MONEY SPENT ON CHURCHES IS ENOUGH TO HAVE STATE-OF-THE ART WEAPONS FOR ARMY
Siranuysh Papyan, Interviewer
Interview - 11 February 2015, 14:39
Interview with Samvel Karapetyan, archeologist
Mr. Karapetyan, it became known that in 2006-2007 a personal bank
account existed Swiss HSBC with 1.1 million dollars on it. Was it
unexpected for you and can this change the public attitude?
I am not surprised, nor was it unexpected. First, any organization that
is not national is sacrilegious for me. The target of this organization
is not the homeland, this church has never taught its pasture to live
for the sake of their homeland and it has never acted in favor of the
homeland but was for migration, guided by the dishonest saying "live
where there is bread" and it is not accidental that this saying is so
ubiquitous here, because it comes from the behavior of the church. It
is in the part of the world where there is bread, it has never lived
for the sake of the homeland and has never led its pasture to live
for the sake of the homeland. From this point of view, it is not a
national organization, and I do not care in which country and which
bank a non-national organization keeps its money.
Isn't the Mother See supposed to account for registering bank accounts
of the Mother See in the name of the Catholicoses?
Who should it account to? The public...? The public has been uprooted,
and one may not account to a public without roots. Do you know what
kind of public would demand an account? The one which has learnt to and
lives for the sake of its homeland, and its greatest value is homeland,
and if someone betrays their homeland, such society would hold the
organization responsible. However, because of the seeds sown by this
organization our society is wasted in national terms, it has lost its
quality and therefore been uprooted. On what grounds should the one
that has been uprooted hold responsible the one which has uprooted it?
This bank account was opened in 2000. The spokesman for the Mother See
explained that the money was raised for the church over these years.
At least over the past few years the Catholicos was distinguished
for initiatives in construction. And recently I have made rough
calculations of how much money has been spent on building churches
since independence all over the world. I did rough calculations: over
two billion dollars has been spent on building churches all over the
world, and I am sure that an organization which spent such immense
amounts on building churches would have savings in Swiss and other
countries' banks. These are immense funds, and one fourth of this
money would be enough to have an army armed with state-of-the-art
weapons. Of course, now they are focused on basic things, such as
night vision equipment, basic things that everyone should have at
the border area. Can you imagine that this sacrilegious organization,
instead of sucking money and building meaningless mental houses called
us to buy modern weapons for our army which is crucial to the survival
of our nation? 25 years after the earthquake people still live in
cottages. You should not invest millions of dollars in building some
church while our pasture lives in humid cottages, suffering diseases a
quarter or century after the earthquake. This is a shame, such sea of
indifference towards one's pasture, they don't care for the Armenian
people, and they imagine themselves shepherds. They are a sacrilegious
organization with sacrilegious personnel. This is a treacherous and
rootless organization which intends to squeeze the nation by misleading
it, well it's just a 100% non-national organization. They are teaching
children history of the Armenian Church, fooling children.
According to the clarification of the church, the church is a
national religious organization and is not subject to taxation,
and the patriarch is exempt from taxes.
Look, who are those 6000 deserters? The ones who are trying to live
in welfare at the expense of the misery of their pasture. These 6000
are only in the territory of Armenia, the army is swarming with them,
with their anti-national preaches in schools they have not allowed
us to put down roots in this land. Migrating from one continent to
another like fugitive, gathering people around them for just a few
decades, they are watching how their pasture is destroyed in front
of them, they don't care about this, they built churches outside,
they did not even make Armenian inscriptions on them, there are only
French inscriptions on the Armenian church of Marseilles, they did not
even write in Armenian, they don't care for the alphabet invented by
Saint Mesrop Mashtots, neither do they care for the language. All major
migrations from the homeland were always headed by the clergymen. This
is disaster, if you believe in the Armenian Apostolic Church, you
are digging your own grave.
Mr. Karapetyan, recently the dioceses have been having troubles. The
Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem makes tough statements, blaming the
Catholicos, the problems in the French Diocese have not been resolved
for a long time. Is everything starting to float?
The primates of both patriarchies of Jerusalem and Polis are no
better, believe me. They are used to slavery, Muslims go to them and
ask to baptize them and convert to the Armenian Apostolic Church, they
refuse, they say they will have problems with the state. The Armenian
Apostolic organization is a servile organization, be it Vagharshapat
or Jerusalem, it is the same homeless rubbish in different bins.
MONEY SPENT ON CHURCHES IS ENOUGH TO HAVE STATE-OF-THE ART WEAPONS FOR
Posted 11 February 2015 - 11:34 AM
MONEY SPENT ON CHURCHES IS ENOUGH TO HAVE STATE-OF-THE ART WEAPONS FOR ARMY
Posted 12 February 2015 - 10:27 AM
PERSONAL BANK ACCOUNTS OF HIGH-RANKING CLERGY MEMBERS NEED TO BE RELEASED, SAYS EXPERT
02.12.2015 12:59 epress.am
The Armenian Apostolic Church is not working transparently: the church,
or it would be more correct to say the Catholicos, does not present
financial reports neither to the society, nor to his congregates,
said Partnership for Democracy director and human rights defender
Stepan Danielyan in an interview with Asparez paper.
"To my knowledge, there is a document regarding the church's budget,
however if that was presented to the public, then multiple questions
would be raised and a demand for clarifications. Apparently, that is
the reason the document is not released. Due to the latest incident,
where Karekin II's account was disclosed, personal accounts need
to be released as well, because it is unclear whether the personal
accounts are serving only them or the church as well. That is why it's
important to also release high ranking clergymen's bank accounts,"
To the journalist's remark that if the International Consortium of
Investigative Journalists did not release the information about the
$1.1 million dollars on Karekin II's HSBC account, then the public
would not have been aware of its existence, the human rights defender
responded, "Despite everything, there are a lot of things we aren't
aware of. This is a systemic issue and doesn't only relate to the
church. It is related to all of us. There isn't just the church
and the Catholicos's money. That money is ours as well, however,
the society is unaware of that."
Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:16 AM
ARMENIAN TYCOONS DONATE MILLIONS TO CHURCH-BUILDING PROGRAMME
Oct 6 2015
Super-rich Armenians have chosen to invest their millions in building
churches, but some are questioning the sincerity of the donations.
Around 250 churches and monasteries have been built or restored since
1999 in Armenia, according to the office of Catholicos Karekin II,
the spiritual leader of the Armenian Church.
Some consider the resurgence in church building is due to the central
role Christianity holds in Armenian society; in 301 AD Armenia was
the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion.
Others suggest that in a country where official unemployment rate is
21 per cent, the money would be better spent on infrastructure which
would provide more jobs.
Gagik Tsarukian, an Armenian tycoon and founder of one of the country's
largest political parties, has paid for work on two churches this
year alone. He has helped fund seven churches since 2000, spending
tens of millions of dollars.
In Nor Hachn, the site of one of the newly-built churches, Marineh
Karapetian complained that "a plant should have been built, rather
than a church." Her husband used to work at the town's diamond factory,
which is now shut.
She told the Guardian that if it were reopened, "some 500 people
would have jobs". "Wouldn't we pray more arduously in that case,
and praise Tsarukian with more love and gratitude?"
The country's Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian, a successful
businessman, has also helped fund a church in his south-western
Bishop Galstanian, director of the Office on Ecclesiastical Liturgical
Issues at Etchmiadzin, holds that these churches are meeting an
increasing demand for new churches, while also providing work for
Armenian quarries, manual labourers and artists.
Some have suggested the boom in church building is not motivated by
devotion, but for financial reasons.
Stepan Danielian, a rights advocate and chairperson of the non-profit
Co-operation for Democracy, noted the church does not examine sources
of financial donations, suggesting that tax perks might be the true
Armenia's tax code allows charities to be exempt from work done in
building a new church. They also do not have to pay taxes on the
purchase of land. The future running costs of the church are met by
the Armenian Apostolic Church, which according to the former Prime
Minister Hrant Bagratian can run into tens of millions of dollars.
The Gagik Tsarukian Charitable foundation challenged the idea that
Tsarukian had ulterior motives, saying the investment "has been done
purely out of devotion".
Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:45 AM
asem te chgasem.. sa e harts@.. sireli Samvel Karapetyan jan.. hargum yev gnahatum en q dzer ashxatanq@.. skayn hangist togh yekeghetsin yev yekeghetsashinararin.. qich gumar en hoshotum mer KaraWorutyun@, hima mnats yekeghetsu gumarn el hoshoten.
hetaqrqira gaghapar unen te mek tank@ inch arji???
Posted 02 November 2015 - 10:30 AM
Our 1,001 Churches
Editorial, 31 October 31
When Armenia became Christian in 301, thanks to the efforts of Krikor
Bartev (later named Sourp Krikor Lousavorich), the acolytes of Krikor
spread across the country destroying pagan temples and building
churches, often on the foundations of the previous spiritual centres.
The church-building binge hasn't stopped. Armenians are still erecting
churches in Armenia, although the country, after Greece, leads the
world in number of churches per capita. That's not counting the 4,000
or so churches and monasteries in now-occupied Historic Armenia.
So far this year there have been five church constructions. After 70
years of atheist Soviet rule, Armenia seems to have returned to
church-building with vengeance. In the past 16 years some 250 churches
and monasteries have been built or restored, according to the office
of Catholicos Karekin II.
Leading the parade of church builders are Armenia's notorious
oligarchs. Multi-millionaire and founder of Prosperous Armenia
political party Gagik Dzaroukian (aka Dodi Gago) has helped build two
churches this year alone. There are still two months before the year
ends. So who knows? Since 2010 he has participated in the
construction/restoration of seven churches. The cost? Nobody knows.
Dzaroukian doesn't release the figure. However, it's estimated by
observers of Dzaroukian's enterprises to be in the tens of millions of
Another person suffering from edifice complex is Samvel Karapetyan.
The real-estate mogul, based in Moscow, has also funded church
construction in Armenia. Millionaire Hovik Abrahamian, who happens to
be Armenia's prime minister, funded the building of a church in
Ardashad during his son's mayoralty campaign. Apparently, Diaspora
moguls are not immune to the `Have Money Will Build Church'
impresarios. A Paris businessman (Sarkis Petoian) and the New
Jersey-based Hovnanian real estate empire have also funded church
construction in Armenia.
Why the church-building frenzy when Armenia has more than its share of
magnificent and historic ecclesiastical sanctuaries? Are the Armenians
of Armenia particularly devout? There's no evidence of such devotion
after 70 years of Soviet regime. Is it that oligarchs hope they would
we admitted to the Pearly Gates no questions asked (a la medieval
Papal Bulli-seals) if they fund these redundant buildings? Perhaps
their motivation is the terrestrial kind: Armenia's tax code provides
healthy financial incentives for the sugar daddies of our spiritual
leaders. Land, supplies, financial transfers, and work done are tax
free. The wealthy patrons can also deduct their expenses from their
taxes. Would it be pushing to wonder whether some of the above
expenses are partially siphoned to the oligarchs' taxable projects?
Why does Echmiadzin encourage more church building in a country where
official unemployment is at 21%? Why doesn't Echmidazin tell these
mogul barons to invest in job creating projects? After all, Echmiadzin
knows better than anyone that its congregation is thinning as
Armenians are forced to leave their homeland due to economic hardship.
Why does Echmiadzin ignore the fact that these churches not only suck
funds from the fragile economy (except the ones which attract
tourists) but create a permanent need for revenue infusion? Are these
buildings intended to polish the tarnished image of the catholicos? Do
they have ornate plaques at their entrance which proclaim they were
built by Karekin II, the Catholicos-of-All Armenians? Why isn't the
catholicos concerned that in some instances the hand which is making
the donation is stained?
To give the catholicos the benefit of doubt¦ perhaps he thinks this is
the way to combat the spread of Western `cults' in Armenia. If that's
the bright idea, His Holiness should consider that a major attraction
of the `cults' is the simplicity of message, delivered in simple halls
and rooms. After all, church (according to its Aramaic and Greek
etymological roots) means a meeting place. Nothing more, nothing less.
Ornate gold and silk vestments are not mandatory. Christ led a simple
A few years ago when the catholicos was asked what our Church should
do to keep the youth interested in the Church, he blithely said: `This
should be done at home and at school.'
Meanwhile, his smooth public relations man, Bishop Pakarad Galstanian,
director of the Office on Ecclesiastical Liturgical Issues, justified
the wasteful church building campaign by saying that it provides jobs
in quarries, for masons and artists. He also insisted that there's a
demand for new churches. He didn't elaborate as to whether Echmiadzin
had conducted a country-wide survey to arrive at that self-serving
Before thinking of heaven and hell, of Christ and Satan, human beings
are compelled to worry about filling their stomachs and securing
shelter. That's what nature ordains.
We built thousands of churches in Historic Armenia. They are now
abandoned or are inns, cinemas, stables and worse¦ if they exist. We
built so many churches in Ani that our Bagradit capital was called
`The City with 1,001 Churches'. Immune to irony, Armenians still make
that hollow boast. Who now prays in those churches other than the
occasional Armenian tourist?
In her `Eurasianet' article last month journalist Gayane Abrahamian
interviewed Nor Hajn resident Marineh Karapetyan. A new church was
recently built in the town as her husband lost his job when a local
diamond workshop shut down. `A plant should have been built, rather
than church,' said Mrs. Karapetyan. Quite so. It's hard to concentrate
with an empty stomach.
First things, first.
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