Armenian Apostolic Church Must Be Saved From In-House Charlatans Masquerading as Spiritual Leaders

Posted on February. 12. 2019



Throughout centuries, even under Genghis Khan, Ottoman despotic rulers and Soviet dictatorship, Armenian Church has served as a bastion of preservation of Christian spirituality and Armenian identity.

Sadly, despite its rich history and invaluable heritage, Armenian Church is currently going through a major internal crisis. During the last couple decades the Church has undergone radical change … for the worst. And this seems to be only the beginning.

Although many church members and supporters in Armenia and throughout the Diaspora seem to be clueless about or are unwilling to speak out on the internal crisis that the Holy See of Echmiadzin is going through, there are countless reliable reports that the spiritual leadership has been fast-losing its orientation.

The church is not the only national institution facing such challenges. In recent decades, many of the faith-based and community-based national institutions of the Armenian people both in Armenia and Diaspora, have been experiencing deterioration as a result of rampant corruption, nepotism and mismanagement.

During the past several years, along with several Armenian media outlets around the world, the editorial boards of the twin weekly publications ? English-language USA Armenian Life Magazine and Armenian-language Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly have published several articles bringing to the forefront of public awareness the current issues adversely affecting the state of the Armenian Apostolic Church. They shall continue to do so until healthy-thinking forces within our community bring these invaluable national treasure under Armenian peopleЃfs direct supervision and disallow oligarchs to hijack the future of the Armenian people.

An article titled ЃgThe Temple is Crumbling: The Corruption of the Armenian Apostolic Church,Ѓh by Annie Demirjian, the Director of Glendon School of Public & International Affairs, York University on Policy Forum Armenia blog in late 2016, continues to be relevant.

Prof. Demirjian wrote: ЃgToday, the foundations of this ancient temple appear to be crumbling, as testified by two Armenian clergymen at an event organized by the Armenian Renaissance Toronto Chapter at the Westin Prince Hotel on December 1, 2016.  Some 100 community members turned up to listen to guest-speakers Reverend Armen Melkonian from Belgium and Reverend Mardiros Berberian (via Skype) from Moscow.  Both priests have been alienated and effectively excommunicated by the Church hierarchy in Etchmiadzin but continue to preach in their communities unofficially. In both instances, the respective parishes have decided to forego the authoritarian ultimatums of the Mother See in Etchmiadzin, opting rather to support their local priests. At the discussion, both priests made it clear that this narrative is not about them personally, and that they are not critical of the Church as an institution. Rather, their expression of concern relates to its governance in light of ample evidence of an inability to accept feedback and implement reform. This represents the beginnings of a dangerous trajectory. While for centuries the primary clergy and head of the church were elected by the churchЃfs Supreme Synod, the Catholicos today has instead chosen for the first time to appoint current ruling clerics, who are thus no longer accountable to the people they are designated to serve.Ѓh

In an August 2013 editorial compilation, JirairTutunjian and Contributors: V. Mekhitarian, M. Kojayan, D. Abrahamian wrote: ЃgIn the past few months a scandal?immense, terrifying and excoriating?has crashed into our national public arena.      ItЃfs no less than the management style and reputation of the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II. As catholicos, he is not just the spiritual leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, but is almost as important to the Armenian Nation as the president of Armenia. A smear on the catholicos is a smear on our Nation?even on those who are members of the Cilicia See, are Catholic, ProtestantЃc atheist.  The critics of Catholicos Karekin II have circulated petitions, published open letters and articles, convened meetings, commented on the electronic media, and some have even demanded the resignation of the catholicos. The accusations leveled are in the many scores: Fraud, moral turpitude, corruption, autocracy, the decline of Echmiadzin clergyЃfs morals and morale, malaise among the clergyЃcthe litany goes onЃcinclusive of the Seven Deadly Sins and some. A diatribe orgy? Hidden agendas by his enemies or enemies of the Church? Far-fetched allegations? Poison letters?Ѓh (See a compilation of the alleged failings of the catholicos at

Holy Echmiadzin, Armenia has become a personal leasure center where instead of carrying out their spiritual mission, certain spiritual leaders and

                              their underlings pursue personal fame and fortune at the expense of their flocks.

Reportedly, in 2011, it was revealed that Vicar of the Ararat Diocese Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan drove around in a Bentley (valued at $180,000-$280,000) at a time when the poverty rate in Armenia was at a whopping 34%. Many critics found Archbishop KchoyanЃfs reckless disregard and attitude Ѓgeven more unacceptable due to his position in the Armenian Church.Ѓh

Archbishop KchoyanЃfs justification: The Bentley automobile has been gifted to him by a wealthy Armenian. Question: CouldnЃft he settle for a modest brand car and use the remainder of the funds to help the needy among his flock?

Corruption, nepotism and absolute abuse of spiritual power and spiritual leadership position has not only engulfed Echmiadzin but has mushroomed to faraway dioceses such as Western United States and namely the Los Angeles basin.

Apparently weЃfre living in an era where individuals who turn out to be like military General Manvel Grigoryan of Echmiadzin, Armenia who had reportedly misappropriated aid packages provided by Armenia people for Armenian soldiers, never fulfilling the donorsЃf desire to help the soldiers.

 It looks like Echmiadzin, Armenia has become the center of many different types of Ѓ”General Manvels” especially on religious level. Many critics now accuse Armenian Church spiritual leaders for misusing donations received for the intention of helping needy Armenians squandering them on personal material fulfillment. These religious leaders are now accused to be eager more to drive around in Bentleys then fulfilling their spiritual mission.

The urge of driving Bentleys and living lavish lives by these so-called spiritual leaders has also infected lower-level clergy right here in Los Angeles.

Instead of carrying out their spiritual mission these anti-church parasites who are masquerading as spiritual leaders in their communities are in reality a bunch of charlatans who are abusing their positions of leadership for personal gain and are exploiting the goodwill of the members of the church.

A number of these charlatans (luckily theyЃfre not known to be many) masquerade as spiritual missionaries who deserve to be exposed and expelled from the church. Speaking of anti-Christ, these elements are the real parasites that are destroying the Armenian Church from within.

Their personal urge to drive around in Bentleys and living a lavish life at the cost of neglecting their spiritual missions may be called Bentley-Driving and Caviar-Consumption Urge Syndrome or simply Bentley Syndrome (BS).  A cure must be found to do away with this so-called “BS” illness.

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