PASHINYAN MAKES BOLD STATEMENT ON ARMENIAN CHURCH CORRUPTION

Posted on September. 30. 2019

BREAKING NEWS: LOS ANGELES SEPT. 27 PM

In response to a media inquiry by USA Armenian Magazine in Los Angeles, PM Pashinyan stated that if corrupted Armenian Church clergymen attempt to weaken the Armenian State, they will be brought down to their knees.

BY APPO JABARIAN

In a desperate attempt to pit Armenian public opinion against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the embattled (Pope) Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II went on TV in Armenia, announcing that he would meet Pashinyan upon the latter’s return from U.S. to ‘demand clarification’ on the Prime Minister’s remarks in Los Angeles. PM Pashinyan doesn’t owe any clarification to anyone.

In an effort to escalate their verbal offensive against PM Pashinyan, Karekin II’s clansmen have erroneously claimed that Pashinyan had “attacked the Armenian Church and the clergy” and pathetically boasted that “Armenian clergy would kneel down only before God.”

The anti-Pashinyan accusations by Karekin II’s lackeys were baseless. In reality, Pashinyan had clearly singled out those arrogant and corrupted clergymen and ‘showered’ them with stern warnings against sabotaging the Armenian State. On many occasions, Pashinyan has stated that he is totally devoted to the wellbeing of the Armenian Church and is categorically against the endangerment of the bedrock of Armenian Faith. PM Pashinyan has been consistent on his opposition to widespread corruption within the church leadership.

Back in Nov. 2018, Pashinyan had underlined that The Armenian Apostolic Church has never been more discredited than during the years of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (2008-2018) because Serzh Sargsyan and his team have made the church a lackey of the ruling authorities.”

For several months now, along with many others across the globe, this writer has been alerting the members of the Armenian Church and the community at large of the impending danger engineered to destroy the Faith of the Armenian people. PM Pashinyan’s recent declarations in Los Angeles, clearly validate those concerns.

What prompted PM Pashinyan’s lucid and courageous statement was a timely question on corruption in Armenian Church, raised during a Sept. 22 press conference in Los Angeles, by USA Armenian Life Magazine and Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly’s contributing writer Vosgan Mekhitarian: “Taking into consideration the deterioration of Armenian Church and (corrupted) Armenian clergy’s ratings, not to mention that they are already on the brink of an abyss, I would like to learn your clear position. The expression that you articulated recently has not satisfied us. You said that the two entities (the Armenian State and the Armenian Church) are separate, and should never mix.  There is no need to give history lessons here, during the entire last two millennia, the Armenian Church had very clear ties with the state or the kingdom, and they were never separated from each other and they have always worked together. You stated that the State is not tied (to the Armenian Church) or will not interfere in the internal affairs of the church. This is an urgent issue that concerns not only our brethren and sisters in the Homeland but the entire 8 million-strong Diaspora. I would like your clear answer.

Armenia’s Prime Minister Pashinyan responded by stating his position clearly and in the strongest possible terms. He emphasized that no one should take his smiles as a sign of weakness: “When we say that we will not interfere in the church’s internal affairs, some clergymen mistakenly assume that ‘this is not like the previous government, this is a weak government. So, let’s destroy the foundation of this government.’ They will be hit back real hard. And they will be brought down to their knees both literally and figuratively.”

Speaking of Armenian Church‘s democratic autonomy, PM Pashinyan said: “In our history … Armenian Church’s independence was due to (Armenian) King Pap’s decision. Up until that period our Catholicoi used to receive their title and authority in Caesarea from the Ecumenical Church, but King Pap made a willful decision that Armenian Catholicoi should be elected in our country (Armenia). … We need to delve deeper … and understand the reasons. … Do we want the government to get involved in church affairs? If it turns out that the Armenian people want the government to be involved in Armenian Church affairs, the government will discuss the possibilities that exist.”

Armenian people should feel blessed that the visionary King Pap of Armenia nationalized the Armenian Church and laid the foundations for a permanent democratic election process within the church. Now, after many centuries, Armenian Church has established itself as a unique Christian institution in the world that is self-governed through its democratic structure predominantly manned by its laypeople. During one of the darkest periods in Armenia’s history, even the Turkish Ottoman despots had to oblige and respect the autonomy of the laypeople-controlled and -managed Armenian Church.

Who are the real representatives of the Armenian Church? The Catholicos (elected head of the church) along with other religious leaders or the parishioners — the laypeople?  According to the Armenian Church Constitution (By-Laws), the ultimate representatives of the Armenian Church are the laypeople who constitute the landslide majority of the church electorate. The laypeople have the authority to elect or vote for the resignation of any spiritual servant starting from the lowest-ranking clergy, all the way to the top leader, the Catholicos of All Armenians.

But what would happen if the Armenian Church’s electoral system is rigged and democracy is hijacked like it is today under the current occupant of the pontifical seat Karekin II and his cohorts at various diocesan satellites around the world such as Arch. Hovnan Derderian of Western Diocese in U.S. and Karekin II’s blood-brother Yezras of Moscow at Armenian Diocese of Russia? Today, let’s be clear, the laypeople feel helpless with the current situation worldwide and are frustrated for not being able to force their resignation of such tyrants as Karekin II, and his clansmen Derderian and Yezras.

In Los Angeles, PM Pashinyan wisely underlined that “Through its parish-governance structure, Armenian Church should continue its course. … But if the Church (The People) feels the necessity of the (Armenian) government’s assistance, then the government must step in.”

Now that the anti-Armenian Church Soviet despotic regime is gone, free and independent Armenian State should move to save the church from itself by empowering the Armenian people to exercise their rights under Armenian Church Constitution without any hindrance.

In the case of Holy See of Etchmiadzin, the Catholicosate of All Armenians is located in Armenia under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Armenia. Therefore, the Armenian State has the fiduciary duty and the responsibility to protect its citizens who are also parishioners in the Armenian Church.

What about separation of Church and State? When push comes to shove, which one of these two entities has the over-riding authority over the other? The Armenian State or the Armenian Church? The answer is clear: As a supreme authority for self-governance within designated borders, as a subscriber of the universal right of self-determination and as a guarantor of basic human rights, the Armenian State is obligated to protect the wellbeing and the rights of its citizens.

For a moment, lets focus on the ongoing case of American citizens who were/are abused by U.S.-based Catholic Church clergy. While it’s true that there is separation of church and state in U.S., the U.S. federal government has the ultimate responsibility and authority to step in and protect its own citizens against sexual or any kind of abuses by clergymen.

Let’s say a religious leader in the Armenian Church in Western Diocese or anywhere else in U.S., breaks the laws, or sexually or otherwise abuses a child or the church members, the local, state and federal governments are obligated to step in and protect their victimized citizens and bring the culprits to justice. That’s the Rule of Law.

Under the leadership of Arch. Hovnan Derderian, Western Diocese has suffered several legal defeats as recently as Jan. and April 2019 (Superior Court case no.18STCV02144). This kind of behavior by Armenian Church Western Diocese led by Arch. Derderian is in direct conflict with PM Pashinyan’s political agenda, as it undermines his recent achievements in California and at the United Nations General Assembly, sabotaging The Velvet Revolution’s objective of eradicating corruption in Armenia and Diaspora.

In United States, The Constitution guarantees the birthright of every citizen to Freedom of Belief, Worship and Faith. And as such, Armenian Americans have every right to declare that any dark force that tries to destroy the bedrock of the Armenian Faith will be held accountable and will be brought to justice.

Everyone must acknowledge that the sole proprietors of the Armenian Church, Nation and identity are the Armenian People!

As members of the Armenian civil society, we cannot, we shall not and we will not allow any one single entity monopolize the Armenian Nation or treat Armenia or Armenian Diaspora as a ‘banana republic.’

In an effort to help his people steer away from becoming ‘a banana republic,’ PM Pashinyan stated on Sept. 24 in New York: “I would like to share my impressions for this year and 5 months after the revolution. … The path of change as a whole is rather difficult, and when the revolution occurred, the most important challenge after the revolution that we faced was to make people realize that everything that happened was reality, because no matter how strange it may sound, not everyone realizes that this is reality.Our mission is not to achieve any status and enjoy this status, but our task is to achieve profound, substantive, institutional changes in the country, as well as to change the quality of our country, … life …  and the work of institutions in our country. This is a path on which there will be no compromise.”

In order to ensure Armenia’s and Diaspora’s success, the spirit of reform movement must permeate all segments of the Armenian civil society both in Armenia and Diaspora. Participation of the critical mass is vital for effective fostering of the Armenian Nation’s health and interests.

3 responses to “PASHINYAN MAKES BOLD STATEMENT ON ARMENIAN CHURCH CORRUPTION”

  1. Telo & Co. says:

    Thank you! Perhaps this can also make a dent in the inroads that cults have made in Armenia in the absence of a true national apostolic church engaged with its flock.

  2. Tavo says:

    The church needs to be cleaned up for the benefit of both itself and the Armenian people.

    And the ARF in the Western USA should not be giving Archbishop Derderian an award.

  3. Ardachece Barseghian says:

    it is exciting to be truthful that must impose itself on our church since the end of the Soviet era and today the end of the autocratic era of the mafiawho betrayed national history. I am grateful for your fight in the service of the dignity of ALL the Armenians and for the continuation of the political fights

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