Glimmer of Hope

By Hagop Hagopian, Ontario, 14 December 2021

Horse latitude is an area on both sides of the equator where occasionally the winds die rendering sailing ships stationary. According to folk etymology, several centuries ago, Spanish sailors trapped in a windless ocean, would throw their horses overboard because of the diminishing supply of water. Thus, the region came to be known as horse latitudes.

Following several months of scandal and controversy regarding the fate of Jerusalem’s Goveroun Bardez, the issue has seemingly settled into doldrums…into horse latitudes. After publicly stating their opposition to Patriarch Manougian’s decision to sign a secret 99-year lease for Goveroun Bardez to a Jewish businessman from Australia, the clergymen have gone silent, apparently without a Plan B. Meanwhile, Armenian Jerusalemites have remained silent because many live in church-owned residences, send their children to the church-owned Armenian school and their main socializing centres—the clubs—are in the patriarchate-owned Armenian Convent. One vociferous anti-lease person has been banned from entering the convent. Meanwhile, the three main diaspora political parties have remained silent like the Sphinx.

It is obvious that unless a new factor — a catalyst — enters the equation, the wrongheaded and obstinate Patriarch Manougian and his co-conspirators (Fr. Baret Yeretsian and doddering “yes man” Archbishop Sevan Gharibian) will get away with their treacherous and church-and-nation damaging plot to give away Armenian national land to almost-perpetuity. The trio behave as if the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem is their personal property inherited from their parents. We say “national” because the Armenian Quarter, which includes Goveroun Bardez, was acquired in the past millennium through the donations of Armenians—rich and poor, peasant and pilgrim, merchant and nobleman. The Aleppo-born Johnny come lately (actually, Boghosig come lately) patriarch is merely a steward (97th) of the Armenian nation’s patrimony in the Holy Land.

According to unconfirmed reports from people close to the patriarchate, the Goveroun Bardez giveaway is the tip of the iceberg: other real estate assets may have been sold or their sale would be made public when the Goveroun Bardez storm dissipates.

There are also indications that the ailing patriarch is eager to retire but is inveigled by grey eminence Yeretsian to stay because if the patriarch goes, Yeretsian’s days would be numbered. Jerusalem is the last sanctuary of Yeretsian after his checkered (to put it politely) career in North America. He has nowhere left to go. In the vulgar parlance of Yeretsian, Jerusalem is his last-chance saloon.

But there’s a glimmer of hope that the Nourhan/Baret/Sevan Axis will not get away with its betrayal of the Armenian Nation and Church. That hope comes from an unlikely source: President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Abbas opposes the Goveroun Bardez almost-forever lease because he rightly sees it as further encroachment on Christian and Muslim lands in the Holy Land. A few days ago, President Abbas sent a large delegation to Armenia to consult with Catholicos Karekin and government officials on how to stop the Goveroun Bardez secret agreement from becoming reality. Through the delegation, Mr. Abbas invited the Catholicos to Jerusalem for the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

It’s important that the Catholicos accepts the invitation. It is his—and the nation’s–best opportunity to examine the lease agreement which the patriarch and the deplorable Yeretsian have refused to divulge, contrary to every legal and moral imperative. Their secrecy encourages the justified speculation that they will personally benefit financially if the deal is not declared null and void.

We believe the patriarch will not be able to stonewall the Catholicos for the simple reason that if he does, he would lose all legitimacy and become another Judah or Vasag…a nobody with a proclivity for mini chocolate balls. He would become a pitiful effigy representing no one let alone be the autocephalous leader of the Holy Land Armenians. If he refuses to recant the notorious deal he will become a pariah, and will be forever ostracized by the Nation and the Church.

The Holy Land visit of the Catholicos would be the best opportunity to liberate Goveroun Bardez from the claws of speculators and a handful of rancid and incompetent—if not corrupt–“clergymen” who through cruel fate are in charge of one of Armenian nation’s most precious assets.

  1. Time has come that the Catholicos and the other bishops of the St. James Brotherhood arrive in Jerusalem.
    These two Baret and Nourhan (Boghosig) are a big danger to the entire Armenian nation and church.

  2. Չհասկացա, թե ով է գրել այս […] հոդվածը։ Եթե ​​դուք այդքամ նախանձախնդիր քրիստոնյաներ եք, եկեք ներդրումներ կատարեք Երուսաղեմի պատրիարքարանի հողերի տարածկում – ապա պետկ […]:
    Comments containing inappropriate remarks, personal attacks and derogatory expressions will be discarded

  3. According to Mr. Yafatsi’s logic, the seven million diaspora Armenians should move to Armenia to prove they love their homeland.
    Maybe Mr. Yafatsi of Jaffa should relocate to Jerusalem to show his devotion to the Armenian patriarchate.

  4. It is time these empty accusations regarding Jerusalem should be stopped. Go and pursue the millions of dollars that have been sent to Armenia and made to disappear. Get explanations from them.

  5. Thanks a lot for the news. This is a shameful and painful story, especially after the recent war. Not only Armenians in Armenia are selling their people and the land, but outside of Armenia, members of the church whom we used to highly respect are involved in such a scandal. Regards, Tania (Taguhi).

  6. When three is no leadership in any institution, country or any organization this is what happens; we have to create a body of honest people to control and supervise the ruling leadership in any position they may be, governmental or civil, or religious activities to be able to protect and safekeep our national interests. Do we have this kind of honest people to trust? I don’t know; otherwise all kinds of tragedies could come on Armenia as a country and on the Armenian people all over the world. Enough is enough, wake up now before it is too late. If not it will be too tragic .

  7. To Serj Yafatsi.
    I agree with you that it would have been better if Armenians from Jerusalem, Diaspora and/or Armenia invested in those lands. But just because they haven’t invested, it doesn’t mean that we should allow the misuse of the Armenian property by the Patriarch and his gang for their personal profit and to the detriment of Armenians.
    Bedros Kojian

  8. In her/his wisdom, Sulahian has decided the accusations against Patriarch Nurhan and Baret vartabed should stop. Does she/he(?) think the accusations are false or unimportant? Sulahian also seems to think the Armenian nation can focus on one issue at a time. Finally, Sulahian doesn’t seem to mind if Armenians lose one-sixth of the Old City of Jerusalem (perhaps the most valuable piece of land in the world) due to the incompetence/corruption of a pair of disgusting characters.

  9. Ms. Joyce Sulehian,
    Enough with your lies. Nourhan (Boghosig) and Baret are traitors.
    Tell me please what are the empty accusations? they sold the land for 99 years! they sold the entire Armenian Community in Jerusalem!
    It seems Nourhan and Baret are still asking you to protect them on Facebook or other media sites while the entire Armenian Nation wants to get rid of them.
    Be on the good side of history.
    As a former Jerusalemite Armenian, I played at the Goveroun Bardez, I spent my childhood there. Who is Nourhan to sell this land? Did his dad from Aleppo buy it? or did Baret (Khatchig) buy this land? or maybe Sevan Gharibian brought this land with him from Bourj Hamoud.
    This land belongs to the Armenian Nation! Nourhan (Boghosig) and Khatchig (Baret) don’t have the right to touch it. Do us a favor and let those who really care of what is happening in Jerusalem do their job.

  10. Dear Mr. Karlozian,

    In principle I agree with you that we have no supervising mechanisms, or systems of oversight in many of our charitable and other organizations, specially those that are under the control of “parties”.

    In this instance in Jerusalem, however, there is a system of oversight, in fact two of them to regulate the transactions. The illegality of the patriarch and Baret is that they bypassed those mechanisms, and in secret made a deal the repercussions of which may be very grave for the Armenian community in Jerusalem, the Armenians in general, for the Vatican and the Palestinians (Muslim and Christian) who have a stake in the integrity of the lands in Jerusalem.

  11. Re Joyce Sulahian’s comment in Keghart in defense of the Corrupt and Lawless Twins (the so-called Patriarch Nourhan and his sidekick Yeretsian Vartabed). She is pretending to be a Keghart reader. Keghart readers have the right to know who Ms. Sulahian is. She is the author of the several communiques the Jerusalem patriarchate has issued since the Goveroun Bardez scandal exploded in the face of the Corrupt and Lawless Twins.
    By the way, Yeretsian became vartabed more than fifty years ago. One wonders why is he still a vartabed after more than fifty years. Were the various North American parishes he “served” unimpressed by his performance? Did he frequently move to different North American parishes because the parishioners were unhappy with his conduct? Was parishioner unhappiness the reason he was forced to return to Jerusalem …where he made a royal mess of the seminary until he was incredibly elavated to the position of “director of church real estates” by fellow dubious character Patriarch Nourhan.

  12. Again you are dead wrong. I have had nothing to do with the communiques issued on the property in question or regarding any other communique issued by the Patriarchate.

  13. Since it’s Xmas, I have to believe in Santa just as I believe Patriarch Manougian and Yeretsian Vartabed have been writing their communiques and proclamations since they give away Armenian land to suspect foreigners. I don’t agree with the several Armenia TV personalities who advocate the elimination of the two Jerusalem crooks. However, the idea that they might not be given an Armenian Church burial appeals to me.

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