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|Patriarchate to Cancel Controversial Lease
301-am, 1 November 2023
On May 10, the defrocked priest Khachig Yeretzian (formerly known as Fr.Baret) fled Jerusalem and the Armenian Quarter after it was revealed he had authorized a lease for the “Cows’ Gardens” (Goverou Bardez) to a Jewish Australian businessman for a period of 99 years.
A few days ago, demolition began at the site despite the Armenian community protesting the leasing of Armenian properties.
The Chancellery of the Armenian Patriarchate released a communiqué which demanded the immediate cancellation of the agreement.
Correspondent Kegham Balian interviewed his brother, activist and founding member of Save The ArQ, a movement tasked with the defense and preservation of the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem.
What is the significance of this statement/communiqué?
This statement is the first statement since the signing of the deal that officially states that the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem is attempting to actually cancel this ridiculous and outrageous deal.
However, this statement does not mean that the deal has been cancelled. The complete cancellation requires time, negotiations, legal proceedings, etc. We still have a long way to go, the struggle has just begun.
What is the move forward?
We can finally put an end to the internal conflict between the patriarchate and the community in order to unite our efforts in canceling this deal.
We have already begun cooperating on multiple levels with the Patriarchate to ensure that we are on the same page with the same objectives.
What is your message to Armenians?
We will bring back this land, we will fight against all other unlawful deals. We will end this vicious cycle of incompetent and treacherous management. We will preserve, protect, and develop the Armenian Patriarchate, the Armenian Quarter, and the Armenian community in the Holy Land. Our victory shall be a beacon of hope and light to the entire Armenian Nation. Our victory shall prove the strength of Armenian unity to the world.
Some patriarch indeed. We don’t know the deal. He may have deceived the Catholicos also by having the young clergy consecrated as bishops to serve his own needs. Not serve the church. It is wait and see if he made one of the new bishops publish the announcement. Sad..We need to celebrate the announcement. Not doubt his intentions. Still.
Right you are, H. Considering the games Nurhan and his right-hand man Khachig Yeretsian played in the last five-six years, it's naive to believe Nurhan suddenly has seen the light and developed conscience and patriotism. Both grew up poor. Nurhan was sent by his parents from Aleppo to Antilias. He had no say in becoming a priest. Likewise, Khachig came from a poor family. Without education, profession, prospects or money. He was was drifting when he was rescued by Patriarch Yeghishe who advised him to join the Church. Thus, he had security and an instant career. The pair don't have an iota of spiritualism between them. Nurhan has said while he was poor when growing up, he would make sure he lived the good life now. Some Patriarch.
We need to celebrate the Patriarchate announcement. Yet. How do we know for certain, that the Patriarch will (when) cancel the contract signed illegally, when to date he has not been transparent. And few, if any, outside of the close circle of Khachig Yeretsian, the Israeli Jewish developer/government, and the Patriarch have been privy to the content of the document. The announcement states that he has sent a cancellation letter. We have not seen the lease/sale document. Nor have we seen the cancellation letter.