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GOERGIANS AT THEIR BEST


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#1 MosJan

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:03 PM

ARMENIAN TOMBS PROFANED










On International Day for Tolerance, November 16, the graves of two Armenians -Michael and Lidia Tamashyans, were desecrated in Tbilisi. They were buried more than 100 years ago under the walls of Norashen Church.

According to the Armenian Centre for Collaboration the profanation was carried out at the head of Georgian clergyman Tariel Sikincheshvili. The latter says "he simply moved aside the gravestones to clean the earth."

The Centre considers the profanation another step aimed at destruction of Armenian cultural and historic heritage in Georgia.

http://www.a1plus.am...issue&iid=66248

#2 MosJan

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:07 PM

Tbilisi, November 16, 2008. The courtyard of the Norashen Church. Under the supervision of Georgian clergyman Father Tariel Sikinchelashvili, gravestones located on the premises of the 15th century Armenian church in Norashen are being demolished. © Hetq



#3 MosJan

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:08 PM



#4 MosJan

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:09 PM







#5 MosJan

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:09 PM










#6 MosJan

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:10 PM







#7 MosJan

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:11 PM







#8 Arpa

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 01:15 PM

What a shame!
Whoever said “ Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”?
They meant this. The Trojan Horse.
http://markelikalder...rojan-horse.jpg
They should have also mentioned those qatsordi Vratsis and Rouskis too.
Are we still fighting to see which is the more “orthodox” Christian?
To not forget that recent, and ongoing for centuries ridiculous fiasco fistfight in Jewrusalem.
Only if our “Ghevond Yerets’s “ would relocate their fights to the borders of furkey and azebabounjan?

Edited by Arpa, 17 November 2008 - 05:59 PM.


#9 Aratta-Kingdom

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 04:52 PM

AAC condemns Georgian clergy actions in Norashen Church


18.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC) condemns the actions of the Georgian clergy in Norashen Church in Tbilisi, head of Holy Echmiadzin’s press office, father Vahram Melikyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

“We are hopeful that the Georgian church hierarchy will prevent further “initiatives” of father Tariel Sikinchelashvili,” he said.

On November 16, Georgian monk Tariel Sikinchelashvili instructed workers to raze to the ground the graves of Mikhail and Lidia Tamamshev.

This barbarian act outraged Armenians, who demanded to let the graves in their place. However, Father Tariel responded with harsh statements.

Upon arrival of representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church and parliament member Van Bayburt, the Georgian monk said he just wanted to replace the gravestones to “clean under them.”

Policemen have filed a formal report about the incident.

A representative of Georgian Ombudsman also arrived at the site.


#10 Aratta-Kingdom

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 04:58 PM




Georgian monk orders to demolish Armenian graves in Norashen Church yard



17.11.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ On November 16, Georgian monk Tariel Sikinchelashvili instructed workers to raze to the ground the graves of Mikhail and Lidia Tamamshev.

This barbarian act outraged Armenians, who demanded to let the graves in their place. However, Father Tariel responded with harsh statements.

Upon arrival of representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church and parliament member Van Bayburt, the Georgian monk said he just wanted to replace the gravestones to “clean under them.”

Policemen have filed a formal report about the incident.

A representative of Georgian Ombudsman also arrived at the site.

Church of Norashen was founded in 1467 and renovated several times since then. During the Soviet era, the church was transformed into an archive. Eventually, in 1989, shortly before Georgia’s independence, the Georgians intensified and multiplied their actions aimed at appropriating the church in order to transform it into a Georgian orthodox one.


#11 MosJan

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 05:33 PM

nor gites inch eyi m@tatsum

menq mer yekeghetsiner@ incqanov enq pahpanum or otarnerin asenq te inch anen kam chanen
meronq mi luma chen nerdum veranorogman hamar mer isk shinutyunnerin, hashvi charnenq spyurqi nerdrum@ bazmatiov vanqeri verakangnman yev veranorogman hamar,

#12 Aratta-Kingdom

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 11:43 AM




Vandalism and misappropriation of Armenian churches in Georgia goes on


It actually turns out that Georgian Government pampers Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) in their initiative to appropriate Armenian churches, believing that Armenians have nowhere to go. This position is dangerous and apparently leads to a deadlock.


18.11.2008


On November 16 Georgia once more committed vandalism towards the long-suffering Church of Norashen in Tbilisi. This time for infamous priest of the Georgian Orthodox Church Father Tariel Sikinchelashvili as an object of barbarity served the graves of Mikhail and Lydia Tamamshevs. The outraged mob of Tbilisi Armenians strongly demanded that gravestones be placed back, and a bitter quarrel began.
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Father Tariel made harsh statements in response, stressing that “Armenians are inclined to capture what is not theirs”. However, upon arrival of representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Member of the Georgian Parliament, Armenian by nationality Van Bayburt, the Georgian monk tried to justify himself by saying that he had just moved the gravestones away to “clean under them”. Hence, we wonder what he was going to clean there.

The Church of Norashen was built in the middle of the 15th century. In 30s of the 20th century together with other religious buildings the church was closed for religious activities and was transformed into a depository of books. However, after Georgia’s independence, the Georgian Government did not return the church to its legal, historical owner but, instead, multiplied its actions aimed at appropriating Norashen.

After two days of silence the Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC) expressed its opinion on the act of sacrilege (Tariel’s actions cannot be interpreted otherwise). «We strictly criticize the treatment of Georgian clergymen towards the Church of Norashen in Tbilisi. What is going on in the yard of the Armenian Church Norashen is disharmonious with the spirit of the centuries-old relations between the Republics of Georgia and Armenia. I am in no doubt that Hierarchy of the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) will take all the necessary steps for suppressing the actions of Father Tariel Sikinchelashvili, since they are not in agreement with the Christian spirit», said Head of Holy Echmiadzin Press Office, Father Vahram Melikyan.

Melikyan also noted that Georgian Eparchy of the AAC does not have a state status yet, and the Church of Norashen, in fact, does not belong to it. «All the Armenian churches in Georgia belong to the State, and it ill-treats them, certainly with the help of the GOC clergy.

In a word, vandalism and misappropriation of Armenian churches in Georgia goes on, despite the agreement between the Prime-Ministers of both countries not to maltreat the Church of Norashen. For some reasons Tbilisi welcomes the existence of synagogues, catholic churches or mosques in its territory. Doesn’t the reason lie in the belief that Armenia cannot spoil relations with Georgia as the latter is the only land road leading to the outer world? It actually turns out that Georgian Government pampers Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC), believing that Armenians have nowhere to go. This position is dangerous and apparently leads to a deadlock. May it be so that Georgia follows Azerbaijan’s example, where misappropriation and demolition of Armenian monuments has become a norm? Everything is possible.

Meanwhile the newspaper “Caucasus” of 1850 reports about consecration of the foundation of a newly reconstructed church in the Armenian cemetery. Here the original text follows: «On July 8 at 8:00 a.m. in the Armenian cemetery near the Moscow post, foundation of a new Armenian church was laid. It is said to be called after St. Peter. Titular Councellor David Tamamshev, initiator of this praiseworthy work, began the construction at his own expense. Honorable and dishonorable figures of the City of Tiflis all witnessed the ceremony. The Thanksgiving Service was paid by local Diocesan Archbishop Karapet, Archbishop Minas and other Armenian priests. Uttering a payer, His Grace washed the church stones and blessed all the four sides of the foundation. Afterwards, the chorus of priests performed a holy chant, while the stones were anointed crosswise. Veneration with which His Grace performed all this ceremony touched everyone present; at least I was deeply moved. Then, taking the pick, he dug 4 holes on each side of the foundation, putting there those stones wrapped into a cloth, which were dedicated to each Evangelist…».

We do not know what family ties David Tamamshev had with the married couple buried in the churchyard of Norashen. But one thing is definite: God treats everyone in accordance with their actions, and Father Tariel will receive what he deserves. And lastly, here is the opinion of a true Georgian, Tbilisi resident Gel Vasadze, who is not indifferent towards what is going on in his country. «Norashen should be given to the Gregorian Church and it should be given by the State, which is the guarantor of rights and freedom of all the citizens of Georgia, irrespective of their nationality and religion. It should be handed over no matter who it was built by - Armenians or Georgians. Why should it matter? What matters now is that this step is necessary for us, ethnic Georgians because the future of our country lies in the diversity that now exists in Georgia, in Tbilisi, and in the Georgian market. By taking this step we would be able to conquer ourselves, we would be able to overcome our complexes. The other day, when I was in Tbilisi, I met Uncle Volodya (Vasadze’s neighbour). He was too weakened because of his age. And I am heartily looking forward to the day when Norashen will again be functioning as a church and I will look into my old neighbour’s eyes and admire the look in them».

#13 MosJan

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 12:16 PM

Վրացական իշխանությունների կողմից հայ փոքրամասնության իրավունքների խախտման նոր փաստեր

Հոկտեմբեր 25, 2008


Վրաստանում գործող բոլոր միջազգային կազմակերպություններին, դեսպանություններին եւ իրավապաշտպան կառույցներին

Հակառակ Վրաստանի իշխանությունների կողմից էթնիկական փոքրամասնությունների իրավունքների պաշտպանության գծով ստանձնած միջազգային պարտավորությունների, փոքրամասնությունների խնդիրներին լուծում տալու տարբեր միջազգային կառույցների, այդ թվում` ՄԱԿ-ի մարդու իրավունքների հանձնոժողովի, ինչպես նաեւ մի շարք իրավապաշտպան կազմակերպությունների հորդորներին եւ հանձնարարականներին` վրացական իշխանությունները շարունակում են անտեսել եւ արհամարհել հայ փոքրամասնությանը հուզող խնդիրները, ավելին` մի շարք քայլերով էլ ավելի են սրում լարվածությունն ու դժգոհության մթնոլորտը:
տպել

ուղարկել ընկերոջը

Այսպես, թեեւ Հայ Առաքելական Եկեղեցու Վիրահայոց թեմը պահանջում է իրեն վերադարձնել խորհրդային ժամանակաշրջանում բռնագրավված տաճարները, եւ մասնավորապես` Թիֆլիսի Սբ. Նորաշեն եկեղեցին, թեեւ այդ պահանջը օրինական է ճանաչվել բազմաթիվ միջազգային ատյանների եւ իրավապաշտպան կազմակերպությունների կողմից, վրացական իշխանությունները ոչ միայն անտեսում են այն, այլ ընդհակառակը` արտոնում հարեւան վրացական եկեղեցու սպասավորներին իրականացնել շինարություն Սբ. Նորաշենի անմիջական հարեւանությամբ, որի նպատակն է շենքի վերջնական բռնազավթումը Վրաց Ուղղափոռ Եկեղեցու կողմից:

Այս տարվա մայիս ամսին շնորհիվ Թիֆլիսի հայ համայնքի բողոքի ցույցի, Վիրահայոց թեմի դիմումների եւ վիրահայ եւ հայաստանյան հասարակակական կազմակերպությունների, այդ թվում նաեւ` «Երկիր» միության հայտարարությունների` հաջողվեց առժամանակ կանգնեցնել Սբ. Նորաշենը շրջապատող պատի շինարարությունը: Սակայն մի քանի օր առաջ շինարարական աշխատանքները վերսկսել են, ընդ որում` նոր թափով (տես լուսանկարները):

Սբ. Նորաշեն եկեղեցու շուրջ տեղի ունեցող գործընթացներին զուգահեռ վրացական իշխանությունները, ոտնահարելով ժողովրդավարության եւ մարդու իրավունքների տարրական նորմերը, շարունակում են քաղաքական ենթատեքստ ունեցող քրեական գործեր հարուցել ջավախքահայության շրջանում ժողովրդայնություն վայելող գործիչների նկատմամբ:

Այսպես, մտացածին մեղադրանքների հիման վրա 2.5 տարվա ազատազրկման է դատապարտվել «Միասնական Ջավախք» ժողովրդավարական դաշինք» քաղաքական շարժման անդամ Արթուր Պողոսյանը, հետախոզման մեջ է հայտարարված Գուրգեն Շիրինյանը, իսկ նրա հայրն ու հորաքույրը կալանքի տակ են: Կալանքի տակ դատի են սպասում «Միասնական Ջավախք»-ի առաջնորդ Վահագն Չախալյանը եւ նրա անչափահաս եղբայրը, նրանց հայր` Ռուբեն Չախալյանը ազատ է արձակվել գրավի դիմաց:

Շարունակվում են չլուծված վիճակում մնալ նաեւ հայ փոքրամասնությանը հուզող այլ խնդիրներ.
- Հայ Առաքելական Եկեղեցու վիրահայոց թեմը շարունակում է զրկված լինել պետական գրանցումից.
- Վիրահայությունը, եւ հատկապես համախումբ Ջավախքում բնակվող նրա հատվածը, շարունակում է թերի ներկայացված լինել հանրային կյանքի բոլոր ոլորտներում.
- Շարունակում են գործել օրենքները, որոնք պարտավորեցնում են փոքրամասնություններին հանրային գործունեության բոլոր ոլորտներում` ինքնակառավարման մարմիններում, տեղական վարչական մարմիններում եւ տեղական կրթական համակարգում, օգտագործել բացառապես վրացերենը.
- Տեղական վարչական, կրթական եւ այլ մարմիններում պաշտոնների նշանակումը շարունակվում է փոխկապակցաված մնալ վրացերենի իմացությանը:

Այն պայմաններում, երբ Վրաստանը փորձում է ապաքինվել ռուս-վրացական հակամարտության հետեւանքներից եւ ազդարարել է երկրի ժողովրդայնացման եւ օրենքի իշխանության հաստատմամն ուղղված բարեփոխումների նոր փուլի մեկնարկի մասին, հայ փոքրամասնության նկատմամբ նման վերաբերմունքը էլ ավելի անտրամաբանական եւ տարօրինակ է թվում:

Հաշվի առնելով վերոնշյալ փաստերը` «Երկիր» միությունը դիմում է ՄԱԿ, ԵԱՀԿ, Եվրամիության եւ Եվրախորհրդի համապատասխան մարմիններին, ինչպես նաեւ համապատասխան միջազգային կառույցներին եւ իրավապաշտպան կազմակերպություններին` ջավախքահայության եւ վիրահայության նկատմամբ Վրաստանի իշխանությունների ներկա խտրական քաղաքականությունը զսպելու ուղղությամբ անհապաղ եւ ուղղակի միջոցներ ձեռնարկելու, քաղաքական հետապնդումներին վերջ տալու եւ հայ փոքրամասնության խնդիրների լուծմանն օժանդակելու կոչով, եւ մասնավորապես`

- Վերջին շրջանում Ջավախքում կալանավորված բոլոր քաղաքական բանտարկյալների ազատ արձակմանը, նրանց նկատմամբ հարուցված բոլոր քրեական գործերի կարճմանը
- Ջավախքում օրենքի իշխանության հաստատմանը եւ հայ բնակչության անվտանգության եւ զարգացման իրական երաշխիքների տրամադրմանը
- Կրոնի ազատության հաստատմանը եւ Հայ Առաքելական եկեղեցու իրավաբանական գրանցմանը
- Բռնագրավված հայկական եկեղեցիների իրենց օրինական տերերին վերադարձմանը
- Վարչական միավորներում, որտեղ հայ բնակչությունը մեծամասնություն է կազմում, հանրային կյանքի բոլոր ոլորտներում օրենսդրությամբ Հայոց լեզվի օգտագործմանն արտոնմանը:
Միջազգային հանրությունը պարտավոր է անհապաղ միջոցներ ձեռնարկել, որպեսզի հնարավոր լինի խուսափել իրավիճակի հետագա սրումից եւ խոչընդոտել առճակատման նոր օջախի առաջացմանը:

«Երկիր» Հայրենադարձության եւ հիմնավորման հասարակական կազմակերպությունների միություն
Երեւան, Հոկտեմբերի 24, 2008թ.

Տես նաեւ՝ Հայկական եկեղեցիների ճակատագիրն անորոշ է

#14 Johannes

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 12:31 PM

Այս է՞ ժողովրդավարութիւնը, որմով հպարտ, դաս էր կարդում գունաւոր յեղափոխիչ, քարոզիչ ու թաւշեայ մեխակակիր Սահակի շվիլին:

Edited by Johannes, 24 November 2008 - 12:34 PM.


#15 MosJan

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 11:44 AM

GEORGIA PERPETRATES GENOCIDE OF ARMENIAN CULTURAL HERITAGE

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What is happening to Armenian churches in Georgia is nothing but genocide of our cultural heritage, an Armenian historian said. “Bare condemnation of the acts of vandalism will produce no effect. A crime has been committed and those guilty should be punished by the international court,” Samvel Karapetyan told a news conference today. “The Armenian National Council in France has already taken measures to prevent violence. It brought a suit on demolition of Armenian monuments in Djulfa to the European Court of Human Rights. Hearings will be launched soon,” he added. Over 650 Armenian churches are situated in the territory of Georgia, most of them being appropriated or destructed by the Georgian side. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture should take action to put an end to the Georgian policy. By punishing those guilty of this crime we will make our vandal neighbors respect us and our cultural heritage,” the historian said.

#16 Aratta-Kingdom

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 04:56 PM

http://globalvoiceso...church-scandal/



WATCH THE VIDEO:


http://www.youtube.c...church-scandal/



http://www.youtube.c...church-scandal/


With religion arguably playing a greater role in the lives of most of its citizens according to recent surveys, the ever strengthening power of the Orthodox Church in Georgia has long been of some concern in the South Caucasus republic. Publishing her research paper online in August, blogger Diana Chachua warned of the dangers.

"A truly democratic society cannot accept physically or verbally aggressive treatment of its people on the basis of religion or belief — which has taken place to a great extent over the years in Georgia. From a legal standpoint, these aggressive acts represent a classic case of hate crimes motivated by religious bias, and religious extremism. "

Misusing of those religious values against other religious representatives and in personal political aims is what makes hard for country like Georgia to exceed from transition period into full length democracy. "Looking through Georgia’s past and present, religion nationalism still keeps its hazard and this is what should be avoided."


Today, that point was not lost on protesters who gathered outside the Georgian Embassy in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, to protest the latest example of religious hegemony and intolerance, presumably with the tacit approval of the State, in their northern neighbor.

This time, however, the target of the Georgian Orthodox Church came in the form of seizing a derelict Armenian church in Tbilisi which should have been returned to its rightful owners following the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

Conflicts between the Orthodox Church and other religious denominations have been complicated and frustrated by the special recognition afforded to it under the Georgian constitution.

The demonstration, organized by a small group of [mainly nationalist] local bloggers, decried what they called the “death of a newborn democracy” in Georgia.


Interestingly, while The Tunnel at the End of the Tunnel sets the background, The Armenian Observer notes that [ethnic Armenian] bloggers in both Armenia and Georgia were the first to report on the scandal which soon escalated when a Georgian priest was discovered desecrating Armenian graves.


Blogs were the first to blow the whistle about the fresh attacks by Georgians on Armenian church - St. Norashen in Tbilisi. The traditional media tailed the blogosphere in disseminating the information and providing analysis.

The posts and comments started rolling in the blogosphere after Vesta’s post:

“Today, on November 16th, father Tariel Sikinchelashvili, along with several workers, started to demolish the graves of Tamamshyanns placed in the backyard of Norashen church. The crowd of frustrated Tbilisi-Armenians demanded that tombstones be returned to their original locations”.

"

Another journalist-blogger Mark Grigoryan is drawing parallels and asking questions.

“I want to particularly stress the fact, that it is hard to imagine something like this happening in the capital of “much hated by Armenians - Turkey”. And here, look, in the “brotherly Georgia”… what a shame! I am appalled by the silence of Georgian public.”


Indeed, the threat to St. Norashen is not new and was reported on by Armenian blogger Pigh [RU] in June.

Since then, 517 Design [RU] has started a Facebook Group to protest the inaction of the Georgian authorities in preventing what most see as a clear case of violating ethnic minority and religious rights.

The blogger also posts photographs from today's demonstration. A blog, Save Armenian Church “Norashen” in Tbilisi, Georgia! [EN/GE/AM], has also been set up at http://norashen.blog.com.


#17 MosJan

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:52 PM

Armenians of Georgia urge to stop barbarous destruction of Armenian cultural heritage 28.11.2008 14:12 GMT+04:00 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian community of Georgia issued an open letter over destruction of Norashen Armenian church.

The letter says in part, “The Armenian community of Georgia urges to stop barbarous destruction of Armenian cultural heritage by the Georgian clergy. The regular attempt to seize Norashen is outraging. The altar and unique frescos are eliminated; grave are desecrated.

In May 2008, father Tariel Sikinchelashvili’s ordered to isolate Norashen with a fence with symbols of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

The attempts to “georgify” Norashen started in 1989. The altar, whose form is peculiar to the Armenian Apostolic Church was demolished, wall paintings erased.

Presently, the status of Surb Norashen, Surb Nshan, Shamhoretsor Surb Astvatsatsin (Karmir Avetaran), Yerevanots Surb Minas and Mugni Surb Gevorg in Tbilisi and Surb Nshan in Akhaltsikh, confiscated during the soviet period, is still unknown. Owing to the absence of law on religion, Georgian clergy occupy the Armenian churches.

The Armenian community of Georgia urges to stop barbarous destruction of Armenian cultural heritage.”



#18 MosJan

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 01:10 PM

Armenians of Tiflis Can’t Even Light Candles in the Armenian Church

Kristineh Aghalaryan December 01, 2008


“We want to enter the Norashen Church to light candles, that’s our right, no?” says Mikayel Davtyan, an Armenian from Tiflis. “Every Sunday we go to the Norashen courtyard, it’s a meeting place for Armenians. Why can’t we go inside and light candles?”

The Holy Mother of God Church in Norashen is one of the churches “in question”. It is presently closed while the courtyard serves as a gathering place for local Armenians. Armenians of Tiflis have accepted this development quite painfully given that a solution to the status of the Armenian Church in Georgia and the question of handing over the five Armenian churches in Tiflis to the Armenian Apostolic Diocese had been dragging on for years.
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The Georgian Armenian community believes that in order to obtain a final resolution on the matter a more resolute stance must be taken regarding the Georgian authorities and demands must be made that they legalize the status of the churches and the Armenian Diocese according to international obligations that the Georgian authorities themselves have assumed. Karen Elchyan, President of the Armenian Cooperation Center of Georgia (ACCG) states that they have sent protests to the local Diocese and to Etchmiadzin criticizing their lackadaisical attitude and that they sent letters personally addressed to Catholicos Garegin II and the Georgian Cultural Minister calling for a halt to the illegal actions taking place at Norashen and to resolve the issue of the other churches.

Karen Elchyan notes that, “The answer by the Vehapar can be summed up in a few words, basically that, ‘congratulations for being so active; work with your local Primate and we’ll resolve all existing problems’. The Georgian Cultural Ministry responded that the matter had to be taken to higher authorities since they couldn’t handle such a serious matter. Given that this is the second time this year that we have raised the matter of the same church and we only receive a negative follow-up by the Armenian Apostolic Church, the label of ‘provocateur’ and merely countless promises by the ROA authorities, we are resigned to wait for more concrete actions. Again, we will wait and see what transpires but at the same time we are drafting more serious lines of action.”

An Armenian from Tiflis who wished to remain anonymous lamented that, “In May when they first started to build the wall I was there. Every Sunday I go to the church courtyard. The people assembled were quite annoyed and were waiting for the Primate to say something but all he said was ‘if you need the Norashen church go and fight for it’.

Our anonymous Armenian added, “How can we go and fight? We don’t have good diplomatic or spiritual leaders. And our parliamentary delegates are delegates in name only; what can we expect from them. In the end, what has changed in Georgia that they’re all so afraid. We must stubbornly put up a fight to be able to enter the church. At the end of the day will we go in or not?”

Shirak Torosyan, a Deputy in the Republican Party faction and President of the “Javakhk” Patriotic Union views the stance of his Tiflis Armenian colleagues as logical and believes that it stems from the system created in Georgia and that given the existing objective conditions it’s not that realistic to expect anything from it. Shirak Torosyan states, “They tried to intervene in the recent incidents, to quickly settle the matter, so that the noise doesn’t reach the ears of the international public, so that the voice of Armenians isn’t heard. This also doesn’t correspond to the interests of the more influential individuals in the Tiflis Armenian community. You either have to be a parliamentary deputy or not.”

Van Baybourtyan, an advisor to the Georgian president and Vice President of the Armenian Union of Georgia, informed the “GHN” news service that he had already witnessed, for the fourth time, the promise of Georgian clergyman Father Tariel to get the agreement of the Georgian Armenian Diocese before conducting any of his initiatives. After all this, Van Baybourtyan is still convinced that Father Tariel is solely conducting improvement work. “Father Tariel has declared that he works for the well-being of the church and that he actually merely improving the flower bushes in the Norashen courtyard and repairing the fence near the western entrance.” stated Mr. Baybourtyan stressing that Father Tariel voluntarily placed a symbol unique to the Georgian Church on the fence. “Father Tariel conducted all that work without the written consent of either the Georgian Patriarchate or the Municipality of Tbilisi.” he added.

Artyom Grigoryan, the head of the Monuments Preservation Division of the ROA Ministry of Culture, states that they usually send off letters but receive no responses. On the occasion of the recent incident, the Vice Minister of Culture, who is also the President of the ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) branch in Armenia, petitioned the President of ICOMOS in Georgia. Mr. Grigoryan confirms that his office cannot intervene in the matter since it is still not clear whether the Norashen church is registered in the list of Georgian historic-cultural monuments or not. During an international conference held in Tbilisi in 2003 they attempted to carry on talks and obtain the Georgian registry of historical-cultural monuments. Despite the many promises they received that such lists would be made available, nothing ever was handed over. They haven’t yet attempted to make such a demand in writing.

Mr. Grigoryan states, “I can assume that it is the hidden intention to gradually erase all Armenian traces in Georgia, something that is possible if there is government intervention. It is also possible that the people do it spontaneously as well. This manifestation has deep and serious roots. We all know that Armenians had a great contribution in the creation of the city of Tiflis and this probably causes some complexes within the authorities and people of Georgia.” He confirms that the manifestation of the destruction of monuments doesn’t only take place in Georgia and that it often takes place on a political basis. Such occurrences cannot be stopped by writing one letter because if a given country has set such a policy it will be realized, sooner or later. Mr. Grigoryan is convinced that the Georgians don’t include well-known monuments in their registry because they’d have to assume responsibility for them if they did so. “We must establish relations and foster goodwill on their part and calm their fears that such things do not pose a threat and are only historical realities and the result of the coexistence of the two peoples, nothing more.” notes Mr. Grigoryan and adds that in this case nothing can be done and we can’t penalize them. In his estimation the only possible route is to pressure the Georgians via UNESCO since that country is a member of UNESCO and has accepted the “Nature and Monuments Preservation Convention”. When asked why they haven’t yet availed themselves on this route and what must be done to avoid such occurrences in the future, Mr. Grigoryan answered with apparent difficulty, “Now that is a matter of state policy and I have some trouble responding to the question. It can be initiated by the Cultural Ministry but it wouldn’t be the best way to go. We went that route over the destruction of the gravestones in the Jugha (Julfa) Armenian Cemetery, we petitioned ICOMOS and UNESCO. But the Georgian issue is somewhat different; we must get them to understand the need for goodwill. I realize that a resolution to the matter must be found but I’m not able to find the right approach, because we have a tragic situation in the case of Azerbaijan.”

It is strange that the ROA Ministry of Culture hasn’t even come up with an approximate calculation of the Armenian historical and cultural monuments in Georgia, not even in the Armenian-populated areas of Samtskhe-Javakhk. Mr. Grigoryan points out that the Armenian Architectural Research NGO deals with that matter and adds, “We have materials in our archives but we are not presently engaged in the issue.”
Samvel Karapetyan – “If we can spit on the graves of our ancestors every minute then it’s a waste of time to reside on these lands”

On November 21st, Armenian bloggers took their anger and protest in front of the Georgian Embassy in Armenia. They carried a casket reading “you have buried the democracy newly born in Georgia”. The demonstration participants demanded that the Georgian authorities punish Father Tariel for his violations of Armenian churches in Georgia. One of the protestors declared, “There is criminal acts and hooliganism going on. Cemeteries are being defaced and historical monuments being destroyed. When you break somebody’s window a criminal case is brought against you but in Georgia they make you a priest and the protection of the state, respect and honor. No one is saying that crimes are being committed. Crimes are being committed against humanity, a sort of white genocide. It turns out that such acts are being permitted and being encouraged. The same crimes are being committed in Javakhk.”

The head of the office of the Armenian Architectural Research group also is convinced that crimes are being committed and that if the Georgians don’t punish those responsible then the only alternative is to petition the European Court. “For centuries we have been engaged in the arts and trades. Now we must engage in the court process. The source of our revenue has been the arts and trades, now the court can also be a source of revenue. Our forefathers have created so much and our neighbors destroyed so much that we can live off the court cases for a few centuries.” notes Samvel Karapetyan and adds, “We must change things and sue people rather than write letters to the government or the Primate. If we are going to continue with the logic that the Georgians can close the way in a court case and if by that logic we inhabit 30,000 square kilometers of land on this planet, then we must give way to those nations with honor and who can live with honor. “If we can spit on the graves of our ancestors every minute then it’s a waste of time to reside on these lands”

After the recent events in Norashen, Shirak Torosyan, a parliamentary deputy aligned with the Republican Party faction in Armenia, Vice-President of the “Powerful Fatherland” Party and President of the Javakhk Patriotic Union, along with Haykazun Alvrtsyan, Senior Scientific Worker at the Armenological Center at Yerevan State University, gave several press conferences expressing their concerns. Mr. Alvrtsyan is certain that, “All this is a result of the fact that there is no refined policy on the matter either by the government or by the Holy See in Etchmiadzin. The society at large raises its voice constantly on these issues but they are in need of play rules as defined by established inter-governmental and inter-church relations.

Father Vahram Melilyan at the Etchmiadzin’s Information Division stated, during a debate staged on November 21st at the “Hayeli Club”, that the Holy See is not indifferent to these matters and is constantly taking action to prevent such trespasses. “Don’t believe that silence is the overriding response. We are working on the matter but it’s not always expedient to make our actions known publicly.” Father Vahram clarified.

Shirak Torosyan gladly proclaimed that the ROA Prime Minister, the President of the National Assembly and the Holy See have reacted to the concerns voiced at the press conference and that a protest has been dispatched to Georgia via the Georgian Embassy in Armenia. Mr. Torosyan adds that, “The result is that Father Tariel has asked for forgiveness and the gravestones have been put back in their place.” According to Deputy Torosyan if such violations occur in the future they will have to think of ways to prevent such occurrences. “I would like to believe that after all this similar things will not be repeated in Georgia and if they do then it just shows that there is no respect towards their citizens that constitute a sizeable national minority, towards spiritual values in general and towards their neighbor nation.”

Finally, on November 21st, the Holy See of Etchmiadzin also expressed serious concern over the matter. The Supreme Spiritual Council “condemned the improper steps and activities in opposition to the Christian spirit and the friendship of nations” and called on “the children of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church to stand firm with the Armenians of Georgia in their efforts and struggle in the defense of Armenian churches and their national holy treasures.”


http://hetq.am/eng/society/8593/

#19 MosJan

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 11:55 AM

HRANUSH HAKOBIAN: MONK HAS NO BUSINESS TO JEOPARDIZE ARMENIAN-GEORGIAN RELATIONS

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Armenian state structures should interfere to decide the fate of Armenian churches in Georgia. This is a common case, the RA Minister of Diaspora Affairs said. “We should understand that the Armenian-Georgian friendly relations are very important for us. We do understand that this problem can damage our relations. But all should remember that a monk has no business to jeopardize them,” Hranush Hakobian told a news conference today. Condemning acts of vandalism, she emphasized that Armenia should to protest encroachment on the Armenian cultural heritage and interact with international structures dealing with the problem. On November 16, Georgian monk Tariel Sikinchelashvili instructed workers to raze to the ground the graves of Mikhail and Lidia Tamamshevs. This barbarian act outraged Armenians, who demanded to let the graves in their place. However, Father Tariel responded with harsh statements. Upon arrival of representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church and parliament member Van Bayburt, the Georgian monk said he just wanted to replace the gravestones to “clean under them.”

#20 MosJan

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 11:56 AM

ARMENIAN STUDENTS CONDEMN DESECRATION OF ARMENIAN CHURCHES IN GEORGIA


Some 2 thousand Armenian students gathered today at the UN premises in Yerevan to protest destruction of the Armenian churches in neighboring Georgia and to condemn indifference of the Georgian authorities. The students demanded that vandalism against the Armenian cultural monuments in Georgia be stopped, according to a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter on the ground. The protest action was followed by a march toward the Georgian Embassy, where the demonstrators handed their open letter to the Ambassador.




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