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Should The Armenian Church Be The State Church?


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#1 Zartonk

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 11:58 AM

Human rights activists believe that a new law on relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian Apostolic Church, adopted last week, will deepen discrimination against other religious organizations.

The law provides the Apostolic Church with a number of privileges: assistance from the state budget, the right to participate in the development of lessons for the ‘History of the Church’ subject for school curricula; and the opportunity to implement educational programs in educational establishments.


Mass media are also obliged to publish the Church’s official reports without changes, the state recognizes weddings and divorces conducted by the Apostolic Church, and the production and sale of items intended for church rituals are exempt from taxes. Those hearing confessions also cannot be questioned as a witness about information gained from a person’s confession.

Other religious organizations are deprived of these rights and privileges.

The law is the immediate result of an amendment to the Constitution adopted in 2005 that recognizes the exclusive mission of the Apostolic Church in the spiritual life of the Armenian people, the development of national culture and the preservation of national identity.

Avetik Ishkanyan, chairman of the Armenia Helsinki Committee, says that the law gives the Church a Ministerial status which is at odds with the constitutional separation of Church and State.

Armenia undertook an obligation as a member of the Council of Europe to remove discrimination against religious organizations. Ishkhanyan argues that this new law entrenches this discrimination.

“There are many citizens who are atheists or are not members of the Apostolic Church. Why should money they pay in taxes be allocated to the Apostolic Church?” he says.

“Why should a church report be published without changes and other organizations’ not? Why are only weddings conducted by the Apostolic Church recognized and by other churches not? Why should pupils study the history of the Church at school separately from the history of the Armenian people? These and other privileges show one thing – that the law compensates the support of the Church for the authorities.”

Stepan Danielyan, chairman of the “Cooperation for Democracy” organization, says that a failure to provide the same privileges to other religious organizations will put Armenia in breach of its international commitments.

“First, a new law on freedom of conscience should have been adopted in accordance with European conventions. Based on that law, a law on relations between the Apostolic Church and the state should have been adopted that did not contain discrimination. It is nonsense now,” he says.

The law states that the Republic of Armenia recognizes the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church as the national church with its center in the Mother See of Etchmiadzin.

Ishkhanyan says this ignores the culture created by pagan, Catholic, and protestant Armenians, as well as dividing followers of other religious organizations functioning in Armenia from the State.

Danielyan argues that the national provision contradicts the European Convention on Nationalities by which a nation is a form of relationship between citizens and a state, and national belonging is a citizenship.

Hranush Kharatyan, head of the Department for National Minorities and Religious Affairs of the Armenian Government, defended the law. She says that it does not introduce any discrimination and 70 percent of the detail was taken from the Law on Freedom of Conscience, which also extends certain privileges to other religious groups.

“Funding from the state budget is not related to religious rituals, so it is not a matter of discrimination. It is concerned with the preservation and enrichment of ‘cultural establishments, collections, museums, libraries, and archives that constitute a part of the statehood and national cultural heritage’,” she says.

“That is, what belongs to the Church is part of our national culture and can be under the auspices of the State.”

Kharatyan says that marriages conducted by the Apostolic Church are recognized as lawful because the Church applied to the State for recognition of them. Other religious communities can also apply for this recognition.

An ethnographer by profession, Kharatyan argues that the notion of nationality is controversial and has two meanings – in one case it implies ethnicity and in another it might imply statehood.

To describe the Armenian Apostolic Church as national is not quite correct, since its followers are not exclusively Armenians. The Udi people living in Azerbaijan are also apostolic, she says.

Edited by Zartonk, 02 March 2007 - 11:59 AM.


#2 Johannes

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 02:43 AM

QUOTE
Human rights activists believe that a new law on relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian Apostolic Church, adopted last week, will deepen discrimination against other religious organizations.


Ահա ասոր մասին կը խօսէի: Օտարերկրացիք (մեծ հաւանականութեամբ լրտեսներ եւ գործակալներ) Հայաստանի ներքին կեանքին կը միջամտեն ամէնանրբին մանրամասնութեամբ: Texasցի-alabamaցի ախմախ (այս բառը արաբերէն է գիտեմ) մը ինք իրեն նոր աղանդ մը ստեղծեր է, որու հետեւորդները խեղճուկ Հայաստանի (1992-ին խեղճ էր) մէջ գտած են 3-4 ողորմելիներ եւ որոնց «կրօնը» պաշտպանել կը նպատակադրեն այս մարդկային որմտանց ...կը ներէք իրաւանց պաշտպան խմբակները: Կը կարծեմ որ Հայաստան այս մարզի մէջ պէտք եղածէն աւելի ազատ է: Երանի թէ տնտեսական եւ քաղաքական մարզերն ալ այդքան ազատ լինէին:

Իսկ երբ սփիւռքահայ մը լեզուական կամ ուղղագրական խնդրի վերաբերեալ իր տեսակէտը կը ներկայացնէ. սովետամարդը կը ըմբոստանայ, ասելով թէ հանգիստ թողուցէք մեզ. մեր լեզուական խնդիրներով:





#3 annannimusss

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 05:33 PM

Simple answer,Yes.There is a Church of England so why should there not be the Church of Armenia,with it being the Armenian Apostolic Church.

#4 phantom22

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 07:47 PM

Kirk Kerkorian, one of the greatest of Armenia's benefactors is a Catholic, as is the only US Congressperson of Armenian descent, Anna Eshoo. George Deukmejian is a Protestant. Gregory Peck's elusive grandfather was a Armenian Catholic from England. Anglicanism is only one of the established sects in England.

This is not a positive development for Armenia vis-a-vis its diplomatic relations with the West.

QUOTE(Sako***** @ Mar 3 2007, 05:33 PM) View Post

Simple answer,Yes.There is a Church of England so why should there not be the Church of Armenia,with it being the Armenian Apostolic Church.



#5 Stormig

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 01:00 AM

QUOTE(Sako***** @ Mar 3 2007, 11:33 PM) View Post

Simple answer,Yes.There is a Church of England so why should there not be the Church of Armenia,with it being the Armenian Apostolic Church.

I'm not sure the Church of England is supported by the state. I think all churches rely on donations from congregations, something that troubles the Church of England some. If you want to visit their cathedrals, more often than not you have to pay an entrance fee like you would to a museum. Not so with the Catholics, who boast greater numbers of followers and greater donations!
I think that all churches and religious orders should be treated as NGO's/non-profits and provided help/benefits thus on that basis. All priests should be licenced personally, not by affiliation of church. Only then can you provide equality. Otherwise Armenia would not be very different from the so-called secular Republic of Turkey, where Muslim clerics are actually employees of the state!

#6 Vanetsi

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 07:12 PM

QUOTE(Sako***** @ Mar 3 2007, 05:33 PM) View Post

Simple answer,Yes.There is a Church of England so why should there not be the Church of Armenia,with it being the Armenian Apostolic Church.


Armenia isn't a monorchy in which the head is the leader of the Church.

#7 annannimusss

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 03:15 PM

Yes I know that, but the Armenian Church has an influence and a tie to the people that is unique in the Christian World.

#8 abass80

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 01:42 AM

i agree with Sako and i would also like to add that as a nation we have fought many battles for the preservation of our apostolic church.

this action should have be taken place the next day after the independence!

Edited by abass80, 19 May 2007 - 01:44 AM.


#9 Boghos

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 07:13 AM

QUOTE(abass80 @ May 19 2007, 04:42 AM) View Post
...we have fought many battles for the preservation of our apostolic church.


Kindly list such many battles.Thanks.

#10 DominO

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 10:13 AM

QUOTE(Stormig @ Mar 4 2007, 03:00 AM) View Post
I'm not sure the Church of England is supported by the state. I think all churches rely on donations from congregations, something that troubles the Church of England some. If you want to visit their cathedrals, more often than not you have to pay an entrance fee like you would to a museum. Not so with the Catholics, who boast greater numbers of followers and greater donations!
I think that all churches and religious orders should be treated as NGO's/non-profits and provided help/benefits thus on that basis. All priests should be licenced personally, not by affiliation of church. Only then can you provide equality. Otherwise Armenia would not be very different from the so-called secular Republic of Turkey, where Muslim clerics are actually employees of the state!


Well, the Notre Dame Basilica here in Montréal, it is Catholic, and you have to pay an entrance fee to visit it too.

#11 annannimusss

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:29 PM

Hmmm,Vartanantz!

#12 abass80

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 03:33 PM

QUOTE(Sako***** @ May 21 2007, 10:29 PM) View Post
Hmmm,Vartanantz!


that was the first battle in the history of mankind that was given for christianity! biggrin.gif



#13 Էլիա

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 09:19 PM

I just want to ask a relatively random question about Armenian Christianity (sorry if this disrupts your conversation[s]). You know how there are branches of Christianity? Is our branch considered Armenian Orthodox, or is Apostolic the name of our branch?

#14 RemainFaithful

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 11:20 PM

QUOTE(Էլիա @ May 26 2007, 06:19 AM) View Post
I just want to ask a relatively random question about Armenian Christianity (sorry if this disrupts your conversation[s]). You know how there are branches of Christianity? Is our branch considered Armenian Orthodox, or is Apostolic the name of our branch?

Attached File  meeting2.jpg   42.45KB   6 downloads
As far as I know, the Armenian Apostolic Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox category of churches, like the Syriac, Coptic and Ethiopean Churches. These churches believe in: One nature of the word of God incarnate.

#15 Էլիա

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 11:47 PM

QUOTE(RemainFaithful @ May 25 2007, 10:20 PM) View Post
Attached File  meeting2.jpg   42.45KB   6 downloads
As far as I know, the Armenian Apostolic Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox category of churches, like the Syriac, Coptic and Ethiopean Churches. These churches believe in: One nature of the word of God incarnate.

Շնորհակալ եմ, Remain Faithful. smile.gif


#16 phantom22

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 12:19 AM

The Armenian Church is one of five Oriental Orthodox Churches, the others being the Syrian, Coptic, Abyssian, and Malabar (India). These Churches are seperate from the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Apostolic signifies that it was founded by the Apostles Thaddeus and and Bartholomew.


QUOTE(Էլիա @ May 25 2007, 10:19 PM) View Post
I just want to ask a relatively random question about Armenian Christianity (sorry if this disrupts your conversation[s]). You know how there are branches of Christianity? Is our branch considered Armenian Orthodox, or is Apostolic the name of our branch?



#17 Էլիա

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 03:46 PM

QUOTE(phantom22 @ May 25 2007, 11:19 PM) View Post
The Armenian Church is one of five Oriental Orthodox Churches, the others being the Syrian, Coptic, Abyssian, and Malabar (India). These Churches are seperate from the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Apostolic signifies that it was founded by the Apostles Thaddeus and and Bartholomew.

What does it mean by Oriental?


#18 Zartonk

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 04:05 PM

Orient by definition is further east. It is merely distinguishes the miaphysite Churches from Eastern Orthodoxy.

#19 Armenak

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 04:26 PM

QUOTE(Էլիա @ May 26 2007, 02:46 PM) View Post
What does it mean by Oriental?

Don't get him started. msn-cry.gif

#20 Էլիա

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 04:38 PM

QUOTE(Zartonk @ May 26 2007, 03:05 PM) View Post
Orient by definition is further east. It is merely distinguishes the miaphysite Churches from Eastern Orthodoxy.

And the Eastern Orthodoxy would be the Greek Orthodox, etc?





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