Thoughts on Vartanants
Certain events in the life of a nation not only determine the future of that nation, but also the quality of their character. Such was the case for the Armenian people over fifteen centuries ago, when the ruling Persian empire attempted to exert full control over its subject peoples’ faith. What the Armenians did in response set the path for centuries of struggle against their overlords. But it also imprinted a self-understanding that enabled Armenians in every situation to know themselves and who their true Lord and Savior is: Jesus Christ.
It is not just Vartan and the princes of Armenia that impresses one, but rather the people. They refused to abandon their faith, and were willing to courageously stand firm and resist the superior forces arrayed against them. Why? Because of their complete trust in God. This impressed even their opponents, who said, “Who can withstand men like these, who are neither afraid of chains, nor frightened by tortures, nor allured by wealth, and, what is greater than all evils, prefer death to life?” (Yeghishé, ch. 3)
Today’s chaotic world and existential challenges facing the Armenian people demand that we once again show the courage of our ancestors at Vartanants. Threats of bodily harm and frustrations of social and economic decline in recent times have caused many (though not all) Armenians to flee their homelands. Yet wherever we find ourselves, we must face each and every challenge in the power of Christ. He saved us from our sins, and he empowers us through his Spirit. He makes us his courageous witnesses, standing for the truth, helping those in need, and leaving a legacy of courage for future generations of Armenians.
May this blessed inheritance of Vartanants inspire you to live and serve faithfully in Christ Jesus’ Name.
Rev. Nishan Bakalian