Keghart.org Editorial, 15 September 2021
In the “Follies of Jerusalem’s Patriarch“, Keghart contributor Hagop Hagopian wrote about the gap between what Patriarch Nourhan of Jerusalem says and does. Here is another example of that crevasse. During an interview in Armenia (2015), the Patriarch insisted that he would never agree to a 99-year real estate contract regarding Armenian Church real estate in the Occupied Territories or Israel. Watch the below video. The relevant portion of the interview starts at the 1:25 minute mark.
This is what Patriarch Manougian said when asked by the reporter whether Armenian Patriarchate had any real estate conflicts and 99-year lease issues: ” We have no problems. They are complete lies. They are absolute lies. We are trying to get back what we [the Patriarchate] had in Turkey. How could we have problems here. Yes, there was a 99-year lease agreement but that was before my time. It was when Patriarch Torkom was in charge. We have established a new [real estate leases] policy: there are no more leases [exceeding] 25 year. We have removed the 99-year facility because we don’t know who would be in charge.”
A few days ago, Keghart.org received the letter from a member [clergyman] of the Sts. James Brotherhood of the Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate who described the Patriarch’s approval of the 99-year lease as invalid and illegally transacted. The clergyman wrote:
“The Jerusalem Sts. James Brotherhood General Assembly amended its bylaws in 2015 and voting for the third and finl time on Oct. 13-15, 2015 (during the present Patriarch’s tenure) according to which any lease that surpassed a 25-years’ time period must be sent to the Brotherhood’s General Assembly for approval. Thus, the right of signatory was taken from the Patriarch, and was given to the Sts. James Brotherhood’s General Assembly. Only upon the approval of the Sts. James Brotherhood’s General Assembly would the Patriarch and co-signatories in this case the Brotherhood’s General Assembly Chair and the Grand Sacristan, have been permiited to sign such a lease.
“The above transaction/s never went through the approval process of the Sts. James Brotherhood’s General Assembly. Sarcastically, Fr. Baret [Yeretsian] and the Patriarch intentionally cicumvented the bylaws. They had no right to do so.
“The Sts. James Brotherhood must voice out and call for the resignation of all responsible to such illegal acts.”
Several diaspora media outlets have asked the Patriarchate for a copy of the illegal lease the Patriarch has signed. Predictably, the Patriarchate has not bothered to reply to these requests. Keghart.org believes it’s high time Armenians sent a petition to the Patriarchate urging the Patriarch to withdraw his signature from the illegal and nation-damaging transaction. We urge Keghart readers and all who care about the future of Jerusalem’s Armenian Patriarchate to sign the petition (Save the Lands).