“The Supreme Spiritual Council is the advisory body of the Catholicos of All Armenians which discusses administrative, organizational, cultural, economic, constructional and charitable issues of the Armenian Church, as well as issues related to native and foreign churches” , is declared on the official website of Mother See.
As we can see, politics is absent from the list of issues mentioned, but the statement issued at the end of the expanded meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council convened at the Holy See of Etchmiadzin on May 17 is entirely political and appears to be written to support the actions of the opposition in the streets of Yerevan.
According to information published before the meeting, the participants were to consider the strengthening and renovation of the Mother Cathedral, the organization of the blessing of Muron, the situation in Armenia and Artsakh, the educational mission of the Armenian Apostolic Church within dioceses of Armenia. and Artsakh, as well as administrative and canonical matters. Hopefully all these issues were discussed by the members of the Supreme Spiritual Council, but obviously they did not find it necessary to address them in the final statement, and the focus was entirely on the political situation in Armenia and in Artsakh, criticizing the policies of the Armenian government and more or less repeating the views of the opposition.
The Armenian Church, being an apolitical institution, is one of our most important national structures and has the right to express its opinion and guide its followers on general issues. However, this becomes problematic when the Church gets involved in matters of domestic politics and begins to point arrows at one of the opposing camps in favor of the other.
A similar political statement was made by the Supreme Spiritual Council in February last year when the opposition once again took to the streets demanding the prime minister’s resignation. During these events, Mother See also joined in calls for the Prime Minister’s resignation. At that time, the Church was widely criticized for its intervention in the political life of the country. Now, with such a statement, the Mother See makes clear that it remains on the same point of view, even though elections have since taken place, and the Armenian people have spoken.
The second question that arises on this occasion concerns the silence and indifference of the Church in the face of the events of recent decades. During the events of the carnage of March 1, 2008, when 10 innocent people were killed in the streets of Yerevan by government forces, and during all the popular uprisings and demonstrations that preceded and followed these events, the Holy See remained silent, arguing that “the Church should not be involved in politics.” However, suddenly after the Velvet Revolution, clerics act like politicians, criticizing governments’ decisions and policies on issues, and often participating in opposition rallies.
These are some of the reasons why the rift between Church and people is widening, with many leaving the Church altogether, while others are taking to social media to express their outrage, sometimes using slurs against the clergy. To prevent such phenomena, the Church must reconsider its approach when dealing with internal debates and stay away from political issues, acting only out of national concern and taking into account the opinions of the people to whom the Armenian Apostolic Church and his clergy are called. to serve.