“Birthplace of My Soul…”

Editorial, 5 October 2013

Armenians—Apostolic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, and even those who rarely go to church—are disappointed, disturbed, worried, and irate—about the questionable life of Catholicos Karekin II. Many demand an investigation and the possible defrocking of the ecclesiastical oligarch. But other than complaining, usually among themselves, most accusers of the catholicos don’t seem to have an idea as how to get rid of the destructive kleptocrat (“klepticos”) who rose to the Etchmiadzin throne through fraud. Those who condemn Catholicos Karekin II are hamstrung by their less-than-adequate knowledge of the Armenian Apostolic Church while the casual or nominal attachment of many others disqualifies them from legitimate criticism of the Church.

Editorial, 5 October 2013

Armenians—Apostolic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, and even those who rarely go to church—are disappointed, disturbed, worried, and irate—about the questionable life of Catholicos Karekin II. Many demand an investigation and the possible defrocking of the ecclesiastical oligarch. But other than complaining, usually among themselves, most accusers of the catholicos don’t seem to have an idea as how to get rid of the destructive kleptocrat (“klepticos”) who rose to the Etchmiadzin throne through fraud. Those who condemn Catholicos Karekin II are hamstrung by their less-than-adequate knowledge of the Armenian Apostolic Church while the casual or nominal attachment of many others disqualifies them from legitimate criticism of the Church.

Do you know the structure and hierarchy of your Church?

Do you know who reports to whom in the Church hierarchy?

Do you know anything about the levers and rules intended to provide transparency and accountability in the management of the Church?

Do you know how Etchmiadzin is financed?

If the catholicos is the CEO of the Church, do you know who are the members of the Church’s management committee?

Do you know the qualifications of the management committee members?

Do you know whether your parish priest, a collective of priests, or diocese heads can bring about change in KII’s reign?

Do you know whether your primate is elected or appointed? Who decides who will be your diocesan head?

Do you know who decides who will be your parish priest?

Do you wonder whether your parish priest is a spiritual person?

Do you wonder whether your parish priest is a contractor whose primary job is officiating at rituals—“Badarak”, baptisms, weddings, and funerals?

Do you know how much your parish priest earns or whether his pension is adequate?

Do you donate money to your parish church?

Do you care whether you understand the “krapar” (classical Armenian) recited at “Badarak”?

Do you know the theological differences between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant Churches?

Do you wonder whether KII is reflective of the Armenian Apostolic Church… that the fish is rotten from its head down?

Armenians get poetic about their Church… and quote Vahan Takeyan’s “Yegeghetsin Haygagan Dznntavayrn eh Hokvooys…” (“The Armenian Church is the birthplace of my soul…”). Certainly, beautiful and evocative words. But words are meaningless—even the best lines–if not followed by action. Words can also be destructive when they delude us into fantasy and wishful thinking.

If you don’t know your Church, how can it be the birthplace of your soul?

If the head of your Church is corrupt, unaccountable, and devoid of spirituality, how can the Church be the birthplace of your soul?

If your Church is the birthplace and fortress of your soul, why are you so indifferent, inattentive to it?

Are we one with our Church or is the Church just a mere agency which provides tenuous links to our heritage through rituals, pageantry and a few ounces of incense?

It’s because of the ignorance and inattention of the members of the Armenian Apostolic Church that when 62 bishops and archbishops gathered in Etchmiadzin at the Episcopal Synod (Sept. 24 to 27), there was nothing on the conference agenda about Catholicos Karekin II’s mismanagement of the Church, let alone an investigation of his questionable lifestyle. There were also no reports whether his crony, “Bentley” Bishop Kojoyan, drove to the conclave in his ostentatious car. Meanwhile, the catholicos was oiling the wheels (not that of the Bentley), giving a medal to one of his acolytes, and elevating several bishops to archbishops. 

The Church Fathers considered whether to canonize the Genocide martyrs, although the topic has been in the books for nearly 40 years. One worthwhile proposal was setting up a fund to assist needy children in Armenia, Artsakh and Syria. But most of their time was spent in how-many-angels-can-dance-on-a-needle ecclesiastical arcana. When only 8% of Apostolic Armenians attend church with any regularity, the bishops dwelled on the wording of sacraments, confirmation, baptism, Chrismation and other top-of-mind rituals.

Then on the last day (Sept. 27) the Fathers of the Church devoted the day to national, religious, social, educational, community, economic, and demographic… issues. It took the embarrassingly unqualified clergymen a mere working day to tackle these wide-ranging, challenging, complex and mostly secular issues. “At the conclusion of the Synod, the Bishops happily reflected on the productive outcome of the meeting….” reported ArmRadio.

We wait with bated breath for the spiritual fathers’ redundant solutions to the multifarious challenges the nation faces.

Their next clerical confab is in the fall of next year.  

 

7 comments
  1. One Essential Point

    There is one essential point with regard to sanctification of the victims of the Genocide. Martyrdom is a Christian duty; the first Christian martyr was St. Stefan/Stepanos. However, the massacres of Armenians–instigated by Sultan Abdul Hamid II and later the Genocide by Young Turks–were purely against non-Turkic or non-Islamic minorities, including the Kurds and the Alevis. It was a political decision, even though Turkish masses were mobilized in the name of Islam. Calling the victims of Genocide martyrs is a cardinal mistake and can serve no one but harm the Armenian Cause. Unlike Islam, Christian martyrs are not politically motivated. Martyrdom in Christianity is self-sacrifice for the sake of Christ, with no expectation in return.

    It is pointless and useless to call those who perished during the Genocide saints, when the majority of Armenians are starving from lack of spirituality within the Church. We have enough relics (gold-plated bones of various saints), kissed by all, although it is idolatry. Are we going to add another 1.5 million gold-plated Genocide relics to be sold for profit?
    Respectfully,
    Hagop

  2. More Articles

    How many more articles do we need before figuring out what we should do to throw this guy out?

  3. Catholicos Karekin II

    Do you know that no one is allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of Etchmiadzin?
    Do you know that the critical writings about Catholicos Karekin II are baseless and have no proof?
    Do you know that Karekin II, the spiritual leader of all the Armenians, is a human being?
    Do you know that the author of the above article has never donated a penny to the Holy Etchmiadzin?
    Do you know that the only sources and organizations throwing mud at Karekin II are the Armenian political parties?

    This has been going on for many decades. Their only goal is to destroy the Armenian Nation. They succeeded in dividing the Armenian Nation a long time ago, although they did nothing useful in Armenian history. They caused damage and bloodshed to the Armenian people but are still not satisfied. For years they cried for a free Armenia but still live in the Diaspora. They have achieved nothing other than destroy our nation.

    Do you know now who are the enemies of our Church and our Nation?

    Nicolai Romashuk

    Last month Mr. Romashuk successfully lobbied the Amsterdam municipality to name a bridge in that city "Armenian Bridge". His mother was Armenian–Editor. 

  4. Finally, Good Questions

    Finally, good questions are asked in an article talking about the Armenian Apostolic Church.

    Going back to the questions, can someone answer the questions mentioned in the article? Or can the editorial answer its own questions?

    One of the convincing analysis about the Etchmiadzin and Antelias division is that when the ARF was ousted from Armenia, it was allowed to be the main governor of the Diaspora and the Antelias (Cilicia) Church to become the Diaspora Church.

    1. Antelias should exist …

      I personally believe  that  Antelias  should exist  until such time when our CASE/Cause becomes  clearly resolved–the Armenian genocide universally accepted and great Turkey brought to justice. Only then  can Etchmiadzin and Antelias join. Antelias  would probably move all its  power to St. Etchmiadzin.

      Definitely  not yet.

  5. Enemies of KII are Enemies of Armenians

    Such vocal enemies of our Church and our Vehapar are enemies of the Armenian people! If they are disappointed in us or in themselves, let them pray, if they know our God. If they have no faith in our God, the Armenian people or our Church, let them examine themselves. Do they love our God? Do they love our Church? Do they love us? They give us ugly looks. What would they be satisfied with?

    Do they want the crucifixion of Vehapar? The disbanding of our Church or that the Armenian people become more like them? Have these and those like them ever done anything for the Armenian people?

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