MOSCOW (Noyan Tapan)–Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Archbishop Tiran Gureghian with a medal at a special ceremony held at the Kremlin on April 11. Catholicos Karekin II had relieved Gureghian from his position as primate of the diocese due to his failure to go along with orders from Etchmiadzin.
Speaking at a news conference held that same day at the Russian Press House were Vartan Mousheghian of the Armenian Apostolic Church’s Diocesan Council–Stanislav Bazgoyan of the Diocese and the Moscow Parish Council–the Moscow Armenian community chairman Roman Harutyunov–and Archbishop Tiran Gureghian.
Gureghian’s service to the Armenian community of Russia–and his role in reaffirming friendly Armenian-Russian relations was highlighted. The speakers expressed their disagreement with the decision taken by Catholicos Karekin II against Arch. Gureghian. According to Bazgoyan–there are people raising the issue of establishing an independent Armenian church in Russia. He warned–"if they continue to persecute our primate–we will no longer be able to prevent separation from Etchmiadzin–which is being demanded by the parishes."