Armenia is going through distressful times. The domestic political events are passing through storms, the core of which is the calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, which is demanded by the opposition forces and others, but not widely supported by the public.

In these turbulent circumstances, it is remarkable and somewhat surprising the participation of high-ranking clergy in the ongoing political processes in the country. Immediately after the end of the war with Azerbaijan and turkey, the Catholicos of All Armenians joined those demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister, thus openly associating himself with one segment of the Armenian society against the other one. The position of His Holiness continues to be controversial and is being widely discussed within Armenia and in the Diaspora. Many believe that the Catholicos, as the head of the Church, should stay out of internal disagreements and be content with calls for solidarity and unity, without entering into the narrow paths of politics.

If we assume for a moment that the recent catastrophe that befell the Armenian nation was unprecedented and that His Holiness had his reasons to take such a step, yet, on the other hand, there is no justification for the unfortunate role played by other clergymen in sowing divisions in the society and further inflaming the heated climate. The Primate of the Shirak Diocese refuses to attend the memorial on the anniversary of the 1988 earthquake because Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is present. Moreover, he participates in the opposition rallies on Liberty Square in Yerevan, delivering a political speech. Other clergymen behave the same way, demonstratively marching in the front row of the opposition march to Yerablur Cemetery, and a day later they are absent from a larger mourning ceremony for those soldiers who have died during the war.

In recent days, a remarkable event has taken place during Pashinyan’s visit to the Syunik region, when one of the priests refused to shake hands with the Prime Minister and even had the audacity to invite him out of the church. Following this disrespectful behavior, many people in the area gathered in front of the church to demand the removal of the priest. The Vicar General of the Syunik Diocese was forced to issue an official statement, attributing the incident to a misunderstanding.

These and other similar events should be a wake-up call for the servants of the Armenian Church. It is not pleasant for anyone to see brutal criticism leveled against high ranking clergy on social media and elsewhere. As we watch and see, the chasm and the mistrust is widening between the people and the Church. Someday, politicians will solve their disagreements and today’s opponents will become allies, but the clergy will be forever deprived of the courage to look into the eyes of their flock.

In the face of these realities, it is up to His Holiness to call upon his clergy to step out of politics and follow the words of the Gospel by preaching solidarity, love, and unity.

  1. How are Armenians supposed to react? We Christians are being eliminated in the middle east and beyond. When Armenians turn around to look for those that are covering their back, there’s no one there! One hundred and fifty years this annihilation has been going on! Our clergy ARE Armenians too! Should the Catholicos be silent? I say he should be pounding the tables Where is the World Council of Churches? Does the Council even exist?

  2. Blame the Turks for the prominence of our clergy in our political affairs. When the Ottoman Turks occupied all of Asia Minor and most Armenians came under their rule, they appointed an Armenian Patriarch to Constantinople and gave him the authority to supervise Armenian domestic affairs. This lasted until 1915.
    After the Genocide, the Catholicos-of-all-Armenians lost its power because Armenia had become Soviet. In the early ’50s, the ARF took over the Cilicia Seein Beirut thus the that see became a department of the ARF. I believe when Catholicos Aram makes political statements, he first obtains the green light from the ARF. The Catholicos in Armenia has no political power and its spiritual prestige has eroded because of his corrupt ways and moral laxity. Anyway, both catholicos blow hot air when they make political statements because nobody pays attention to them…

  3. Unfortunately damage done is so deep almost irreversible to keep clergies silence is not discussable anymore.

  4. There is absolutely nothing Holy about this man Karekin II and his brother the Bentley driving pistol carrying Bishop, appointed by the gangsters running the nation from 1991 to 2018. We have not had a single credible leader since 1991.
    It seems the tragedies and mistakes along with traitors has not changed much from 2000 years ago, then it was Rome, Persia, Parthia and now we have Russia, Turkey & USA. The previous governments led by Kocharyan & Sargissyan raped and pillaged the nation, and they should never be allowed to rule again, Nikol is NOT and will never be a polished diplomat, he is honest at least, yet he ignored the constant messages from Putin to stop his crusades against the soviet era thugs.
    But this man, this pretender that reeks of corruption, whose soul has never been touched by the Holy Spirit , he must be removed at all costs.

  5. openly he associating himself with one segment of the Armenian previous political party which supported by mafia.
    Yes the church should stay out of politic and his corrupted leader of church with criminal background

  6. In my view the Armenian Clergy (especially the top HIERARCHY) who are trying to meddle in the Civil Process of Armenian Democracy, are the most corrupt, thieving, godless, and heartless CHARLATANS ever existed.

    These people shamelessly enjoyed HUGE PERSONAL BRIBES from the previous Armenian Ruling Mafia Mob (who robbed our Hyrenik and left it broke, before Nicol took over) are now fighting to restore their place on the Mafia’s Gravy Train once again.

    Long may Nicol live and govern our precious Armenia. with honour and dignity.

  7. I believe most of us agree the Armenian Church has been and still is crucial in the spiritual guidance and in the preservation of Armenian history, culture, and our national identity. This has been especially true in the Diaspora communities. However, like with all world religions, democracy, the way it is practiced in democratic countries, was never practiced by the Church and until very recently not in Armenia. Accordingly, it is understandable the Armenian Church hierarchy lacks the understanding of democratic governance. I hope it will soon realize the wisdom of separating state and church.
    Dickran a Malatjalian, MD

  8. All those who are supporting Catholicoi should do some research and read history before making any comment. Both Catholicoi came to the power by political parties, therefore, they have to obey orders given by their bosses.
    Old oligarchs brough Karekin II to the power the same day where Sparabed Vasken Sarkisyan and Karen Demirjian were assassinated. As for Aram, please read user jirtu’s comment, where he is correct and to the point.
    United States, France, Germany, England, Japan, Korea, China and almost every powerful country in the world keep religious out of politics. The church should stay out of politics in Armenia and Diaspora in order for us to have a brighter a powerful country.
    Remember Khrimyan Hayrigs “Yergate Sherep” message? Both Catholicoi know it very well but wealth and politics is what our religious institutions are all about.

  9. Even if corrupt oligarch who calls himself catholicos (thanks to the help from other oligarchs) were an angel, he should have no business in Armenian politics. As to Aram I of Cilicia, he should realize that people know he is the mouthpiece and a hired hand of the ARF.

  10. Massis is 100% correct,Talanchi karekin and ARF aram should never get involved in politics. Its a total disgrace.Where were they under rob/serjik corrupt and criminal regimes when people were being killed, rampant corruption and Talan, rigged elections all the time, fraud , torture, political murders & full of lies to the people, they did not utter a single word of criticism because they were part of the corrupt regime. Shame on them. People have long memories of them doing and saying nothing.

  11. Imperative reforms within our Armenian Apostolic Church SHOULD START with the resignation of DISGRACEFUL AND CORRUPT Karekin B Nersisyan. The rotten head of our Holy Church, not so much HOLY ANYMORE. ARMENIAN congregations are deserting our churches at an alarming rate. Soon there will be NO DISPOSABLE FUNDS TO PAY FOR CHURCH EXPENDITURES. Armenian Leaders should ring the Alarm Bell. Our enemies and the civilized societies are watching while our enemies from WITHIN are gone out of control.

  12. If the leaders of Armenian Church would stay out of politics in critical situations as we facing now — Armenians would lose their identity centuries ago. I would say Pashinyan should retire and stay out of politics because of his incompetence as a leader. He mislead people during a war, lied, and could not negotiate better agreement for Armenia when he could do this in the middle of October, 2020. Every day of Pashinyan in the office – Armenia is loosing territories and people.

  13. If the clergy decides to abandon his ecclesiastic pledge and enters the political arena, he must realize that he represents one vote and only one!

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