 301. Don't think that Armenians woke up one day
and they were Christians. The conversion process took many
years (in fact, as we see, its still taking place). The Bible
was translated to Armenian in 431. But in this short time the
Light of Christ and had infected the soul and psyche of a vast
number of Armenians. For the first time, their new found faith
was going to be put to the test and they we willing to die
rather than betray their Christian faith.
I don't want to get into the details today about Hazgerd, Vasak
and the rest. What is important is that Vartan lead a battle of
the freedom of conscience. Christianity was part and parcel of
their being and the freedom to express themselves essential.
They wanted to express their faith in Christ Jesus in the same
manner that we did today - through the worship, scriptures and
the receiving of the Holy Communion. On the night of the
battle, Catholicos Hovsep and Ghevont the priest the troops in
prayer and they received Holy Communion - the body and blood of
The legacy that St. Vartan leaves us is one of self-
determination. We as people, being created in the image of God,
have the right to determine our own future. This characterizes
us human beings. But unfortunately, our psyche as a people has
been so battered that we may not believe this. If you think
about what we teach our children as Armenian history, it's very
negative. We talk about one defeat after another. We talk about
Armenians being killed, tortured, raped, massacred and being
the victims of Genocide. Have you ever asked yourself why
anyone would want to be a member of such a group? This negative
history creep into our collective psyche. We being to see our
selves as some dispensable commodity. We lose hope and we
believe in destiny rather than self-determination.
St. Vartan leaves us a legacy of self-determination. Throughout
history we've come to many crossroad, just as we do throughout
our lives. Self-determinations means we have the option to
choose which road we will take. If St. Vartan believed in
destiny, i.e., his fate was written in the stars or in the
grinds of his coffee cup, he would have folded his arms and
kicked back. Why fight? We're going to die anyway? Why buck the
system? Instead he stood up and knew that it was their right to
determine their own future. A person who cannot write his own
future is a slave. He might as well give up on life. But Christ
did not bring slavery. He brought freedom. Through the Church
Vartan understood that freedom. He understood Christ's word's
"I cam that you may have life and have it more abundantly," as
a promise that was already fulfilled.
God gives us the tools in life. He gives us intelligence,
talents and most importantly He gives us life. The rest is up
to us. We have the power to make or break life. But with that
power comes responsibility. We are responsible for our actions.
The childish approach is to blame an outside force - "the devil
made me do it!" The mature approach is to take the
responsibility for our actions. In our Church, the sacrament of
Penance is exactly that - taking the responsibility for our
The Battle of Vartanantz is not just a moment in history. It is
not a story or a memory. It is not some nationalistic holiday.
It is a commission. It is a call to action. It is a call to
determine our future and at the same time to take
responsibility for it. In other words, the Battle is not over.
That is what is so special about Vartanantz. It is a battle
which begins in 1500 years ago and its outcome will be
determined today! Vartanantz has not finished.
Vartanantz 451 is history. Vartanantz 1998 is reality. We are
the generation who will determine who won the war. As long as
we sit back idle and let the stars determine our destiny… as
long as we see the spiritual decay of our community and say,
"it's meant to be" … as long as we stay away from the Armenian
Church and Her Orthodox Faith… as long as we erect artificial
barriers between the different members of our community… as
long as we remain complacent about our faith and national
aspirations… we have lost! The Persians have won the war. But
every time we take charge of our lives… every time we spread
the love that Christ has taught us… every time we rise to the
occasion to demonstrate the Christian experience… Vartan has
not died in vain. We win the war.
Today, take with you the message of action. Whether its your
individual life or the life of the community, nothing will
happen unless you first decide that you need to get involved.
God empowers you to make a difference. Take hold of that power.
Don't abuse it, but at the same time don't let it slip through