The Window created by ACRAG

 

ARMENIAN CHURCH RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS GROUP

In the late 1980s, as the world began to witness unprecedented developments and particularly as Armenia became increasingly the center of world attention, the need for a professional and innovative approach to the issues facing the Armenian people in general, and the Armenian Church in particular became apparent. In this background, the Armenian Church Research and Analysis Group (ACRAG) was founded in 1989 by Fr. Vazken Movsesian and Hratch Tchilingirian in California, USA. Soon after its establishment as an independent organization, a group of clergy and lay members of the Armenian Church joined ACRAG and the first issue of its quarterly magazine–Window view of the Armenian Church–was published.

With a commitment to the Traditions of the Church and having the missionary vision of St. Gregory the Illuminator–the patron saint of the Armenian Church–as its guide, ACRAG addresses contemporary issues in the Church and community with new perspective, in-depth analysis, clear evaluations and practical suggestions.

While the work of ACRAG and the views expressed in Windowdo not present the official views of the Armenian Church, over the last five years, ACRAG has gained the appreciation and moral support of the church hierarchy. Window articles, analysis, statistical studies and charts are widely quoted in scholarly works, the Armenian media and church publications.

In 1995 ACRAG celebrated the Fifth Anniversary of its foundation and launched the electronic version of Window on the World Wide Web. On April 24, 1996, a new “e-Window” was opened in cyberspace which will replace the printed version of the quarterly.

THE AIMS OF ACRAG

Through research, analysis and commentaries, highlight the role of the Armenian Church in the life of the Armenian people.

To provide a forum for dialogue and discussion on contemporary Church thought.

To provide publications and methods that would further contribute to the growth of the Armenian community in the Faith of their forefathers.

To fill the gap between the national and religious dynamics of the Armenian community.

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WINDOW QUARTERLY

ACRAG has published five volumes of which has been designated as “the most progressive and fearless Quarterly in the Diaspora” (Asbarez August 1992).

Window Quarterly (in its print form) covers a period of five years, 1990-1995. This period is among
the most significant times in the Armenian Church. While the independence of Armenia, in 1991, is the most historic event for the Armenian nation, from 1990 to 1995, a new era was opened in the life of the Church. Among the most notable developments are the election of four new Patriarchs in all the Hierarchical Sees of the Armenian Church–Etchmiadzin, Cilicia, Jerusalem and Constantinople; eight new bishops were consecrated for very important communities in Europe, North America and South America; new seminaries and two theological institutions were established in Armenia; the National Ecclesiastical Assembly of the Armenian Church convened for the first time in forty years in free and independent Republic of Armenia. As these events unfolded, ACRAG, with its network and organizational resources, provided coverage, evaluations and commentary on these unparalleled and historic affairs in the life of the Church.

PDF version of Index: INDEX_Window_view_Armenian_Church_1990_1995

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EACH ISSUE

Window Vol. I, No. 1 PREMIER ISSUE
This first issue of Window is an eight-page introduction that sets the aim and scope of the “new” publication. It consists of three articles written by the editors and a translation of Patriarch Torkom Kushagian’s “Revival in the Armenian Church.”

Window Vol. I, No. 2 ARMENIAN THEOLOGY OF LIBERATION
A series of articles in search of an Armenian theology of Liberation, stimulating discussion and dialogue between members of the Armenian church and theologians. The issue provides a descriptive and interpretive study of the subject and underlines its application in the Armenian Church.

Window Vol. I, No. 3 1915-THE YEAR THE CHURCH DIED
The entire issue is dedicated to the martyred clergy of the Armenian Church during the Genocide of 1915. Through the pages, Window turns the views of its readers back 75 years and provides a glimpse of the pre-Genocide Armenian Church. For the first time in the English language, the monumental work of Teotig-a scribe who tediously recorded the lives of the martyrdom of the Armenian clergy-is presented with statistical and analytical charts. Remembrance, the problem of canonization of the victims and the silence of Church leadership concerning religious treasures are covered also.

Window Vol. I, No. 4 IS THE COLLAR CHOKING THE PRIEST?
Discussion of the Armenian priest’s role from the perspective of both the Armenian community and the Church. In doing so, it dispels some of the stereotypes and myths associated with the Armenian clergy. Issues such as reform, recruitment, and contemporary challenges to the church are discussed in a very sincere and open forum.

Window Vol. II, No. 1 CULTS IN ARMENIA
In an attempt to educated the Armenian community on the dangers of cults, this issue provides an extensive coverage of cults presently operating in Armenia. The deep psychological wounds caused by the 1988 earthquake have facilitated the infiltration of various cults into Armenia under false pretense. The articles pose a challenge to the Armenian community and the Church in addressing the problems of ‘cults in Armenia’.

Window Vol. II, No. 2 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ARMENIAN CLERGY
The first ever International Conference of Armenian Clergy held in New York, June 17-21, 1991 is covered with exclusive interviews and analysis by the Window editors. An inside view of the conference is provided. Detailed information about the current situation in Armenia by the directors and leaders of the Center for the Propagation of Faith. Candid and alarming revelations regarding the religious awakening in Armenia and the Church’s ability (or inability) to provide for the needs of the people. Must reading for anyone concerned with the current and future state of the Armenian Church in Armenia and the diaspora.

Window Vol. II, No. 3 ARE ALL BRANDS THE SAME?
Explores the Armenian Protestant and Roman Catholics churches, providing a history of their development and place within the Armenian community. A candid discussion of possible means of reapprochement is provided. Also, the place of the Armenian Church within the world Church community is explored with statements by the Orthodox Churches and reflections concerning the cost of unity. A map of religions is provided as a centerpiece to this important volume.

Window Vol. II, No. 4 TESTING THE MYTH AND BEYOND
The understanding of myths and their place in religious perception is the theme of this issue, especially as it is applied in the Armenian Church and community. The main article gives an excellent definition and explanation of what Myth is. Of particular interest is a discussion of Vahé Oshagan and the controversy surrounding his short story, entitled Odzoom. Also, two articles discuss services in the liturgical tradition of the Armenian Church, namely Blessing of Madagh and Chrismation.

Window Vol. III, No. 1 THE CHURCH IN ARMENIA
A series of interviews conducted in Armenia, which give a general view of the state of the church and religion in the post-soviet Republic of Armenia. There are conversations with the Catholicos, representatives of Armenian political parties; Armenian “skinheads,” and others who are closely involved with the church. A guest editorial is written by Bishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Armenian Church of Canada.

Window Vol. III, No. 2 HYPOCRISY
Hypocrisy is among those topics that are normally avoided in church life. However, in this issue, ordained and lay workers in the church candidly write about their experiences in the Armenian Church and share their thoughts about hypocrisy in the community. While the contributors discuss various aspects of church life, they provide practical suggestions and programs that could tackle some of the burning issues in the Armenian Church.

Window Vol. III, No. 3 & 4 DEATH: THE KEVORKIAN FACTOR
Death and Dying, Euthanasia and assisted suicide are among the main topics of this issue. The articles discuss the issues in the context of the controversy of assisted suicide that became a matter of public debate, especially through the actions of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, or “Doctor Death”, as he became known by the American media.

Window Vol. IV, No. 1 THEOLOGY OF WAR: KARABAKH
The main focus of this issue is the religious revival in Nagorno Karabakh, despite the war in the region. Two significant interviews – with the Primate of the Diocese of Karabakh and the Editor of Kantzasar Theological Journal – are the highlights of this issue.

Window Vol. IV, No. 2 PONTIFICAL ELECTION PROCESS
In Memoriam issue dedicated to the blessed memory of His Holiness Vazken I (1908-1994). Historical processed of election of a catholicos are presented with statistics and charts, as well as brief profiles of the 45 candidates for the 1995 election. Also, in an exclusive interview, H.H. Karekin II, Catholicos of Cilicia, reflects on the mission of the Armenian Church today.

Window Vol. IV, No. 3 JOURNEY TO A PROMISED LAND
A candid discussion of the issue of non-Armenians in the Armenian Church and a critical look at the mission of the Church. It includes an interview with a non-Armenian candidate for the priesthood and an indepth analysis of spiritual life within the Armenian community.

Window Vol. IV, No. 4 OIKOUMENE
Archbishop Aram Keshishian, Moderator of the World Council of Churches, is featured in this issue, with a focus on the unity efforts between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. An article by Keshishian deals with the theological questions related to ecology.

Window Vol. V, No. 1&2 A CATHOLICOS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Extensive coverage of the Pontifical Election in Etchmiadzin and how the National Ecclesiastical Assembly, convening for the first time in forty years, elected His Holiness Karekin I as Catholicos of All Armenians. Statistics and charts about the 400 delegates of the Assembly and interviews with ecumenical guests who attended the Enthronement Ceremony in Etchmiadzin.

Window Vol. V, No. 3&4 FIFTH ANNIVERSARY
This issue celebrates the fifth anniversary of Window’s publications and is the final issue in printed form. An interview with Armenia’s Foreign Minister and an Armenian diplomat in Lebanon discuss issues pertaining to church and state. Also diplomatic relations between Armenia and the Vatican are discussed, with the complete text of the Pope’s address on the occasion of the opening of the Armenian Embassy in the Vatican.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT ACRAG OR WINDOW

Contact: acrag@sain.org

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1 Comment

  1. Dean said,

    February 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Window provided tremendous insight into the Armenian Church and hope and encouragement for the faithful who read. By shining some light on Church practices and policies, readers gained a more accurate and precise understanding of the development of the Church. By including articles from interested layity and clergy, readers grew to know the perspectives of others on important issues facing the Armenian Church. The Church owes deep gratitude to Fr. Vazken and Dn. Hratch for Window.


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