By Hagop Hagopian, Toronto, 8 November 2021
The scandalous signing of the 99-year-lease for the construction of a hotel on crucial Armenian Church land (“Goveroun Bardez”) in Jerusalem is the most recent example of the mounting evidence that Patriarch Nourhan Manougian is unqualified to lead the Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate and should resign before he causes further damage to the Patriarchate, to the Armenian nation, the Armenian Church, and the Armenian community of the Holy Land.
Here are further reasons—that demonstrate Patriarch Manougian should resign because of incompetence and worse.
In an interview three years ago with the AGBU magazine (“The Gate Keeper”, p. 17, Dec. 2018), he said: “The Armenian churches of Jerusalem have the biggest collection of sacred paintings numbering several hundred, and all need restoration.” He added that Italian experts would be hired to do the delicate work.
Three years later, nothing has been done.
The Patriarch also talked about the preservation of centuries-old clerical vestments. He said: “…Also, the precious vestments need to be protected by moving them to safer location. For that reason, we are planning to have a new art gallery.”
Three years later, nothing has been done.
The Patriarch said: “The reopening and refurbishment of the Mardigian Museum will be an important step in that direction [to attract tourists]. Visibility is one of our major goals.” He said the museum would open in two years.
Three years later, the museum reopening seems to be in the indefinite future.
He said: “We plan to build a housing project for young Armenian couples on a plot of land belonging to the Armenian Patriarchate.”
Three years later, he signed a 99-year-lease for that plot of land. But instead of building residences for young couples, he signed an illegal deal with Australian businessman Danny Rubinstein who would build a hotel on the land.
He also said: “…The next miraculous possession is the extensive Armenian Quarter—a spiritual fortress in the middle of an international city.”
But despite the above lofty description, he recklessly endangered the “miraculous” Armenian Quarter when he approved the 99-year lease.
By the way, there’s nothing “miraculous” about the ownership of the Armenian Quarter. It’s the result of a thousand years of sweat and tears, faith and dedication by Armenians whose donations enabled the purchase of the land, inch by inch. It’s the result of the donations of Armenian kings, princes, and merchants, and countless nameless pilgrims who having made the arduous and dangerous pilgrimage from Armenia to the Holy Land, donated money (sometime their life’s savings) to the Patriarchate.
Ironically, Patriarch Manougian also said: “We expect the Diaspora to closely follow developments…It’s not enough to be proud of the Armenian presence in Jerusalem. We expect follow up and lobbying for any eventuality.”
The Patriarch didn’t realize that his illegal and reckless acts would not only invite Diaspora’s attention but also convince the Diaspora that His Beatitude Patriarch Archbishop Nourhan Manougian is eminently unqualified to head the 1,600-year Armenian Church and community of the Holy Land. According to our sources Baret Vartabed has become acting Patriarch with Manougian “as his toy.” They add that whatever Baret Vartabed says is holy writ for Manougian. In recent days, the jumped up Vartabed has stated he decides everything and not the Patriarch.
Հրաժարիր եւ հանգիստ ձգէ մեզ
Full of lies and distortions. A disgusting piece on Jerusalem.
Explicit, correctly revealing chronology, articulate, and descriptive of Patriarch Nourhan having Alzheimer’s disease and the need for him to be placed in a home under care. While Khachig now Baret Yeretsian, taking revenge on his childhood poverty, seems to have gone overboard to rob the nation of its treasures and dignity.
To top it all, he has secured the support of a group of hoyetchmen club members, all terrified of his bullying. Thus de facto supporting Baret’s criminal activities. They too seem to have lost their sense of dignity to punish Khachig (Baret).
You dedicated and faithful local clergy, go ahead take charge! Don’t wait for the diaspora clergy to help banish him…
But not before, the Patriarch and Baret, rescind the 99 year lease of goveroun bardez and declare the secret “agreement” null and void. Legally, not just morally, these two, on their own and without the votes of the Church Synod, have no authority to try to give away the nation’s land for Jewish or other commercial use.
Mr. Hagop your brilliance is playing right into K2’s hands to take over Jerusalem. Nice to see you have adopted the “stroog” mentality taught to us by the Turks in attacking fellow Armenians with silly adjectives and innuendos, especially at a time when the Turks have pressed their advantage to continue their aims of annihilation. Job well done!
Peter, I take your point. I know K2 has ambitions of taking over the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. However, it was the scandal, precipitated by the illegal actions of Patriarch Manougian and Baret Vartabed, that opened the door for K2 to intrude. If the pair pull back their signatures perhaps the sorry story can end on a happy note and K2 sticks to his local shenanigans. It’s with a heavy heart that I expose the continued wrongdoings of Patriarch Nourhan and Baret Vartabed. How they, particularly the latter, have come to RULE the Patriarchate is a tragic puzzle.
What is “illegal?” Where is the law that was broken? These articles are nothing but hyperbolic adjectives that make Armenians look silly. Maybe you are right, but a thoughtful, intelligent argument would cite the law and then apply the facts to that law. If you do that, and the “law” you cite is valid and the facts you apply are true, then any intelligent reader would come to your same conclusion. Simply adding adjectives isn’t persuasive. And these are just hit pieces of Armenians attacking Armenians.
May I suggest Peter to read JERUSALEM BREAKING NEWS and ԶՕՐԱԿՑՈՒԹԻՒՆ – ՅԱՅՏԱՐԱՐՈՒԹԻՒՆ right in Keghart.org to familiarize himself with the laws that were broken? They are expressed by none other than 12 clergy members (that’s majority) residing in the patriarchate and seven Diaspora members of Sts. James Brotherhood, four of them very renowned archbishops.
Peter, Since you are questioning the assertion that the Patriarch and his right-hand man Vartabed Yeretsian have been caught concocting an illegal act, it’s obvious you have no knowledge of the scandal although you are attacking the fact-based article. Here are four obvious illegal acts by the above pair:
1. Long leases have to be approved by the Sts. James Brotherhood, according to Brotherhood rules
2. No one has the right to sign a 99-year lease–not even Sts. James Brotherhood members
3. Since Vartabed Yeretsian is director of real estate, he is automatically disqualified from voting/signing any real estate transaction because of a conflict of interest
4. The Sts. James Brotherhood members have not seen the 99-year contract although they are–by Sts. James Brotherhood regulations should be the first to see any lease. Neither have they been shown the map. According to Yeretsian, Brotherhood members are familiar with the lease although Yeretsian and the Patriarch refuse to show the agreement to anyone..
There are other illegalities on the part of the Patriarch and Yeretsian but the above four should suffice.
There is nothing there! That article simply says 12 members of the brotherhood condemn the sale. That does not mean a law was broken. Who passed the law and under what authority was the law passed? You cannot call something illegal because you disagree with it. If it were in fact illegal, the lease would not be effective because no valid contract can be signed by a party who is not authorized to sign on behalf of the part they represent. Why haven’t these people who were supposedly “wronged” filed a suit to challenge the validity of the lease if it was “illegal” for Baret to sign it? If this was truly illegal, then the aggrieved party would have a legal remedy of getting a court to block it. Do you not know how civil law works?
You can disagree with the decision as much as you want. But it’s not “illegal.” You just don’t like it.
When will Armenians get their act together and start fighting the Turks with a unified voice and plan? They are on the 5-yard line of their aim to wipe us off the map and this is what we spend our time bickering about. Maybe if Armenians actually cared about the treasure that is Jerusalem Nourhan and Baret wouldn’t have needed to go to an outsider to provide funds for the patriarchate. Israel has succeeded over the past 100 years because they are smart and organized. We are a joke.
Mr. Hagopian, thank you for keeping to well informed responses.
While you have a right to your personal opinions, no one can change the facts of the narrative of Khachig/Baret and Nourhan corruption, lies, misrepresentations of their wrongdoings through “official” communiques in the name of the patriarchate, the bullying of the clergy and residents, the lease of the hard earned centuries old church and community prime property to a non Armenian entity, occupying government, Australian Jewish businessman or others. There is more to their illegal and unethical activities but no room to add. You sound like a dedicated Armenian with global views. As such, for a start join the 12 honest local clergy and residents who know the facts on the ground and demand the illegal “agreement” null, and the banishment of these two from the Armenian church and Nation.