Question to Armenian Mirror -Spectator’s Edmond Azadian: Support Etchmiadzin at all costs? Even at the expense of the credibility of the church?

Posted on February. 17. 2019

By Stepan Piligian

This editorial appeared in the most recent issue of the Armenian Mirror -Spectator and was authored by Mr. Edmond Azadian. At first glance the first half of the column reads like a Cold War era script that fueled the division of the community. I apologize but I can let this commentary go without a response. Mr. Azadian is well known for his obidience to Holy Etchmiadzin and his distain for the Great House of Cilicia. Dredging up old wounds with caustic language not only shows how out of touch this editorial is, it does not serve the interests of the Armenian community.
The premise of the article is simply absurd. Comparing the ills of our church in the Middle Ages to the dark days in the American Diocese to the formation of the Prelacy in 1955-57 to the approach of the Pashinyan government is illogical. The common thread? Same theme. Support Etchmiadzin at all costs? Even at the expense of the credibility of the church? We can leave that for another time.
What motivated me to respond was the “convenient” omissions and ridiculous attacks on the Cilicia See. First let me say that all Armenians , all humans should be saddened the events of 1933. Regardless of your view of the core issues, no one can condone the murder of an Archbishop. Period.
I do agree that their have been various “external” influences in the church over time. Yes the ARF has significant influence in the Cilicia See. Is it any different than the influence the AGBU has had in Etchmiadzin at various times? Insiders in both organizations would counter that their “influence” has strengthened the institutions and added value. Debate it all you want but it is clear that it is human to seek power and we, Armenians, are not immune to that.
I take particular issue with his attacks on the Cilicia See. The Cilicia See , the seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians for centuries has a glorious history in our church and should not be demeaned. I grew up in one of the “dissident” churches in Indian Orchard, MA. They were “unaffiliated” for 22-23 years after the division and virtual abandonment. The point is that there were and are dedicated Armenians Christians in all these churches…whether Prelacy or Diocese. The sooner we end this senseless name calling the stronger our community will be. I have been affiliated with both Prelacy and Diocesan churches. I love the Armenian Church…. no matter where it is and under what “administration”. We all abhor the division but belittling some is no way to behave in 2019.
The elevation of Catholicos Zareh included one bishop from a sister church in communion with the Apostolic church. Not bad for basically being boycotted by the rest of the church. I take offense to labeling Catholicos Khoren of blessed memory as “nortorious”. What is the basis and purpose of that cheap shot. Again this editorial read like a reprint from the 1950’s.
At a time when our churches are suffering from assimilation and at times lack  of focus on the important issues, we need to rally together as one people. Our faith teaches us to forgive. Those times were difficult. Attacking conscientious people with not so subtle rehash….adds no value. Mr. Azadian…with due respect….this is not what our community needs. We should have much higher expectations.

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