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  • The contemplation of the Catholicos Patriarch Raphael Bedros XXI Minassian․ “The Catholic Christ is no different from the Orthodox Christ”

    “…we work hard and persistently for unity; our goal is to bring others closer to our principles.”

     “Thank you for this precious opportunity!” With these words, Patriarch Raphael Bedros XXI Minassian, began his reflection on the opening ceremony of the Christian Union’s prayer week at  St. Elijah-St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic Church, which was attended by representatives of Christian communities in Lebanon, including  Apostolic Nuncio Joseph Spiteri, Patriarch of the Maronites Pshara Putoros Ray, Assyrian Patriarch Youssef Yunan,  Patriarch of Melkinder Joseph Apsin, Latin Church leader Cesar Yesayan, Archbishop Shahe Panossian, Mkrtich Karakozyan, the Bishop of Chaldea, Michel Kassarji, Bishop George Salipan of the Assyrian Orthodox Church, the bishops of the Coptic and Assyrian churches.

    The Armenian Patriarch Catholicos of the House of Cilicia recalled the prayer of repentance of every Christian. “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned in thought, word and dee!” urging everyone to repeat that prayer today and to ask for forgiveness “for the sin committed against our Church unity.”



    We sinned against the unity

    “We have sinned and we must repent and avoid the paths that lead us to sin, because repentance is not only in words but also in deeds,” said Patriarch Raphael Bedros XXI, emphasizing that “many times words do not correspond to deeds. We want a unity, but we do not understand its full meaning.”

    “We are scattered on the Earth, we are in the midst of individual and collective selfishness, we have forgotten our Savior. We have analyzed and explained the sacrament of salvation according to our will and our personal concept, but we have forgotten its true purpose, which is salvation,” said the Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church, emphasizing that “we work hard and persistently for unity, our goal is to bring others closer to our principles, and like the Roman soldiers who fought under the cross for the garment of Christ, we argue over that same garment.”



    Christ was born for all humanity

    “But Christ was not born and crucified only for a certain group, but for the salvation of all nations and all humanity,” the Patriarch affirmed, urging us to “look at the light of Bethlehem”, where the Savior was born, and from there “spread that light of salvation which was preached to the pastors, the magi, and it came down to us that through baptism and sealing we belong to Christ, who is born every day in every church, through the sacrament of Holy Sacrament, and that “Christ is the same for all churches.”



    Prayer is a weapon against division

    The Armenian Catholic Patriarch offers the “weapon of prayer” as a remedy for divisions and misunderstandings.

    “The prayer that is uttered together and perfected by deeds. The prayer that pushes one another to say, “There is no disagreement in the sacrament of Baptism, there is no disagreement in the sacrament of Communion, there is no dispute for all of us, Catholics, Orthodox or other Christians, to pray together,” because, The legacy of each tradition is that “we are all part of one beautiful and harmonious piece of music that should glorify the Creator.”



    The Catholic Christ is no different from the Orthodox Christ

    “My word today will be empty if it does not find positive responses in us, beginning a new life, strengthened by love and support, keeping away from all the causes and obsessions that separate us from our Savior. “He sacrificed his life for us to remain and will remain in the sacrament of Holy Communion,” said the Patriarch, then referring to the fact that “often the Catholic rejects communion with the Orthodox and the Orthodox reject the communion with the Catholics,” although the Catholic Christ is no different from the Orthodox Christ. And the sacrament of Baptism does not alter, for “all the sacraments in the Church are ordained by Christ.”



    God, forgive us for the sin of separation!

    So “where is the dispute?” The Patriarch asked and confirmed. “The dispute is human, with selfishness and sectarianism, far from any spiritual and Christian principle.”


    The patriarch concluded his contemplation with a prayer in which he asked for God’s forgiveness “for the sin of separation” and asked the Lord to “lighten the way to that desirable union, to one Church.”


    “My Lord and God, I repent with all my heart for my sin, involuntarily, of division and fragmentation, which I have fallen into because of worldly concerns. You are my refuge and my hope! Yes, You are my only hope, You are the one who can save me, illuminate my path to unity, to one Church, to a common flock, of which you are the true Shepherd, through which you will give us your abundant graces. You are the light and the truth, You are the way and the peace! We are from You and we will return to You, so have mercy on us, Lord, with Your great mercy, have mercy and save us from our sins! Amen.”



    Source: Vatican News, Armenian section

    Translated into English by Anoush Haroutyunian