Following the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord, life in Holy Land was thrown into a dark turmoil marked by uprisings and violent retaliations, death, suffering, occupations, and invasions. During this period, Christians experienced persecution and they saw pagan temples and shrines rise over the holy sites connected to the life and ministry of the Lord in a deliberate effort to contain and prevent the spread of the new faith. Twice during this time, the most beloved symbol of the Christian faith – the Holy Cross, was lost, once buried under a pagan temple and then taken to captivity in Persia. There was a period during this time when Jews and Christians alike were forbidden from entering the Holy City altogether. All they could do was to catch a glimpse of their homes and the Holy City from the nearby hilltops and hope for a miracle.
During the last several weeks and months, over and over, we were exposed to heartbreaking scenes of Armenians trying to catch a precious glimpse of their lost homes, towns, and villages in Artsakh from the nearby roads and hills. We watched videos of how residents of Aghavno, Nerkin Soos, and Bertsor slow down their cars on the newly constructed highway connecting Armenia to Artsakh, so for a brief moment, they could perhaps see and check on their homes where their children were born and brought up. We saw how Armenians in Karvachar stand in grief and loss in front of the doorsteps of their homes and take one last look into their homes before setting them ablaze and embracing the uncertainty of forced deportation.
It is as if history repeats itself, subjecting our nation to forced deportation, murder and cultural genocide. The catastrophic turn of events divided the Armenian society and resulted in profound disappointment. So it is not surprising that some consider this to be the beginning of the end for the independent Armenian state, while others blame each other for the fall of Artsakh. Many see our current situation as utterly hopeless and beyond our ability as a nation ever to recover and restore justice.
Today, we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It recalls the two important events when the Holy Cross, though lost, was found and returned to the faithful. But today, we do not simply recall historical events but rather celebrate hope. It is important to note that both events – the discovery of the lost Holy Cross in Jerusalem and its return from captivity in Persia were not achieved through a divine miracle alone but also through human effort and faith. The feast of Exaltation is a reminder that though we live in a broken world where justice is often trampled upon and violated, it will always prevail if we trust in God and are willing to work along with Him, fight for justice and help God restore it.
I believe that today, more than ever, we need to exalt the Holy Cross in our national life as the first Christian nation, in our families, communities and personal lives. I believe that the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is a reminder that God rules the hearts of kings and kingdoms of this world and as He raised leaders who found, liberated and exalted the Holy Cross, He will also give our suffering nation a leader who will guide us out of this period of shame, humiliation and defeat. I believe those who put their trust in the Lord will never be ashamed and disappointed because he will always be there with his children to heal their wounds, strengthen them with his peace and guide them with his wisdom.
Mishael Amos Maikanti says:September 14, 2022 at 2:31 pm
My sincere thoughts and prayers are with you…
God bless Armenia and God bless His church universal Amen.
with love from Nigeria.