Echmiadzin Under Assault

For a reasonably comprehensive view, readers are suggested to read editor-columnist Edmond Azadian's article in conjunction with Maitre Barkev Davidian’s Գարեգին Կղերապետին Պաշտպանները, Mr. Vosgan Mekhitarian’s Ողջմտութեան Բացակայութիւնը, historian Gevorg Yazichyan’s Ոտնահարելով Պարկեշտութեան Բոլոր Սահմանները which precede the below writing and also Keghart.com’s editorial Catholicos Karekin II Stands Accused.– Ed.

Edmond Y. Azadian, Mirror-Spectator Senior Editorial Columnist, 19 July 2018

In the aftermath of the Velvet Revolution, the last thing that Armenia needs is the continuation of further social disturbances. The popular uprising which brought Nikol Pashinyan to power is yet to offer its dividends to the public, which has not yet witnessed any changes in its daily life, except the euphoria generated by the revolution. If expectations are not met in a timely fashion or miss their goals, the euphoria may prove to be ephemeral.

Armenia’s domestic issues have to be viewed within the regional political context, which is disconcerting to say the least.

For a reasonably comprehensive view, readers are suggested to read editor-columnist Edmond Azadian's article in conjunction with Maitre Barkev Davidian’s Գարեգին Կղերապետին Պաշտպանները, Mr. Vosgan Mekhitarian’s Ողջմտութեան Բացակայութիւնը, historian Gevorg Yazichyan’s Ոտնահարելով Պարկեշտութեան Բոլոր Սահմանները which precede the below writing and also Keghart.com’s editorial Catholicos Karekin II Stands Accused.– Ed.

Edmond Y. Azadian, Mirror-Spectator Senior Editorial Columnist, 19 July 2018

In the aftermath of the Velvet Revolution, the last thing that Armenia needs is the continuation of further social disturbances. The popular uprising which brought Nikol Pashinyan to power is yet to offer its dividends to the public, which has not yet witnessed any changes in its daily life, except the euphoria generated by the revolution. If expectations are not met in a timely fashion or miss their goals, the euphoria may prove to be ephemeral.

Armenia’s domestic issues have to be viewed within the regional political context, which is disconcerting to say the least.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent victory in neighboring Turkey has ramifications far beyond that country’s borders. Following his victory, Erdogan flew to Baku immediately to fan the Pan-Turkic dreams from the Caucasus to Central Asia. That move was echoed and complemented by Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, who repeated the call for the unity of Turkic peoples. Ironically, Nazarbayev is supposed to be Armenia’s strategic ally through its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union.

All these developments resulted in increased troop concentration in Nakhichevan, where the Turkish general staff plans to execute seven consecutive military exercises in the near future.

This situation is further aggravated by the intensifying suspicions of Moscow about the political intentions of the new government in Armenia. A Russian delegation has already visited Azerbaijan and bashed Armenia for its position in the Karabakh issue. The political tension is already in the air, reminiscent of the days in the 1990s when President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s government advocated a shift in its policy from Moscow to Ankara and Russia responded in kind by sending arms and strategic support to Azerbaijan, which almost occupied two-thirds of Karabakh, until the Armenian side came to its senses, switched back its policy, recovered that territory last and signed the ceasefire agreement on May 12, 1994.

One wonders who is paying attention in Armenia to this egregious situation when demonstrators are out in the streets calling for a new Catholicos in the new Armenia. Their numbers and their calls could be easily ignored had it not been the government’s equivocal position vis-à-vis these disturbances.

A disgruntled priest, Fr. Koryun Arakelyan, who was disciplined by His Holiness, has joined a group of demonstrators who first gathered at the courtyard of St. Anna Church in downtown Yerevan, then moved their show to Echmiadzin and they invaded the compound , hurling slurs and demanding the resignation of His Holiness Karekin II. Some social sites have also joined the chorus, by manufacturing outrageous stories about the Catholicos. That kind of dirt in the newspapers and online has degraded journalism generally in Armenia, where libel laws are still a mockery.

On July 17, the Catholicos of the Armenian Church defrocked Arakelyan for “improper conduct,” the Church said.

The movement against the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II came to a boiling point when he recently took a trip to a monastery in the Vayk region. He visited Gundevank, where a group of people surrounded His Holiness’s car and forced him to walk. As he walked, they began insulting him by hurling obscene slogans and asking him to resign. They also distributed a video of the demonstration, with their demand for the catholicos to negotiate with them the terms of his abdication right then and there in that wilderness. Later on, commenting about that encounter, the Catholicos would not talk to his flock. The scene could only bring revulsion to any sane person. Their slogans and their general conduct could only be described as the behavior of thugs. Nothing else.

On his way back to Echmiadzin, His Holiness was stopped and surrounded by his supporters at Khor Virab, where he gave his blessings to them and forgiveness to the demonstrators, saying they are “still our children.”

In all this turmoil, the police failed to act. They were only bystanders. Later on, viewing the video, the prime minister agreed that the police did not behave the way they were expected to, but then he issued statements which were not worthy of a statesman. He said that the situation had not gotten out of hand. If it ever comes to that, the government will act, he said.

“Nevertheless,” in his opinion, “the matter has not still become public and there is no need for expressing the government’s stance,” he said.

His most revealing statement was that he is “not an expert in this area and therefore could be mistaken.”

When the Catholicos’ life is in jeopardy, he sure is mistaken, and more mistaken are the misguided individuals who continue to comingle the position of the Catholicos of All Armenians with the local issue of General Manuel Grigoryan and his family. Grigoryan’s son, Karen Grigoryan, was the mayor of the city of Echmiadzin and protestors ousted him from that position recently.

One priest, Fr. Asoghik, in Echmiadzin said that if the government does not protect the Catholicos, the clergy will.

The positions of the Catholicos and the patriarchs are for life. A case in point is that of Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan in Istanbul, who is in a vegetative state and yet the people are not allowed to elect a new patriarch.

The election of the Catholicos is the only case when the diaspora and Armenia come together in the National Ecclesiastic Convocation to elect the Catholicos. Therefore, he is technically the religious head of ten million Armenians. These demonstrators were chanting that the entire Armenian nation “dislikes you. You have to resign.”

One wonders who has appointed these people to represent “the entire Armenian nation.”

This movement is designed by the perpetrators to drive a wedge between three million Armenians living in the homeland and the seven million living in the diaspora.

Prime Minister Pashinyan’s benign position reflects this attitude toward the old regime despite his pledge that there will be no vendettas. He still associates the Catholicos with the crimes of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan’s clan, without giving him the benefit of the doubt and realizing that the Catholicos has no temporal power and no choice but to cooperate with the administration in charge. Pashinyan has not verbalized this view but the demonstrators have.

Most of the Dioceses and Primates around the world have expressed their concerns and they have lent their support to the Catholicos.

This movement is not only directed against the Catholicos personally, but it is directed at Holy Echmiadzin to undermine its authority and to destabilize the church because the Armenian Church is one of the strongest institutions contributing to the unity of the Armenian people.

Since the beginning of this protest movement, many speculations pointed to alien sects and foreign agencies, which the protestors denied, until proof was provided recently by a ruffian called Karen Petrosyan, a vocal protestor who released a video claiming that his institute, called Compass, receives funding from Open Society to do charity work. It seems that one of those “charitable deeds” is to undermine the Armenian Church. Open Society is funded by the Soros Foundation, which commissions agents to destroy the fabric of societies, to undermine their cultural values, under the guise of promoting democracy while destabilizing regimes and collapsing them through popular uprisings, like in Georgia, or through violent overthrows of the government, like Ukraine.

The confession is there for anyone to review.

Karen Petrosyan’s case has further developments which complicate the issue and implicate other forces. He was recently appointed as a director of a government educational institute in Gyumri. A journalist asked him whether the position was offered to him as a reward for heading the movement against the Catholicos. He has denied the allegation and has said that the appointment was because he is a “professional.” It remains to be seen what profession he has other than serving as a foreign agent.

The situation is tense in and around Echmiadzin. The Holy See has survived many administrative and theological crises. This case is definitely politically motivated campaign.

The Holy See, for now, remains under assault.

29 comments
  1. Pity the Petty

    This person gives the example of Patriarch Mesrob Moutafian to say that in spite of him being in vegetable state "yet the people are not allowed to elect a new patriarch". What a mean statement knowing well that it is the Turkish government that is making it impossible to elect a new patriarch. Pity the petty. 

  2. It is not up to the Prime Mininster

    "New Armenia, new Catholicos" movement is akin to a spiritual divorcing of the flock from its shepherd and much like any divorce, the behavior of the spouse is weighed against the effects the divorce will have on the family unit for the sake of keeping the integrity of the family for children's sake.

    To what extent one notion will override the other aggravates is very personal and clouds rendering a sound collective judgment.

    Thus far, all those who have spoken in defense of the Catholicos, have argued on the dire consequences his dethronement will have on the institution of the church and have avoided the Catholicos himself who, thus far, has not vowed publically that the allegations of him siring children of his own are not true. The longer he avoids it, the more plausible becomes that the allegations are true. What man, after all, will publically deny his fatherhood?

    Next, to the President, the Catholicos is the highest authority in the country, not only as a spiritual leader but also as a civic leader. Such has been the role the Armenian Apostolic Church was cast during the centuries. 

    It is up to the Catholicos to confront these issues and open an honest dialogue and not that of Prime Minister who has no legal jurisdiction over the Catholicos.
     

    1. KII Will Not Go

      The so-called catholicos will not resign voluntarily. He has to be pushed. He will not leave on his own volition because he has no shame, spiritual values, love of the Church, or an iota of patriotism. He doesn't care that the scandal, which has been induced by him, is hurting the Armenian Church. I say he doesn't care because he didn't care one bit since his fraudulent election.

      It has been said here and elsewhere that Pashinyan can't fire him because of the separation of church and state. However, Pashinyan can still pull him aside and "encourage" him to leave…KII can take his wife, cars, assets and the $1 million at the Swiss Bank with him and vanish.                                                                                 

      Since his downfall will have a negative impact on the CAREERS of the sycophants and bottom-feeder "clergymen" around him and in the Diaspora, I wouldn't be surprised if these yes-men are telling him to stay. I am referring to "clergymen" like the Bentley Bishop and Co.

  3. Rubbish

    What a rubbish!! Who do you think you are trying to fool with this article?

    1. About Karekin II

      There is a saying " There won't be any smoke if there is no fire " . Why there is so much anger against Karekin II ?  What are the roots of this anger towards him ? 

      1. Yes there is
        Yes you are right, many people are too much upset about the magic stick of our supreme spiritual leader Karekin II, you too?

  4.  Mr. Azadian seems to agree

    Mr. Azadian seems to agree with Erdogan's anti Armenian view to keep Patriarch Moutafian in his position for life because he himself has elected to stay in his position as the head of TCA for his life's duration–hopfully not too much longer. These type of people, Azadian, Setrakian (AGBU), S. Sarkisyan and many more, suffer from this egocentric sickness of once you get a position, you hold on to it till death. Pashinian took care of one such individuals, it is up to us to take care of the rest of these shamless ……….

  5. Soros? Get serious

    Nothing discredits an author quite like spouting the same old George Soros conspiracy trotted out by the radical alt-right in the US, and by Russians who think any form of civil society is a threat to the regime of the day. There is no Soros-funded anti-Armenian-Church conspiracy. For heaven's sake, let's not flatter ourselves by suggesting Soros cares at all about Armenia's petty religious squabbles. 

    1. Who is behind the church conpirancy?
      It seems you are the only one who doesn't care, don't try to hypnotize us, if you don't know who is behind the Armenian Church conspirancy, don't get involved.

      1. Diversions of the Catholicos Defenders

        Rather than tackle the numerous questions about the integrity if the immoral man who is our Catholicos, his defenders talk about the contribution the Armenian Church has made to our nation. In other words, criticizing KII means criticizing our 1,600-year-old Church. In other words, criticizing the immoral man who "leads" our Church is similar to criticizing Khrimian Hayrig, Krikor Naregatsi, Krikor Lousavorich.

        The defenders of the crook in Catholicos garb also throw red herring into the debate by claiming the opposition to KII is funded by cults (the Rosicrucians? the Illuminati? the Freemasons?) and arch-villain George Soros. Somehow they have not included among KII's backers Erdogan, ISIS, the Mujahideen, Al-Qaida…

        As Rev. Khachadourian says in his long interview, KII has several means to destroy clergymen who don't follow his crooked path: he defrocks them; he fires them from their position; he makes sure that the clergyman he dislikes will not get a job outside the Church. In addition, a favorite attack of KII is to brand dismissed clergymen "homosexual".

        I am not surprised by the Tashnag and Ramgavar response to the demands that KII resign. They were his friends ("birds of a feather fly together"), for years they were welcomed by KII and bestowed honors just as Serge Sargsyan did to visiting diaspora "dignitaries". Perhaps the Tashnags have another reason not to criticize KII: the fear that their Catholicos Aram might be the next target. Catholicos Aram is an arrogant windbag who is in love with his voice. He too is a petty dictator who treats his clergy with contempt. He also sees himself as an international politician although the only people who pay attention to him is the Tashnag-owned media. And while most of his congregation (not to mention the impoverished refugees from Syria), swelters in the unbearable Beirut's summer heat and humidity, Catholicos enjoys the cool breezes of his summer resort in Bikfaya. I know the summer home has been there for a long time. However, the Catholicos should be embarrassed to live in the palatial resort when so many Lebanese Armenians and Syrian refugees are living in the hovels and rat traps of Bourj Hammoud.
         

  6. Are you not satisfied with the Catholicos of All Armenians?

    Mr. Azadian served the Armenian nation through whole his life and believe me that he knows very well what's going on.

    If you are not satisfied with a physically normal born Catholicos of all Armenians Karekin II, I will leave the choice to you.

    After Catholicos Karekin II serves for life, you may choose for a gay Spiritual Supreme Leader, [……]

    Except Mr. Azadian, most of you are [……], [I guess] none of the the commentators above supported Echmiadsin or our Armenia with a single penny.

    1. No to lies to safeguard “sacred” traditions

      Mr. Azadian,

      Nothing is manufactured. Unfortunately for all of us, Armenians, there have been ample facts, not just rumours, as to Garegin II's various "adventures" in the realm of conduct inappropriate for the church leader.

      You may not know, be far away, but the protestors live next door, in the same network, in the same system… Democracy means that the church leaders are not immune to criticism, even the Patriarch is subject to criticism and rebuke.

      I dont' consider it right to continue living a lie for the sake of safeguarding "sacred" traditions.    

      1. Very few Armenians

        Very few Armenians attend the Armenian Church ceremonies regularly, with your help, it's the right time for our enemies to destroy our churches for good. 

        1. Enemies

          Nicolai,

          What “enemies” do you have in mind? You likely have little knowledge of history, but where people are persecuted for there Christian faith, a common consequence is that their faith in and devotion to Christianity actually increase. Whereas of the myriad accusations against K II, the main one is that he has contributed to diminishing faith and emptying our churches. And should you care to, go ahead and put this charge to the test by walking into any nearly empty church during Liturgy, and, afterward, asking the handful of faithful what they think of the condition of our church and their opinion concerning K II and the accusations. But I doubt a wannabe oligarch like you would take such a step.

          In reality,  K II has done what our “enemies” never could do – and our “enemies” neither raised a finger nor spend a penny in the process. In reality, people like you and your heroes are the real enemy, in the way you think, the way you behave, and by your cynical values.

          1. AV

            You know what, you are sounding like […], trying to give me history lessons, please listen very carefully what I am telling to you.
             
            1.The Church belongs to God, every person is free to go and pray in the church anytime they feel like, no one can stop them. KII is here out of the question, don't put the name of our spiritual leader in your mouth. Don't interfere in the private life of our clergymen and our spiritual leaders.

            2. I insist that all our Armenian  clergymen and our spiritual leaders must have a girl friend or get married and produce children, that's good for them and good for our nation, it's win win situation.

            3. You as a civilian don't have any single official right to interfere in the protocols of the Armenian church, they have their own rules, you are only an outsider.

            4. You live in a country with full of oligarchs, [….]
              
            5. […..], you are doing your utmost to place our church in a scandalous situation like the catholic church of today, [….].

          2. Embarrassing

            To quote Vahakn, it’s embarrassing to have communicated with you. But, like your heroes, you’ll never know until you try.

  7. The protests against Karekine

    The protests against Karekine II Catholicos of All Armenians should continue for his immediate resignation! 

    The man has violated, since the beginning of his election to this day, the dioceses, customs, traditions, canons of our holy church, and also dared to desecrate, for the first time in our history, the church Ste. Marie of Nice, the first Armenian Apostolic church in Europe built by the survivors of the Armenian Genocide.  KII will have to pay for his odious deeds against our holy church and our people! 13 years of threats, intimidation, blackmail, violence, oppression exercised by the disciples of KII against our church abusing the Apostolic appellation, as it was the sign of a supermarket, as it was their private property! Karekine II should know that no authority can desecrate a church without a formal reason, like the church Sainte Marie Nice Côte d'Azur sanctified by Monsignor Krikoris Balakian in 1927 to serve as Apostolic church.  It should also be noted his very intimate relations with a wealthy Armenian woman from US. She is alleged to have financed the election of KII.

    Let's also mention his "spiritual son"  "Father Vatche”, who spread terror in our parish for several years before being banned from our territory. Even in this state KII wanted Vatché to officiate with him at the Basilica Notre-Dame in Nice in the presence of the authorities of the city. Shame! What about the lucrative businesses of KII!  It's easy to be a businessman with a cassock and spread terror instead of the holy word!

    Normally he should be defrocked, but it is he who defrocked, often without legitimate cause, more than 150 defenceless clerics of all ranks!

    He will have to give account for the millions he collect during all these years. For years he has not given account to anyone on millions of dollars he spent on sight!

    The persons and organizations that have sheltered him these long years will have to look for a holy place to deserve the great pardon!

    Nice, France

    Addendum by Keghart.com for clarification

    Viva Vatche

    "The escalation of the conflict between the centre and representative offices began in June of this year when at Paris airport Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II publicly, in the presence of Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan and Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan, insulted the head of the French Diocese of the AAC, Archbishop Norvan Zakarian, with derogatory words and threatened to excommunicate him from Echmiadzin. Garegin II substantiated his anger by the fact that Zakarian is allegedly not taking enough care of the fate of priest Vatche Hayrapetyan, the former spiritual leader in Nice who now serves in the Armenian Church in Strasbourg.

    It should be noted that the priest of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Nice, Father Vatche Hayrapetyan, was sentenced to two years in prison in France for assaulting a man. He was also accused of money laundering, pimping and involvement in the trafficking of counterfeit coins. Under the terms of the sentence, he must wear an electronic bracelet. During this period, he is forbidden to stay in Nice and in Provence – Alpes – Cote d'Azur. The fact that father Vatche is a favourite of Garegin II, who could not forgive the head of the French Diocese of the AAC for the negligent attitude to the criminal, adds piquancy to the situation.

    This was followed by a letter from Norvan Zakarian about his resignation from the post of abbot of the French Diocese, supported by a letter to Garegin II, in which he expressed his outrage at the public humiliation by the latter. Zakarian said that the same priest Vatche, whom Garegin II backs, is more a businessman with unbridled temper rather than a priest. The archbishop added that the cult of personality existing in Echmiadzin is tiring and that he has neither the desire nor the time to be at the head of the uncontrollable clerics "brought up in the spirit of business". Zakarian said that due to the situation, he is forced to leave the post of head of the French Diocese and Patriarchal Exarch in Western Europe from 1 November 2013 and quit the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

    The resignation of Zakarian angered the Armenian diaspora in France, and the parish council of St. Mary's Apostolic Church in Nice issued a statement in Nouvelles d' Armenie newspaper where it expressed concern about the painful condition of the parish, as well as serious problems in the Armenian Apostolic Church. The authors of the statement called for the church and the Armenian people to unite in order to get out of the current crisis. "The disease of the Armenian Apostolic Church – that is how the current situation should be described – is an indicator of the general poor state of the Armenian people and weakens its position before the challenge where there is no margin for error or way back…," the statement said.

    It seems that meeting those dissatisfied halfway and taking a more liberal stance, Echmiadzin could calm them down and put an end to internal strife. However, subsequent events showed that the heads of the AAC had quite a different approach to everything going on. The Supreme Council of the Armenian Church, which met in Echmiadzin on 30-31 July, called the accusations of the abbot of the French Diocese, Archbishop Zakarian, unsubstantiated, and his resignation was approved before November. The elections for the vacant post of archbishop, according to experts, were originally rigged, and as a result, another favourite disciple of Garegin II – Vigen Haykazyan – will be "appointed" archbishop.

    At the same time, Echmiadzin began promoting Garegin II among the world Armenians and launched a campaign against objectionable people. Thus, the Armenian AMGA TV channel, broadcasting in the US, showed an interview with a businessman named Michael (last name not given), who spoke as a staunch defender of the Catholicos of All Armenians and publicly accused the former head of the New Naxcivan and Russian Diocese of the ACC, Archbishop Tiran, of stealing millions of dollars and even drug trafficking.

    In 2001, Garegin II dismissed Tiran and appointed his younger brother Yezras Nersisyan to his post. The subsequent events exacerbated the discord between the representatives of the Armenian Church even more. Thus, the conflict was joined by one of the most respected representatives of the Armenian clergy – Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Nurhan Manoogian."

    1. Every wise person

      I think every wise person had done the same, very simple replace your oponents by good friends, solved.

      The business connection of the Holy Echmiadsin is none of your business, Echmiadsin is an independent seat like all the other Pateriarchates are.

      The rest is pure nonsence based on mythology.

      Echmiadsin doesn't have any authority on the Pateriarchates, vice versa, and that's it, the rest is talk.

      1. Crooks defend crooks

        The business connection of the holy Echmadzin is none of your business??? What planet are you from? Then again your hero is Azadian, who closed down Arshag Dikranian school in Los Angeles. Never mind all the donors who established the school and supported it. Azadian and his friends pocketed the money. He learned it from his previous employer, AGBU which did the same to their largest donor to date–the Melkonian Brothers.

        Have some [courage] and ask Azadian "the great Armenian" why did he close a school in the largest Armenian community and where did the money ($15 million US) disappear! Let us see what [nonesense] will he tell you while you swallow [the lies].

        1. Reply

          Mr. Azadian is a very respected intellectual, the author of many books and thousands of newspaper articles, one of the founders of Tekeyan cultural centers and so on […]

          Writing about closing schools — look for example at the latest sad case, the closure of the Armenian school in Jordan, the case is the same with the Arshag Dikranian school, Melkonian Brothers and so on.

          According to the Bible, if your own arm is aching and causing problems to you and can't be cured, you must "amputate it".

          The $15 million US you are mentioning in your comment, I am sure it will be invested for a meaningful national patriotic project.

          You […] may ask Mr. Azadian about the sum of $15 million US, of course anybody can ask that question. […] are we allowed to interfere in Mr. Azadian's organization? and the answer is no.

          1.  So, TCA is a private property

            So TCA is the private property of Azadian (he holds all the TCA deeds even after being voted out) just as the largest Armenian public organization AGBU was essentially taken private in 1997–a year after Mr. Manoogian’s passing– by Setragian and company as theirs and not a peep from any so called Armenian.

            Why? Because these people have managed to learn that accountability in Armenian communities is nonexistent. No consequences for waste and embezzlement. They managed to shape a diaspora where Armenian is not spoken anymore, no one reads Armenian or cares except lip service when put on the spot (I love shish kebob, that is it).

            The ideology that you are proposing, namely who are you people to get involved and ask questions about TCA, AGBU and Etchmiadzin, it is none of your business as you wrote, is music to the ears of these charlatan suckers and they are counting on people like you to perpetuate that idea.

            Unfortunately, the Anatolian mentality of the last century, before the Genocide, is still alive and well with some people as you show, but the new generation will not take it anymore. You are sure it will be invested in a proper way, really??? Good to be optimistic but not unrealistic! It is incumbent upon them to give accountability and that is what anyone who is straight does; no one should ask for it. Good luck getting one; by the way, it is already eaten and digested.

            As far as your bible example, it does not apply because there are many cures, doubtful if one is not familiar with it but it is more advantageous to amputate to collect on the medical procedure. Read the will of Melkonian brothers and their intent for the largest donation to AGBU to date. That school alone would serve its intended purpose now more than ever, never having any financial problems, admitted by Setragian, except for mismanagement by AGBU.

             

          2. Azadian

            Azadian is often introduced as a "leading intellectual" who has served Armenians most, if not, all of his adult life. The "served" part needs analysis. He has been a paid official of newspapers and at least one major political party. He has also benefited extensively through his association with the AGBU. Of course, it's painfully redundant to say that there's nothing wrong in being paid for work done. However, the "served" the nation is misleading. It sounds as if Azadian labored without compensation. In fact, he joined the establishment long ago which partly explains his loyalty to scandalous Karekin Nersessian, also known as Catholicos.

            One can argue that Azadian has been a negative presence on the political scene in recent years: although he is past eighty, he continues to hold on to the leadership of the Ramgavars. Does anyone know the date of the next election? The term "President for life" comes to mind. When will he relinquish his seemingly permanent position?                  

            Azadian and his friends owe it to the Armenian people–not just to Ramgavars–a detailed explanation as to why the Ramgavar leaders decided to close the Los Angeles school; the manner in which it was done; how much did they receive for the sale; and how much did they net after debts, mortgage, and commissions were paid. Finally, what's being done with the money? Will they be used for frequent travel to Armenia and to Cairo to celebrate the founding of Ramgavar Patry? Azadian apparently says that he has been to Armenia more than sixty times. Were they all business trips? What did the sixty trips accomplish? How many times was he greeted by the corrupt heads of the oligarchic government and the disgusting Karekin Nersessian?

            P.S. Over the years, patriotic Armenians donated money to build the Los Angeles school and keep it going. Since the school has been sold, shouldn't the donations be returned to the people who gave the money specifically to build and maintain the school? I doubt that the donors granted the Ramgavar Party the right to manage their donations any way the party leaders wished. 

            Mardiros

      2. Reply to Nicolai

        It's shocking to read such cynicism and lack of knowledge as displayed by Nicolai.

        He says wise men surround themselves with friends and get rid of opponents.

        Nicolai, ask yourself who are the opponents of KII and why did they become his opponents? How did 150 bishops, priests, deacons, etc. become persona non grata? Ask yourself who are his friends? You must have heard of the criminal priest of Nice, according to French law, who was his partner in crime. By dismissing so many clergymen KII undermined our Church and filled it with mini KIIs. Our enemies couldn't have done what he achieved singlehanded.

        You say the business connection of Echmiadzin is nobody's business. Where do you get such an idea? Echmiadzin belongs to the Armenian nation. We are not talking whether Echmiadzin paid too much for eggs or milk. The issue here is the corruption of KII who, according to Wikipedia, has personal assets of $1 million at a Swiss bank. How did he accumulate that money? Certainly not through his salary. When KII orders diaspora priests that they should send a certain amount of money (which KII decides) every year to him–sorry, I mean to Echmiadzin–members of the Armenian Church have every right to check the budget and accounting ledger of Echmiadzin.

        You say Echmiadzin has no authority over the two patriarchs. Right you are. But KII, whom you defend, tried to take over the two patriarchates (Istanbul, Jerusalem).

        KII's clerical team are his reflections. Like him, they are crooks, thieves, and immoral individuals. If they were honest and spiritual people, they wouldn't have lasted a week in Echmiadzin where the petty dictator runs our holiest see as his shop.

        P.S. Some say the government has no right to interfere in Church affairs and shouldn't get involved in KII's resignation. These people forget that a previous government fraudulently put him on the Echmiadzin throne. The last two governments were also his enablers, his facilitators, his allies. He could get away with anything because Sargsyan and Kocharian were his fellow oligarchs. Since the government imposed this repulsive and immoral crook upon the Armenian Church and people, it has now the obligation to remove him.

        1. Reply to Vahakn 30-7-2018

          No, I can't forgive you for throwing mud on our spiritual leader Karekin II.

          From your poor comment, I can see that you have never even seen the constitution of the Holy Echmiadzin, Antilias and the two pateriarchates, so will you please stop writing nonesense before reading the constitutions.

          The main responsibilities of Karekin II are to support seminary students for their basic needs and good education, Echmiadzin is not a five star hotel.

          Echmiadzin is being managed according to the constitutions of Echmiadzin, no more no less it's independent and will stay independent forever.

          Echmiadzin's main goal is to be self sufficient.

          Echmiadzin has many properties like the other Pateriarchates, also outside Armenia, like for example in Russia, the brotherhood of Echmiadzin and the pateriarchates are responsible for all their administration and no one else, they are totally INDEPENDENT.

          Will you please stop writing on behalf of the Armenian nation, no one has the right to speak or write on behalf of the Armenian nation.

          If you know a little bit about history, you must know that, high ranking people, like kings, presidents, spiritual leaders, high ranking officers and so on, very often took care that they created some financiel reserves in case of facing political difficulties, revolutions, rebellion, can support themselves and their family members by people like you and the others.

          No one has the right to interfere in the constitution of the Holy Seat and the Pateriarchates, our spiritual leader Karekin II as well doesen't have the right to interfere in the constitutions of the pateriarchates, that's impossible even if he wants to.

          I have never chased Karekin II to find out with whom he is sleeping and with whom he is waking up, I never investigate privacy matters like who is sleeping with whom or how everybody is using his or her magical stick and so on.

          Yes it's very wise and the right decision to discuss and solve the serious problems with family members or good friends whom you trust and not with the members of the opposition.
           
          Sleep tight.

          1. Reply II to Nicolai

            Nicolai,

            Because your command of English is not the best and your comments are not presented in a coherent manner, I will reply categorically for your sake and to make Keghart readers follow your wayward logic more easily.

            1. First, no one asked you to forgive me. What you did is answer a question which wasn't asked.

            2. Are we to assume, from your comment, that you have studied the constitutions of Echmiadzin, Antelias, and the patriarchates of Istanbul and Jerusalem? I have difficulty believing that you've even seen the four constitutions. What is the Echmiadzin constitution worth when since his illegal election your hero KII has stomped on it and on our Church and nation regularly? The man has brought shame on Armenians and their Church. The oligarch in church vestments has turned Echmiadzin into a one-man (married) show. I hear his mignons and hired hands are roaming the East–from Calcutta to Singapore and points between–looking for Armenian Church properties to sell…and perhaps invest the money in a Swiss bank to help our Church and nation in difficult times.

            3. Why should Echmiadzin or Antelias, Istanbul, and Jerusalem be "totally independent"? Isn't their mission to serve the people and do it responsibly? How can they isolate themselves from their congregations when they depend on that same congregation for their existence and for the donations? What's the relevance of Holy Mass when the church is empty and is empty because clergymen have lost the respect of their congregation? How can you say Echmiadzin is "totally independent" when laymen have the right to vote during the election of the Catholicos? How can you say Echmiadzin is independent when the last three Catholicoses were "elected" by the government. The Soviet government made sure Vazken I became Catholicos. Likewise the government of the Republic of Armenia (invited Karekin I of Antilias to Echmiadzin, installed Karekin II on the Echmiadzin throne).

            4. So you believe that KII has stashed $1 million in a Swiss bank for lean days the Church might experience. Why a Swiss bank? Why not an Armenia bank? Is he afraid that when he is dumped, the Church might confiscate his illegally-acquired money?

            5. I am embarrassed to correspond with you because your arguments are feeble and you use unbecoming language. I am surprised Keghart printed your "magical stick" mention. 

  8. Dear friends

    Dear friends,

    If this is what KEGHART thinks about Karekin II and DARE to publish such an article, it shows their REAL face and I don't want to have anything to do with them. I infact unsubscribed but I keep on receiving emails. Weired!!!

    Facilitating communication with Keghart.com

    Letter-writer Jack is entitled to his opinion regarding what Keghart.com should publish. However, we respectfully take issue with his second statement. We would like to share the below information with him and our readership.

    1. Prior to September 2016 (termination of Keghart.com as a bi-monthly website-based magazine), the vast majority of Keghart.com mail was handled via an independent distributor. At the end of the message, we provided clear direction on how to unsubscribe. The e-mail of an unsubscribing individual was automatically terminated from the outgoing service, and through pre-set choices, she/he was asked to provide a reason for un-subscription. Most people ticked a choice. However, a minority left a blank space which the system registered as "unspecified". When we contacted those individuals through regular mail, we discovered that some "unspecified" entries were inaccurate: the program wouldn't allow to administratively re-introduce their addresses. Hence they received Keghart.com updates via regular mail after verifying that they had not unsubscribed.

    2. Since the reactivation of Keghart.com as a personal blog, the independent distributor handled only a small portion of the outgoing e-mails. This was done to cut costs. The vast majority of our communication with readers continued through regular mail. To avoid sending messages to people who did not wish to receive updates, the e-mails prominently displayed–in large bold letters—the following at the top:

    Dear Reader,

    If you wish not to receive Keghart.com updates, please click unsubscribe from this list or reply to this message with REMOVE on the SUBJECT line

    3. So far our message was handled without glitches with a handful of exceptions for which we extend our apologies. Following each outgoing distribution the incoming mail is meticulously screened for messages that contain the word REMOVE on the subject line and the e-mail addresses are manually quarantined in a separate folder along with notifications.

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    Respectfully,

    Dikran Abrahamian MD

    1. “Outing” Azadian

      Sireli Jack,

      I have read many editorials by Keghart, well-researched and timely, about how unsuitable, inappropriate and unqualified Karekin II is to serve as Catholicos.

      Having read Azadian's piece, which originally appeared in the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, I believe his intent is to defend Karekin II to the end by falsely making the issue about the institution of the Armenian Church rather than the individual in question.

      The editors at Keghart are intelligent people. If they have run this editorial, it is for good reason. I would like to think it was done so that Keghart readers can know what some factions within the Armenian community are up to.

      Tsakoug

    2. Keghart and KII

      Jack starts his letter by saying, "If this what KEGHART thinks about Karekin II and DARE (sic) to publish such an article, it shows their (sic) real face." The sentence imputes that Keghart had hidden until now its views of Karekin II. In fact, five years ago Keghart ran an editorial exposing the shortcomings of Karekin II Catholicos Karekin II Stands Accused. It was one of best read editorials of Keghart. To date it has garnered 54,619 reads. Subsequently, Keghart published several more articles about the Catholicos. Keghart has had the Catholicos' number for some time.
      Jirair Tutunjian

  9. Which Is True?

    The behavior of thugs? Surely not the type of thugs who mug people, like in dark subways at the midnight hour. These “thugs” are benign by thuggish standards. And so why should police get involved, if nobody has touched him, not in Armenia, not in Los Angeles, not anywhere? People are verbally demanding his resignation, and doing so with boldness. They should at least receive a response to the accusations, which are, in the very best light, a ravenous cancer.

    And how is his life in danger? Perhaps in that, if he resigns, he will be heartbroken, which will endanger his health, and, consequently, his life? Well, I tell you, the life of the church is in the most perilous danger worldwide, and the downward spiral appears irreversible.

    Either this man is an unjustly persecuted servant, or he is the most despicable and vile character in the history of our church. It cannot be both – there is no gray area. Whichever it may be, it is quite miserable and shameful for us all.

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