Intellectuals Call for Postponing Catholicos Vote

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"There is an alarming situation surrounding the upcoming election of the Catholicos which threatens to grow in proportion," so says a statement to the National Ecclesiastic Assembly and the Bishop Council unanimously approved by a meeting of Armenian intellectuals–October 21.

Representatives of the Armenian intelligentsia find that "secular authorities’ interference and encroachmen’s by a number of concerned people are improper" and that "other highly alarming phenomena challenge the elections."

Proceeding from the current situation the meeting of the suggested: a. Returning to the traditional and lawful procedure of election of the Catholicos of All Armenia’s requiring that elections should be held no earlier than six months after the Catholicos’ death: hence–postponing elections as this requirement has not been observed; b. developing a clear system of regulation for the election of the Catholicos of All Armenia’s; c. ensuring legitimate elections of delegates to the National Church Council in the territory of the former Soviet Union–including Armenia. d. comprehensively and impartially studying the merits of all the candidates for Catholicos".

Thirty five bishops of the Armenian Apostolic Church–including Constantinople and Jerusalem patriarchs–have agreed to unite around a single candidate for the seat of Catholicos of All Armenia’s–Archbishop Grigoris Buniatian announced at a meeting of intelligentsia representatives.

Without specifying the name of a candidate–the Archbishop noted that the candidate is "the most suitable one": he is equally capable of organizing Armenia and the Diaspora–maintaining the unity of the Church and reducing to minimum the possibility of external interference in church affairs.

The current spiritual atmosphere within the church is the same as it was 5 years ago–His Beatitude noted–since "the Church as an institution has multiple faults." With the election of new Catholicos a situation should emerge under which church reformation will begin. Otherwise–the rule of Catholicos will be "fruitless and ineffective."

According to Archbishop Buniatian–"the church in Armenia is an institution which no one is well aware of–starting from its history and ending in the present day.

He reminded that there were cases of interference during the history of the church–that did not promote the strengthening of our church.

Armenian poet and academician Silva Kaputikian also made a statement in connection with the upcoming elections for Catholicos. Presenting the statement to journalists on October 20 the Kaputikian declined comment.

The statement is the result of concern over the tense atmosphere surrounding the elections and press publications. The Kaputikian’s appeal is addressed to all – the country’s authorities–the clergy and the public.

The poet said she would support the idea of postponing elections in order to ease tensions–but thinks it’s unrealistic now. In her statement Kaputikian called for tolerance.

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