23 September 2021
A group of Jerusalem Armenians has sent an open letter to Patriarch Nourhan Manougian of Jerusalem expressing their discontent with his management of the Patriarchate and particularly the Patriarch’s recent real estate dealings. While the letter is addressed to Patriarch Nourhan, its second aim is to inform Palestinians of the Armenian community’s displeasure with the Patriarch’s external and internal policies.
His Beatitude Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem
Sts. James Brotherhood
We, the local Armenian community in the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Holy Land, raise our voice and declare:
The Status Quo of the Holy Places is considered since centuries a very delicate issue. Any change by any party is not acceptable and damages seriously for centuries the reputation of Armenian Patriarchs. Any change in the Status Quo in the Old City challenges and upsets the delicate political, religious, social and financial balance in the walled Holy City of Jerusalem and contravenes resolution No. 18/(1947) defining Jerusalem as corpus separandum.
Despite the fact that the local Armenians who live within the walls for hundreds of years face daily pressures to integrate forcibly (because of their cultural identity) always support their church to maintain the Status Quo. Despite their commitment to back their church they are taken to Israeli courts by representatives of the Armenian Church, instead of peacefully and amicably solving their problems out of court (James, 1-5).
The timing of Covid 19, represents and additional economic pressure on the society.
We call upon you to be a good shepherd. You should shepherd this community and mend the cracks and gather your sheep under your lead (John 10: 11-18).
And as spiritual sons of the Armenian Church we feel that you have abandoned your flock and left us to the wolves.
On the other hand, you do not listen to them, and you do not receive them. You do not support us socially, or through housing, employment for which we are in dire need, while our precious landed properties are being ravaged by foreign capitalists like greedy locusts at harvest time.
The problems and scandals are rising and affects adversely not only our society, but also the priests of the Sts. James Brotherhood. Honorable priests are being dismissed and replaced by uneducated and morally questionable priests.
Priests involved in scandals are offered powerful positions. The reputation of this institution is at stake and the reputation as well of our entire community.
As the oldest Armenian community in Jerusalem and as survivors of a genocide we feel deep shame vis-a-vis in front of the Christian and Muslim communities.