Vatican City, Italy
By the presidency of the Archbishop of Sao Paulo Odilo Scherer, on Saturday the 12th of October 2008, the 11th congregation of the 12th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of the Bishops was held. Among the synodical fathers, His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics and also the Head of the Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church had His intervention.
Therefore, we give His Beatitude's intervention translated from French..
In beginning my intervention, I would like to underline the fact that the origin of the Armenian Church, evangelized by Saint Gregory the Illuminator, can be traced to the adoption of Christianity as the state religion in Armenia in the year 301, according to tradition. At that time, the Armenian alphabet did not exist and Bible readings were proclaimed in Greek or Syriac. The reader then would translate it into Armenian. This did not help in understanding the Word of God by the Armenian neophytes. This led to the idea of inventing an alphabet to translate the Bible in the language of the people.
This was realized thanks to a monk by the name of Mesrob who, encouraged and supported by the supreme Chiefs of the Church and the State, the Catholicos Sahag and the King Vramchapouh, was entrusted with this and invented the Armenian alphabet in 406. The Bible was the first book to be translated, beginning with the Septuagint.
We can assert that ever since the translation of the Bible into Armenian, the Holy Book acquired greater importance in the lives of the Armenian people. Its beneficial effects were felt by bringing a new mentality and a new spirit to the faithful, the intellectuals and society in general.
We can conclude without hesitation that the invention of the Armenian alphabet in the year 406 had no other goal but that of evangelization. This evangelization helped maintain the Christian faith which was often endangered, as in 451 - the Bible had just been translated - and during the centuries to follow. The Word of God is supported by the Church and by the Armenian people during its painful history. It impregnated and animated all of Armenian culture throughout the centuries. The lives of the Armenians were continually penetrated and guided by the Word of God.
May this precious richness, represented by Sacred Scriptures as well as the exemplary lives of our ancestors, stimulate the new generation to turn back to Word of life evermore. This will be the fruit of the conclusions of this Synod.