Further Isolation for the Shameful Jerusalem Trio

Fr. Baret Yeretsian

By Hagop Hagopian, Canada, 8 October 2022

According to reliable Jerusalem sources, two weeks ago Baret Yeretsian, the vartabed who is real estate director of the Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate, was refused entry into neigbouring Jordan.

Yeretsian has been the driving force in the scandalous and illegal leasing of the Patriarchate’s Goveroun Bardez (“Cows’ Garden”) and the much-prized business buildings in West Jerusalem to Jewish/Israeli developers. The government of Jordan, along with the Palestinian Authority oppose the handing of these Armenian lands to the Israelis. The two Arab governments have made frequent representation, in writing and in person, to the Patriachate to rescind the 99-year leases. They have even offered to pay for legal costs related to the withdrawal of the Patriarchate’s signatures from the leases. Yeretsian has worked closely with Patriarch Nourhan Manougian and Archbishop Sevan Gharibian who was forced to sign the Goveroun Bardez lease. Despite opposition to the illegal leases by Armenian clergymen in the Holy Land and outside, the local Armenian community and the Armenian media in the diaspora and Armenia, the shameful trio has played havoc with Armenian-owned lands in the Holy Land.

Yeretsian, who is still a vartabed more than fifty years after being ordained, has frequently tangled with the Palestinian Authority regarding the illegal leases. A year ago, he gave up his Jordanian citizenship. Like Patriarch Nourhan he holds U.S passport. Seven years ago, Jordan banned the entry of Patriarch Nourhan to Jordan and in the past year confiscated the passport of Gharibian. Patriarch Nourhan, Yeretsian, and Gharibian now hold Israeli ID only.

The Jordanian government’s refusal to allow Yeretsian’s entry to Jordan completes the isolation of the three most senior officials of the Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate from Arab governments and public. It also severely weakens the 1,600-year Armenian presence in the Holy Land.

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  1. Cigar smoking clergy should be expelled from the church. Those expensive cigars are bought with the savings of many poor faithful. It is like smoking the blood of the orphans, widows. How dare them.

  2. King Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom and President Mahmoud Abbass of Palestine should withdraw their recognition of Patriarch Nourhan, this will end the scandal.

  3. How degrading for the respectable Armenian Nation and “Holly Land” community to witness the Patriarch and his lawless supporter ie Khachig/baret, have been prevented from entering Jordan as persona non grata because of their unauthorized sale of Armenian Patriarchate centuries old properties.
    Mr. Derderian,
    How will the withdrawal of recognition, of Nourhan as patriarch, by King Abdullah of the HKJ and President Abbas of Palestine end the scandals? This creature seems to be above the Jordanian and Palestinian Laws.

  4. Dear H.
    Every elected Patriarch in Jerusalem should receive a “firman” (recognition document) by the King of Jordan. The withdrawal of the “firman” will open the path to dismiss Nourhan from his role as a Patriarch, because he will no longer be recognized as a Patriarch. The withdrawal of the Jordanian “firman” and the Palestinian de-recognition will change a lot the situation and will make it easier to get rid of these two treacherous and shameful people.

  5. Thanks for exposing this rotten pack that tramples on the honest and faithful clergy, who dedicated their lives to support the church.
    Who are they to make these unlawful deals with third parties? Our suffering as a small community is immeasurable. Our ancestral heritage is molested.
    We ask loudly to stop these shameful acts.
    I am very content with this article and hope many more are issued. Long and good work Keghart. I understand the end-product is showing soon. We pray all goes well and Baret is signed off his post. Our small community has suffered enough shame and disgrace facing the other Christian and Muslim communities.

  6. Glad to see a response by Armenians on the stealing Armenian church properties by charlatan clergymen. Glad also to see that King Abdulla stood up to them when many Armenians are silent about it. Angry also to see that no response was made by the good old Catholicos in Yerevan. We need the help from King Abdulla to evict the three thugs by an official force to set example for the next generation of clergymen. They should be expelled and never seen again.

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