Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan
Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan was born in Aleppo, Syria. In 1960 he was accepted into the Cilician See’s Seminary in Antelias, Lebanon and was ordained a priest on June 4, 1967. As a newly ordained celibate priest, Archbishop Oshagan served as an assistant at the Seminary and he taught at the Mardigian School, serving two years as principal of the school. From 1968 to 1970 he attended the American University of Beirut, where he majored in history. From 1974 to 1978 he attended Princeton Theological Seminary where he majored in education and psychology, earning a Master’s Degree. Continuing his studies at Princeton, he earned a second Masters in the history of the church. In April 1980, he was appointed pontifical legate to Kuwait and the Arab Emirates. He was elevated to the rank of bishop in 1994. Since 1998, he serves as the Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America.
Prelate’s 2016 Easter Message
Behold the Breath of Resurrection
If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. I Corinthians 15:14
At the end of the forty days of Great Lent, the Christian world prepares to celebrate the Church’s greatest feast and the anchor of the Christian faith—the Holy Resurrection of Christ. Without this faith, Christianity’s entire preaching is shaken and collapses. Without this faith the life lived by a Christian is devoid of meaning, since the days of our lives are in anticipation of the coming life with hope that is strengthened by faith without any doubt. The events of the Resurrection are clearly attested in the Gospels by those who lived with the Lord after the
Resurrection, who received their apostolic mission, and were filled with the miraculous spiritual force of amazement, and were witness, even unto death, to resurrected life. They saw the first fruit of resurrection and had complete trust in their Teacher—in Christ. Still, the Apostle Paul, who had been a persecutor of Christians, became the indefatigable
and faithful preacher of Christianity after his miraculous meeting with Christ. His encounter with the Lord became a non-negotiable testimony. The Apostle Paul is so certain of the truth of his declaration—the concept and truth of the Resurrection—that he even says that his entire preaching is without meaning, is in vain, if Christ was not resurrected.
The Christian Church based its entire faith on the Resurrection. The Resurrection did not become just an historical event; it became the Apostles and the Church’s great vitality, and the purpose of a Christian’s way of life. The Church’s existence became anchored in the faith of the Resurrection, and with the power of that force the Church continued to exist in spite of centuries of persecution. The Church exists now, and will continue to exist, despite all attacks by enemies.
The Armenian Church, faithful to Universal Church doctrine, had the same faithfulness, and even more so, preaching and living the concept and veracity of the Resurrection. So much so that as a church and people our resurrection became our miraculous survival, which after the horror of death and terror of genocide gave us strength and resolve to defeat death by dying, exactly like our Lord, who “by his death defeated death and with His resurrection granted us new life.” (Book of Hours)
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Last year our church and people experienced the reward of their faithfulness and dedication when the Martyrs of the Genocide were canonized and we remembered and reminded others of the just cause of the blood they shed. It is the breath of the Resurrection that hovers in the soul of every Armenian. Beyond being part of our normal life, that breath must become a message and a duty so that our nation’s resurrection is witness to Christ’s resurrection, our faith and the declaration of our eternal faithfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, just as throughout the centuries, may the Resurrection remain now and always the power of our survival, and the impetus and constructive power of the Armenian Church, for the sake of the splendor of the Armenian church, people and homeland. Christ is resurrected from death. Yes, truly, our Savior Jesus Christ is resurrected.
Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy)