Are All Brands the Same? Vol. 2, No. 3

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view of the Armenian Church

1991 Volume II, Number 3


A Window view of the
Armenian Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Churches

©1991 The Armenian Church Research and Analysis Group
(ACRA Group)


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Window is
Published quarterly by
The Armenian Church Research & Analysis Group

E d i t o r s
Fr Vazken Movsesian
Dn Hratch Tchilingirian

A r t   D i r e c t o r
Yn Susan Movsesian

D i s t r i b u t i o n s
Alice Atamian

E a s t  C o a s t
Dn Michael Findikyan

L i a i s o n
Abraham  Sldrian

P h o t o g r a p h y
Bruce Burr

T e l e  c o m m
Roupen Nahabedian

A d m i n i s t r a t i v e  A s s i s t.
Jeannie Murachanian

L a y o u t  &  L o g i s t i c s

(c)opyright 1991 A.C.R.A. Group
P.O. Box 700664, San Jose, CA 95170

Table of Contents


Church & State in Armenia
An interview with Ludwig Khachadrian
Minister of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Armenia

The Armenian Catholics
by Hovannes M. Khosdeghian

The Armenian Protestants
compiled by Hratch Tchilingirian

Rethinking Armenian Protestantism
by Vazken Movsesian

Map of World Religions

Joint-Commission of the Theological Dialogue
between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches

Unity at what cost?
Reflections of the Orthodox at the WCC Assembly

Florovsky’s Model of Orthodox Ecclesiology
by Lewis Shaw

Address of Catholicos at Blessing of Chrism

100th Anniversary of the Armenian Church in America


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Are all the brands the same?
“Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out devils in your
name, but as he is not one of us we tried to stop him.”  Jesus
said to him, “Do not stop him, for he who is not against you is on
your side,” (Luke 9:49-50 NEB).

Are all the brands the same?  St. John was the first to ask.
During the past few years, especially after the Armenian
earthquake, Armenians were also presented with this question and
dilemma_this time to make a choice of faith.  Like the cereal
boxes on the grocer’s shelf, some of the hundreds of different
groups who call themselves “Christians” and speak in the name of
Christ have gone to Armenia to “bring Armenians to Christ.”  On
the other hand, for centuries, the only way to Christ was
through the Armenian Apostolic Church_”the birth place of the
Armenian soul.”
However today, whether in the homeland or in the diaspora,
Armenians are presented with many other options.  In the previous
issues of Window, we have addressed the problem of cults and sects
in Armenia, in this issue we focus on a more delicate
and complicated issue: the Christian denominations, particularly
Armenian denominations.
Differences in teaching and understanding date back to the
apostolic times.  In fact,  the Church Councils (e.g. ecumenical
councils) were convened to clarify some of the ongoing
controversies over doctrinal and theological matters.  Today, the
reserved and timid approach to spirituality and religion portrays
a whimsical picture of the fact that lives were lost over these
formulas and definitions.  Nevertheless, it was important to
define who Christ is and what is His relationship with the
believer and the community.  At times these doctrinal issues were
further complicated by political considerations and were misused
to serve the interests of the state or the ambitions of the few.
With this issue of Window, while we provide various perspectives
and backgrounds, we impregnate more questions than give concrete
Here is a window view  of the Armenian Apostolic, Catholic and
Protestant churches.


Church & State in Armenia

An Exclusive interview with
Ludwig Khachadrian
Minister of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Armenia

Conducted and translated
by Dn. Hratch Tchilingirian

Mr. Minister, could you briefly tell us what are the
responsibilities of the Ministry of Religious Affairs?
Khachadrian: Officially speaking, I am the president of a
subcommittee which deals with Religious Affairs for the Parliament
of the Republic of Armenia.  Basically, we are the liaison between
the government and the churches and/or religious groups
or organizations and our primary role is to establish contacts and
cooperation between these groups.
Our relationship with churches and religious groups is based on
law, legal principles and mutual respect.

How does  your Ministry differ from the Ministry of the communist
Khachadrian: The previous Ministry of Religious Affairs was a sort
of KGB arm to suppress religion and the Church in Armenia.  It was
a part of the Moscow apparatus, assigned specifically to watch the
church and her operations.   In fact, Moscow
exerted its influence on the Church through this ministry.
Obviously, today that has changed completely.  We have asked the
KGB in Armenia to pull out all personnel who were assigned to the
Ministry.  Which they did. We have completely cleared the Ministry
of suppressive and ill-intentioned activities.

What is the position of the Government concerning the Armenian
Khachadrian: From a legal point of view, there is no difference
between the Armenian Church and other churches or religious
groups, because the legal system that we have adopted assumes that
everybody is free to choose his/her religion or faith and
is free to practice his/her religion. However, besides legality,
the case of the Armenian Church has a moral and psychological
dimension, especially in view of the fact that the majority of
Armenians in Armenia_even if they were raised as
atheists_they consider themselves children of the Armenian
Apostolic Church.  Thus naturally, we, as individuals, feel as
children of the Armenian Church.  However, I would like to
emphasize once again, that from a legal point of view, the
Apostolic Church is equal with all other religious communities or
On the other hand, considering the persecution of the Armenian
Church by the Communists during the past 70 years, we have created
special opportunities for the Armenian Apostolic Church and have
given certain privileges, so that the Church may
recover what she lost during these past 70 years and carry on her
normal life.  But let me clarify this further, because it is an
important issue.
The Armenian Church is the father of the Armenian people.  This
father was imprisoned and stripped of his children for seventy
years.  Now that the father  is free, others have come to adopt
his orphaned child
ren.   What we need to do is give the father  a chance to reclaim
his children.  Some of the children would want to go to other
homes and some would return to their father’s home.  It’s up to
the children.  But, it is only fair to give the father a
chance to embrace his children, after wrongful imprisonment and
I have explained this to various denominations and religious
groups who have come to Armenia.  All we are saying is give the
father, the Armenian Church, a chance.
You said that you would like to see the Armenian Church recover
her losses.  Could you further explain that?
Khachadrian: First, one of the greatest  and  most tragic losses
of the Armenian Church is her clergy , who were brutally
persecuted during the communist regime (which explains today’s
shortage). Also, the limitations and reduction of the size of
the Seminary in Armenia was another punishment. Secondly, the idea
and reality of the parish  was completely wiped out. I believe,
the strength of the Church is her parishes and the life of the
parishioners.  Now we are trying to reestablish the
parishes_to recreate the sense of community, mutual responsibility
and shared faith_as such, we are giving practically all the old
churches to Etchmiadzin to make them functional churches for the
faithful.  There are requests to build new churches
in various regions of Armenia and we are positively responding to
these requests, by giving them the land, building material, etc.
Here, I should mention that we have also returned the churches
that belonged to the Catholics, for instance in the village of
Panik and the Orthodox Church in Yerevan.  The law is law.

You said earlier that you have given the Armenian Apostolic Church
certain privileges, what are some of these privileges and what is
the legal status of the Armenian Church?
Khachadrian:  First, let me say that the Armenian Apostolic Church
is the only recognized Church in Armenia, the other Christian
churches are recognized as communities.  Legally speaking, the
Armenian Church is the only religious entity that is
registered as a church, the other churches, like the Catholics or
Protestant, are registered or are recognized as religious
communities, e.g. these would be registered as the Community of
the Catholic Church in such and such place or village.
Secondly, the various denominations are permitted to preach among
their community members and in their house of worship only.  The
Armenian Apostolic Church is permitted to preach all over Armenia.
Thirdly, proselytizing (hunt for souls) is forbidden by law.
Fourthly, permission has been granted only to the Armenian
Apostolic Church to teach in the public schools, of course if the
parents and the school authorities consider it important to offer
religious education.
Fifth, all organizations (whether religious or political) whose
headquarters are outside the boundaries of the Republic of Armenia
are not permitted to receive financial support from their
organizations.  For example, the headquarters of the
Russian Orthodox Church in Armenia is outside the boundaries of
our Republic, therefore they cannot receive financial support from
Moscow and build churches in Armenia.  They may only receive
contributions from outside for charitable work.

What is the purpose of your visit to the United States?
Khachadrian: First, I wanted to acquaint myself with the religious
life of Armenians in America, particularly the Armenian Church and
church circles.  Obviously, this was not purely for curiosity
purposes, but rather, it was prompted by the new
relationship and understanding between Armenia and Diaspora.  As
you know, about a year ago, a new government and authority took
power in Armenia by popular demand and majority vote.  Therefore,
a new outlook has emerged from these new developments,
in a way a reevaluation of old established political, ideological
perceptions.  Naturally, issues related to religious and moral
norms, issues pertaining to church and state are also being
reevaluated.  The government is particularly reassessing,
without hesitation, the unfair treatment of the church by the
Communist authorities during the past 70 years.  A healthier
atmosphere should be created, so that the Church may recover its
losses and continue to tend to the religious needs of the
Armenian nation.
New principles have been adopted for church and state relations.
For example, the government is not interfering with the internal
affairs of the Church.  We believe that there should be an
atmosphere of understand and mutual respect on both sides.
A few months ago, the Supreme Council of the Parliament approved
a new law concerning freedom of conscious and religious
organization.  This was the first time that such a law was adopted
in Armenia.

Can you further explain the process of this law?
Khachadrian: This law is based on the idea of religious pluralism.
It declared separation of Church and State, non-interference of
the State in the affairs of the Church, protection of the rights
for freedom of conscious, freedom to choose any
belief or creed.  It basically embraces values that are
universally accepted and Armenia, having chosen the democratic
system, adopted them also.  Nevertheless, as I said earlier,
special regard has been given to the Armenian Apostolic Church
(this does not please other religious groups or denominations) so
that she may recover her losses in the near future, and especially
the artificial separation that was created between the people and
the church may be lifted.  An opportunity should
be given to the people to rediscover the church and vice versa.
These are some of the things that have been stipulated by the
special status given to the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Obviously, the Church_having been the focal point of dispersed
Armenians throughout the world_represents an international body as
such.  In this respect, the Church_as it has been the case in
history_can contribute to the realization of our
national agenda and preservation of our identity in the diaspora.
Naturally_considering the position of the Armenian Church in the
diaspora, its experience, and international status_the Republic of
Armenia has certain expectations and hopes.  The
cooperation and expectation of the authorities in Armenia is
necessitated by the urgent needs of our country_these are very
critical issues that we are facing today in Armenia.
These are some of the considerations that define the purpose of
our visit to the United States.

What about the cults and the new religious movements that are
operating in Armenia?
Khachadrian: I believe the understanding or information of the
diaspora concerning the cults in Armenia is somewhat inflated or
exaggerated.  Perhaps, it is a matter of misinformation. It seems
that there is a wide spread opinion here in the
diaspora that these cults have gone out of control and a critical
situation has been created by these cults.  I am not in complete
agreement with this opinion or observation. It is misleading.
Obviously, there are new religious movements operating in Armenia
and at times it seem that they were purposely organized to cause
raptures in Armenian society. The danger is there.  Our concern is
not so much about their particular creed or
belief, but over the long term effects of religious schisms which
would last for very long times_even when political ideologies fade
away.  Religious raptures sometimes last for centuries.
I should note here, that the intensity of the post-earthquake
activities of these groups is exhausting.  Many religious groups
tried illegally to organize themselves and find sympathizers.
Right now this has slowed down.  But there are still
groups and churches who are continuing to attract the youth into
their ranks.  According to the law, a religious organization
should have at least 50 members (citizens of Armenia) for
registration.  They are trying to gather these 50 people.  In
several cases, we discovered false signatures in their formal
application.  They were trying to register their relatives without
their consent or knowledge.   Such things are going to happen.
But we
are trying to apply the law in these instances and  put an end to
these illegal practices.

Why are young people an easy target?
Khachadrian: You have to remember that for several generations,
including myself, the Armenian youth received  a very strict
atheistic education in Armenia.  We were never taught about the
church or Christianity.  The people in Armenia do not know
the differences between the churches or denominations.  Because,
the youth are so hungry for religious nourishment, when someone
speaks in the name of Christ, they believe him.  They think that
as long as they are talking about Christ they must be a
legitimate group.  But many of them, when we explain to them or
show them that there are differences between various churches and
beliefs, they are returning to the Mother Church very easily.
Therefore, our job is to provide accurate  information
and material about the different religious movements.
Many among the youth are lured into these cults by false
promises.  They promise the youth free trips or education abroad
or sometimes material well being. Imagine, for a young person-who
during the communist regime did not have these
opportunities_that could be very appealing.  These are some of the
dangerous tactics that are being used by these groups and cults.
However, I am optimistic for the future.  I believe the best way
of overcoming these currents is the strengthening of the Armenian
Apostolic Church.  That is the best weapon.   Otherwise, as we all
know, no matter how much you restrict their
activities or institute laws, we will not be able to control these
religious groups.  We hope that the Armenian Apostolic Church will
reorganize itself and coordinate its activities.  I believe that
when the Church reaches out to people who are
hungry for the word of God, then people will respond and will not
look for other directions .

In your opinion, what are some of the major issues in the Armenian
Church today?
Khachadrian:  To me personally and for our Government, the
separation of the Armenian Church is a major concern.  We believe
that the effectiveness of the cooperation between the Armenian
Apostolic Church and the Government of Armenia_ in terms of
international and domestic affairs_was burdened or at times
disturbed by the fact that the Church was separated.  The
authorities in Armenia are very concerned about this separation.
In part my visit to America is a reflection of that concern.  I
have personally been involved with these issues in the past few
month.  I have had conversations with both Catholicoi Vazken I and
Karekin II, in search of a process  by which the problems may be
remedied.  Our efforts are progressing very slowly
and with great difficulty.   And it seems that we have to accept
this for the time being, since presently things are not moving as
expeditiously as we would like to see them.
In a larger context, our interest in this issue is in terms of
how much does the separation effect the solution of Armenian
national and state issues. The Armenian Church in the Diaspora,
vis-a_vis the clergy, is the unofficial representative of
the Republic of Armenia, since we have not yet received the
official recognition of other countries.
To say the least, we see certain things that need to be corrected
in the present situation of the Church.  In our opinion, the
reasons for the separation of the church were political and
presently, these political dynamics are being used for
purposes other than the church.  Now that political and
ideological freedom has been established in Armenia_for all
political parties to carry out their agenda_there is no need
anymore to burden the church with politics.  As such, we see the
continued separation of the church_besides the moral aspect of
it_as very unproductive and unpractical.  In a situation like
this, both the ecclesiastical and political strength of the church
is diminished.  Therefore, from the perspective of the
government,  it is desirable and acceptable to “transport”  the
political struggles from the Diaspora to Armenia, where issues of
political legitimacy  are discussed and where the political
parties could challenge the existing powers, based on
universally accepted political processes.   We believe that the
Diaspora should primarily engage itself in solving and formulating
an overall national strategy,  rather than weakening itself with
internal politics.  The church should be
depoliticized as much as possible. And if the church is going to
get involved in politics, that should only be in national issues
and not party politics or state politics.

What is the solution?
Khachadrian:  In order to solve this problem, first of all we need
to remove the political reasons that lead to the separation of the
church.  In this respect, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation
[Dashnag Party] has a major role to play (now that
they have their units in Armenia and are actively participating in
the political process in the homeland).
We thought_that as a result of the new political freedom in
Armenia_the Armenian political parties in the Diaspora (all of
them) would bring their “fight” to Armenia and resolve their
differences in the political process of our homeland.
Unfortunately, this has not happened.  On the contrary, when the
Armenian political parties came to Armenia, they brought with them
their diaspora feuds and instead of solving them they continued to
distance themselves from each other.  This is not
healthy at all.

What is the situation presently?
Khachadrian: One thing is clear: all the parties agree that the
separation of the church is not beneficial to anyone.  And we have
started a very slow, time consuming and difficult process.  Some
negotiations are going on_both on political and
ecclesial levels_ and non-controversial issues are being solved,
for example, the issue of the Diocese of Greece and Damascus, etc.
But again, these are progressing very slowly.  Nevertheless, I am
very hopeful that in time these attempts will give
their fruit.


The Armenian Catholics
Hovannes M. Khosdeghian

Presenting a historical outline of the Armenian Catholic Church is
difficult, for two reasons, a) because of the paradoxical concept
of the existence of an Armenian “Catholic” Church per se, and b)
because of the time span that encompasses the
history of this community.
Generally speaking, an Armenian’s knowledge of this community
does not go beyond the fact that an Armenian Catholic Church
started to exist as a separate entity in the mid 18th century.
Even most scholars are not familiar with the accurate
chronology of events, nor they are familiar with the figures who
contributed to the establishment of  a separate hierarchy. At
times, scholars do not even acknowledge any real, objective,
administrative causes that led to the separation.  They
rather see it as the institutionalization of  the de facto
differences that existed between Armenians leaning towards western
civilization and culture  and consequently  towards the Church of
At this point it is necessary to distinguish between the concepts
of a hierarchical church and of the complex body of beliefs
normally -though not necessarily- associated with a “church.” To
understand the processes that led to the establishment of
the Armenian Catholic Church as a separate hierarchical structure,
one must distinguish between the administrative organization of a
church and the church as the “gathering of believers.”  For our
purposes, we will use the term “catholic,” to
indicate full communion with Rome.  As such, we could say that
Armenian catholics existed for many centuries prior to the
establishment of a separate hierarchical structure. However, it is
extremely important to understand these terms in their
historical context, rather than their normal dogmatic
implications.  This is a key premise of discussion in this

Direct diplomatic relations between Armenia and the West have
been recorded in history from 1196_the coronation of Levon as king
of Cilician Armenia_to 1375, when the kingdom of Cilician Armenia
ended. Exposure
to Europe of the time was all pervasive, (exposure that was
reflected in all aspects of life, government, social structure,
judicial system, commerce) and the church of Armenia was not an
exception. Many liturgical practices and vestments that are
still in use_in both Catholic and Apostolic Armenian Churches_date
from this period.
Parallel to this socio-political development, a  religious
“movement” was  developed when western missionaries preached in
the heartland of historical Armenia. Dominican friars preached in
Armenia starting in the 13th century and eventually were
successful in establishing an archbishopric (diocese) in
Nakhijevan. However, they embraced the Latin rite and translated
it into Armenian. Similar missionary activities were followed by
the Franciscans.  Later, in the 17th century, the Jesuits were
active in Armenia Major_though in a more moderate and far less
fundamentalist understanding of church unity.
In 1740, several bishops of the Armenian church gathered in the
city of Aleppo and elected Abraham Ardzivian, Archbishop of
Aleppo, as Catholicos of those who were Armenian rite catholics.
This election was the formal act of establishing the
Armenian Catholic Church with its own hierarchy. In 1742, the
election was validated by Benedict XIV, the Bishop of Rome. There
is no doubt that the bishops who gathered in Aleppo intended to
establish a separate hierarchy to administer and to
institutionalize the existing catholic Armenian church. The
abundant correspondence_existing since the 1680s between Rome and
the Armenian prelates and priests_are evidence of the trend among
certain elements of the clergy_who were graduates of
Roman schools_to establish a separate hierarchy.
The cause of such a definitive move was a complex one.
Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585), as part of his renewed educational
reorganization, planned the establishment of a College in Rome for
the education of the Armenian clergy. While he was able to obtain
the necessary funding_primarily a major
contribution by the king of Spain_his death prevented the
implementation of the project.  However, Urban VIII (1623-1644)
revived Gregory’s plan by incorporating it into a larger
institution, where clergy from all Eastern Churches could be
Thus, he chartered the Pontifical Urbanian University, where
Armenians were given 25 scholarships, endowed with donations
collected by Gregory. Until 1887_when the Pontifical Armenian
College was established as a separate institution_Armenian
clergy received education in this setting, where they were  imbued
with liturgical, canonical and doctrinal Latinism. This
development necessitated the 1740 Aleppo election and was very
significant to the missionary agenda of the Armenian Catholic
hierarchy.  The center for intellectual preparation for Armenian
Catholic clergy was the Pontifical Urbanian University.
The other cause responsible of the schism in the Armenian Church
was the practice of the Ottoman government, which recognized
nationalities based on religious affiliation.  This was a direct
reflection of the  Ottoman tribal order, according to
which, the gods of each family gave identity to each tribe. This
expedient policy_very useful in keeping large masses divided and
therefore checked_was the juridical and administrative structure
adopted by the Ottoman rulers to govern their empire.
Thus they recognized their Armenian subjects by their religion,
i.e.their “church.”
Contrary to the views expressed by historians, it seems that the
dogmatic aspect of the issue presented a potential negative
impact. While for the Ottoman rulers, the term “patriarch” did not
have any ecclesiastical implication (it was rather a
transliteration of the Latin word patricius=government
administrator), the Armenian Patriarchs of Constantinople
identified their status and administrative capacity in terms of
their personal belief and faith.  Thus, as long as a moderate
person was
the Armenian Patriarch, there were no problems. But when
extremists held the position or led the “Patriarchal See,”
antagonism between apostolic Armenians and “Romans” or “francs”
erupted in all its viciousness, sometimes culminating in physical
persecution and executions of the catholic leaders.  Under the
circumstances, the Armenian catholics were not administered
justice by the Patriarchs of Constantinople. The more the
persecutions continued, the more catholic Armenians leaned towards
establishing a separate hierarchy and church_since this was the
only juridical way allowed to bypass the Armenian Patriarch’s
The recognition of the Armenian catholic hierarchy by the bishop
of Rome was an expedient way to secure the protection of Catholic
powers of Europe, which in turn presented enough political muscle
to force the Sublime Port in halting the
persecutions against the “faithful.”  The Armenian Patriarch
obviously opposed such a move. But in 1829_under British and
French pressure_with article 12 of the Treaty of Edirne, the
Ottoman Empire granted the status of “nation” to the Armenian
catholics [Katholik Millet.] After the administrative separation
of the two “nations,” the only ground uniting them was
ironically_and seldom witnessed in history_their common cultural
and religious heritage. Both “nations” dedicated themselves to
cultivating and advancing the knowledge of the same heritage.

Having set the historical  context of the schism in the Armenian
Church, we should now outline the theological  aspect of the
separation, i.e., doctrinal, liturgical, canonical, and
administrative differences.
Depending on the times, the doctrinal aspect of the schism in the
Armenian Church was treated and viewed differently.  Most notable,
a list of “117 errors of the Armenian Church” was compiled by a
certain priest Nersess and divulged during the
tenure of  pope John XXII.  While this document does not have any
doctrinal or dogmatic weight today, it is a good example that
shows the degree of frictions of the time.  In fact, in 1341,
Catholicos Mekhitar convened the council of Sis to answer
these accusations.
The main doctrinal problems that have been disputed during the
process of the Armenian Church schism could be summarized in the
following issues:
+Acceptance of the ecumenical councils that followed the first
+Acceptance of the Chalcedonian definition of the christological
+Acceptance of the Roman definition of the dogma on the
procession of the Holy Spirit.
+Acceptance of the Roman definition of rewards after death.
+Acceptance of the dogma of papal infallibility, as defined
during the Council of Vatican I.
Interestingly,  all but one of the above mentioned doctrinal
issues are concerned more about definitions than substance. It is
precisely  for this reason  that today they have been abandoned
and there are no serious dogmatic challenges between the
two sides. The only point that stirs controversy is the issue of
papal infallibility. Again, it is important to note that the
problem is not infallibility per se,  but it is the connection
that western theologians make with the practice of the Roman
Church to centralized government, that  follows the model of
absolute monarchy.

As for the liturgical  aspects of the two churches, it has taken
a visible and palpable dimension. In the past liturgical issues
were as prominent as dogmatic issues. The following is a list of
the most important items that Rome demanded conformity
+Mixing water in the wine, during the Divine Liturgy/Mass.
+The preparatory prayers of the Divine Liturgy up to the Introit.
+The elevation, prior to the blessing of the people with the
consecrated wine and bread.
+The Minor Orders.
Starting in the 12th century, all these points were accepted by
the Armenian Apostolic Church. However, the practice of mixing
water with wine did not continue to our days. Vestments and
insignia were introduced in the same period, and did not pose
major problems. Later on, in the beginning of the 18th century,
Armenian catholic clergymen tried to impose the use of Latin
vestments, but did not succeed.

Although not yet recognized, a far seri
ous problem has come to exist between the two churches in terms of
church canons. The Armenian Church, both Apostolic and Catholic,
do not have a systematic code of canon law.
There are various collections of canons which do not bear any
official authority, since the Armenian Apostolic Church is not
governed by them.  The existence of this vacuum is mainly due to
the forced Constitution by the Muslim Sultans of the
Ottoman empire in western Armenia, and the Russian Church
Constitution (Bolojenia) imposed by the Czar in Russian Armenia.
On the other hand, the Armenian Catholic Church has been governed
by the Roman Code of Canon Law, which in itself negates some of
the cardinal concepts that identify the Armenian Church.  For
example, the hierarchical nature of the communion in
faith, the privileges of the Catholicos, and the general
philosophy of “freedom of movement,” are not defined in the Roman
codes.  As such, whether at the simpler level of normative
differences or the more complex issues on the juridical-canonical
level, the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic Churches stand far
There are still many important concepts which lack clarity and
understanding: for example, the issue of separation of church and
state, church and culture, church and nation, church and man, etc.
The Armenian Catholic Church anchored in the Roman
Code of Canon Law_a product of modern jurisprudence_has maintained
its status as a separate entity for centuries. I believe, once the
rigidity of the Roman Code is successfully  modified with the
traditional Armenian “warmth” and ethos, then we may
have a good model for flexible administration, which in turn will
guarantee the “normal” growth of the Armenian Church as a whole.
Only then we may have a mechanism capable of balancing the
abundance of genius in individuals and their integration
in a structure that will ultimately contribute to the growth and
spiritual welfare of the Armenian people.
Hovannes M. Khosdeghian, Bac. Ph., S.T.L., is a Research Fellow at
the Zohrab Information Center of the Diocese of the Armenian
Church, New York.


ARMENIAN RITE: under 250,000, mostly in Lebanon and Syria.  There
are communities in Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Jerusalem and the United
Hierarch: John Peter XVIII Kasparian, Armenian Patriarch of
Cilicia (Beirut, Lebanon).

CHALDEAN RITE: just over 575,000 living mostly in Iraq, but also
found in Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt,Syria and Jerusalem.
Hierarch: Raphael I Bidawid, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon
(Baghdad, Iraq).

COPTIC RITE: there are about 170,000 living mostly in Egypt, with
some in the Holy Land.
Hierarch: Stephanos II Ghattas, Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria
(Cairo, Egypt).

LATIN RITE: estimated at about 670,000.  Of these, 63,000 belong
to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem which covers the Holy Land,
Jordan and Cyprus.  The others live in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United
Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria,
Turkey & Yemen.
Hierarch: Archbishop Michael Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

MELCHITE RITE: approximately 561,000, mostly in Syria and Lebanon.
They are also found in Egypt, Jordan, Jerusalem, Kuwait and Iraq.
Hierarch: Maximos V Hakim, Melchite Patriarch of Antioch
(Damascus, Syria).

MARONITE RITE: by far the largest with 1.7 million, most of whom
live in Lebanon. There are some communities in Syria, Egypt,
Cyprus, and Holy Land.
Hierarch: Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch
(Beirut, Lebanon).

SYRIAN RITE: total nearly 100,000; while most live in Syria, there
are communities in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Jerusalem and Turkey.
Hierarch: Ignatius Antoine II Hayek, Syrian Patriarch of Antioch
(Beirut, Lebanon).

Sources: Catholic International, Vol. 2, No. 9, 1991.


The Armenian Protestants
A Brief History

Compiled by
Dn. Hratch Tchilingirian

The beginnings of the Armenian Protestant church dates back to the
early nineteenth century.  As a movement, it was “imported” and
“implanted” by American and European missionaries, amidst the
“intellectual renaissance” that was taking place in the
Armenian community within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire.
Tracing the roots of Armenian Protestantism is not as easy as it
may seem.  The authors who have written about the subject, while
they agree on dates and personalities, are divided
over the reasons, rationale and effects of the events that lead to
the establishment of a separate Armenian Protestant denomination.
Among the books that were consulted for this article were Leon
Arpee’s A Century of Armenian Protestantism; G.H.
Chopourian’s The Armenian Evangelical Reformation: Causes and
Effects, and Vahan H. Tootikian’s The Armenian Evangelical Church
(see page 20 for bibliographical data).   The purpose of this
article is to give a historical account of events rather
than an analysis of the movement.

The First Reformers
The first Protestant missionaries that were sent to the Turkish
empire were from the Church Missionary Society of the Church of
England in 1815 and in 1818, the American Board of Commissioners
for Foreign Missions.  In 1827, the Syrian Mission
(established in 1823 by the American Board), led by two ministers,
received two Armenian helpers.  Among the first missioners was
William Goodell who arrived in Constantinople in 1831 and founded
the Mission of the American Board for the Armenians
of Turkey.  In 1833, John Der-Sahakian and his companion, Paul
Minassian joined the mission.  Within a year, Der-Sahakian was
appointed general superintendent of the Mission’s high school in
Pera.  However, in 1837, the school was forced to close
due to pressures from the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople.
Despite the opposition of the Armenian Patriarchate, the
evangelical movement made considerable headway with a following of
about 500 people.
The “mission” of the Protestant ministers caused a great deal of
uproar in the Armenian community.  The Mother Church, headed by
the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, protested the activities
of the missionaries among the Armenians.
Eventually, the confrontation lead to a formal anathema of
Protestants by the Patriarch and even persecutions by the Ottoman
government authorities.  Here is an excerpt from a report sent by
a missionary to the American Board, which gives a glimpse
of events of the time:
“In order that misunderstanding may be cleared up, it should be
stated here that missionaries to the Armenians and Greeks were not
sent to divide the churches or to separate out those who should
accept education and read the Bible in the
vernacular.  Their one supreme endeavor was to help the Armenians
and the Greeks work out a quiet but genuine reform in their
respective churches.  The missionaries made no attacks upon
churches, their customs, or beliefs, but strove by positive,
quiet effort to show the necessary changes.
. . . When the separation did come, it was in spite of every
effort of the missionaries to prevent it.” 1
The missionaries were critical of the Armenian Church and viewed
its practices as “corrupt.”  Here is how Goodell describes the
Armenian Church:
. . . like all the Oriental churches, the Armenian had become
exceedingly corrupt.  It was almost wholly given up to
superstition and to idolatrous worship of saints, including the
Virgin Mary, pictures, etc. The Armenians hold to
transubstantiation, and worship the host; and, indeed have adopted
most of the errors of popery_ As with all rigid formalities, the
weightier matters of the law and the gospel are considered of
small account compared with the punctilious performance
of religious rites and ceremonies.2
While the “supreme endeavor” of the Protestants “was to help the
Armenians_work out a quiet but genuine reform in their respective
churches,” their eventual mission was characterized by an attack
on the established “Mother Church.”   These
confrontations lead to a wide persecution of Protestants.  Thus,
in an attempt to survive the opposition in Turkey to their
y work,  the missionaries secured temporary shelter and amenities
were obtained from contributions received from Protestant
sympathizers in England, America, India and the Caucuses, Denmark,
Sweden, Norway, Wurttemberg and Switzerland.  Meanwhile,
in mid February 1846, the evangelicals sent a petition to the
minister of foreign affairs begging for protection of the imperial
government.  They refuted all charges of civil rebellion and
stated that the reason for their persecution was due to
their refusal to conform to usages of the national church such as
the worship of images and priestly absolution.  The following
month they submitted a petition to the British, Prussian and
American diplomatic representatives and finally one to the
Sultan himself.  On March 12, 1846, the minister of foreign
affairs spoke with the Armenian Patriarch, Matthew, who, after
extensive negotiations, declared from the pulpit of the cathedral
church, that “Religion is free in Turkey!”  On May 17, 1846
the evangelicals were authorized to resume their “normal” life and
obtain credit as Protestants.  Thus ended the civil persecution of
the Protestants.

Organization of
Protestant Churches
On June 21, 1846, on the occasion of the feast of Etchmiadzin,
Patriarch Matthew issued an encyclical of perpetual
excommunication and anathema against all Protestants to be
publicly read at every annual return of the festival throughout
churches.  Thus, “the reformers,” originally a party within the
church, excluded from the church’s fellowship and ordinances,
formed a rival organization outside the church, i.e. the
Protestant church.   On June 25, 1846, a constitution was drawn up
for the Armenian Evangelical Church about to be organized.  This
constitution provided for a form of government half-way between
Congregationalism and Presbyterianism.  The doctrine of the church
was embodied in a confession of faith composed of 12
articles to which all candidates for church membership were to
express publicly.
On July 1, 1846 the constitution was formally adopted by the
evangelicals of Constantinople and the First Armenian Evangelical
Church of Constantinople (with a total of 40 members) began.
During the months of July and August, three more
evangelical churches were organized on the basis of the above
described constitution;  Nicomedia and Adabazar with 14 members
each and Trebizond with nine members.  At the end of a year, the
infant church of Constantinople had more than doubled its
membership and the aggregate membership of the four churches was
about 140.  After the consummation of the ecclesiastical
organization, the civil recognition by the Turkish government was
made the important object of endeavor by the evangelicals.
On August 17, 1846 a meeting of the “Protestant Nation” (milet)
was called at Constantinople and an executive committee of four
was appointed to represent the community in its external
relations.  On June 16, 1846, this committee submitted a
petition to the local governor requesting separation from the
Armenian community and the granting of a charter.  Four petitions
were sent to the Sultan in the space of a few months.  However,
through the petition of the British embassy, and the
efforts of Lord Cowley and later Stratford de Redcliffe, the first
imperial acknowledgement was issued on November 15, 1847,
recognizing the Protestants of Turkey as a separate community and
granting them freedom of conscience and worship.  But it
was not until 1850, again through the efforts of Lord Stratford,
that the rights and privileges of the Protestant community were
permanently defined by imperial firman  (edict) and the
Protestants were authorized to elect a chancellor or civil head.

On December 13, 1850, at a popular meeting of the Protestant
community in Constantinople, this firman was publicly read and
Stephen Seropian was elected civil head of the community.  As of
the beginning of 1850, the expansion of Armenian
Protestants was not great in scope; there were only 7 mission
stations in the Armenian field: Constantinople, Bebek, Brusa,
Smyrna, Trebizond, Erzrum, and Aintab; 6 outstations: Nicomedia,
Adabazar, Rodosto, Diarbekir, Urfa, and Cesarea; 18
missionaries and 20 female assistants; 8 churches with 2 of them
in Constantinople, with an aggregate membership of about 240.
However, by the end of 1850, with the promulgation of the imperial
firman, the whole country was opened up to missionary
operation.  It awakened a general readiness everywhere to listen
to the preaching of the Protestants.
About 100 towns and villages around Aintab, Marash, Urfa,
Diarbekir, Arabgir, Agn, Silvas, Cesarea, Tocat, and Marsovan
began to show “signs of an awakening,” and from remote localities
“came requests to the missionaries for preachers of the
gospel.”  By the end of 1860, the field had become so extensive
that it necessitated its subdivision into three separate missions;
the Western Turkey Mission (including what was afterward the
European Turkey Mission), the Central Turkey Mission and
the Eastern Turkey Mission.  Combined, there were 23 mission
stations; 65 outstations; 50 missionaries and 50 female
assistants; 40 evangelical churches, with a total membership of
nearly 1,300 people.

The Rationale for a
Protestant Armenian Church
According to the authors who have written about the Protestant
movement in Turkey, the missions of the American Board to the
oriental churches, more specifically the missions of the Armenian
church, were originally committed to a policy of strict
non-proselytism (non conversion from one  belief to another).
Accordingly, this policy had as its sole aim the instillation into
those churches evangelical ideas–without alienating any of the
members from them.   In their pursuit, “the American
missionaries in Constantinople at first avoided all controversy
and based their efforts on what the oriental churches needed above
all else an enlightenment to arouse a widespread interest in the
Word of God.”  However, in the 15 years from the
founding of the Armenian mission, the missionaries of the American
Board in Turkey “felt compelled” to establish an independent
evangelical church, contrary to the original plan.
L. Arpee enumerates four reasons which led the missionaries to
establish a Protestant church in Turkey prior to 1846 and to
regard a strict adherence to their original policy of
non-proselytisms as impracticable.
1) Pressure from the home churches for tangible results.
2) Intolerance of the oriental churches.
3) Antagonism between oriental orthodoxy and the missionaries
doctrines and methods.  Arpee writes, The Armenian church,
although it theoretically held to the Scriptures as the supreme
authority, had given place to a great mass of patristic
interpretations and ceremonial rituals with the result that the
Word of God had been all but lost in the traditions of man.” On
the other hand, the missionaries’ ideas and methods of
ultra-evangelism were far to radical for the oriental churches and
sooner or later would invite opposition. Therefore, long before
they were excommunicated by Patriarchal anathema, the evangelical
Armenians found themselves seceding.
4) The official recognition of the treaty rights of American
missionaries in Turkey by the U.S. government in 1842.  The U.S.
government pointed out to the Turkish empire that the American
missionaries in Turkey were entitled by treaty to the
protection of the U.S. government as long as they refrained from
proselyting.  Since no distinction could be drawn from proselyting
and non-proselyting missionaries, it was now understood that if a
missionary had any right to reside in the Turkish
dominions at all, he was also entitled as a citizen of the U.S. to
the protection of his government.
By 1914, on the eve of the first World War, Protestants had 15
stations in Turkey, 146 missionaries, 137 churches and 13,891
communicant members.  The most notable single evangelical
influence on the Armenians of Turkey came from the combined
efforts of the American Board and the American Bible Society in
disseminating the scriptures into the people’s vernacular, (i.e.
Goodell’s Bible for
Turkish speaking Armenians, published in 1842 and Elias Riggs’
modern Armenian Bible, published in 1853).
By 1890’s, the relationship between the Apostolic and Protestant
Armenian churches was cordial enough to permit the collaboration
on a modern Armenian New Testament, which was published under the
Armenian Patriarch’s imprimatur to provide free
circulation among the Armenians.
Eventually, the massacres of Armenians in Turkey, (1895-1908)
drained not only the Protestant Armenians of their leaders, but
the entire Armenian nation.  The 1915 deportations and massacres
swept the Armenian evangelical churches out of Asia
minor.  The American Board liquidated its hundred-years interest
in Turkey and withdrew from the field.  However, as Armenians
scattered throughout the world, so did Armenian Protestant
congregations, which can be found in large Armenian communities
in the Diaspora.
With the emergence of an Armenian Protestant church, in the 19th
century, a rapture was created between the Armenian Apostolic
Church and those who followed the missionaries.  What were
predicted as “dangerous trends” by  Patriarch Matthew of the
time — which eventually gave permanence to the separation between
the Armenian evangelicals and the Mother Church– are summarized
by V.H. Tootikian in these terms: a) “the Armenian Evangelical
Church failed in her original goal to reform the
Armenian Apostolic Church,” b) It “failed to keep the balance
between the Armenian-Christian and Protestant-Evangelical
heritages,” c) “The Armenian Evangelical Church weakened the
solidarity of the Armenian people,”  d) It “withdrew into
isolation,” and e) “The Armenian Evangelical Church gradually
became complacent.”3   However, Tootikian adds, that ” when every
criticism has been made, and every allowance recorded for the
imperfection of the Armenian Evangelical Church, the fact
remains that she worked her way into many corners of the life of
the Armenian Nation.  Obvious faults and weaknesses must not hide
the deeper significance of the Evangelical Movement, because
measured by its effects, it proved itself a potent force
among the Armenian people.”

_researched by Jeannie Murachanian

1James L. Barton, Daybreak in Turkey (Boston: The Pilgrim Press,
1908), pp. 108-109.  Cited in The Armenian Evangelical
Reformation: Causes and Effects by G.H. Chopourian (New York:
AMAA, 1972) pp.1-2.
2Quoted in Chopourian, op. cit. pp. 26-27.
3Vahan H. Tootikian. The Armenian Evangelical Church. (Detroit:
Armenian Heritage Committee, 1982). pp. 85-93.

Major Protestant Figures

MARTIN LUTHER (1493-1546)
Biographical Notes:
Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany.  While studying law,
he was once caught in a thunder-storm and vowed that he would
become a monk if he were spared.  True to his word, in July 1505
he joined the Augustinian order in Erfurt.  He was
ordained priest and 1512 Luther became a doctor of theology at the
University of Wittenberg, and was given the chair of Holy
Scripture.  His prolonged study of the Old and New Testaments led
him to a threefold conviction: sola scriptura, sola
gratia, sola fides  (salvation can only be found in Scripture, in
grace, in faith).
In 1517, as a special indulgence was being preached in Germany,
and to prompt debate on the much-needed reforms within the Church,
he nailed 95 theses to the  door of the church at Wittenburg
(October 31 -November 1).  These concerned matters of
both Catholic belief and practice.  In 1520, Pope Leo X in the
Bull Exsurge Domine  declared 41 statements attributed to Luther
heretical.  When Luther refused to recant, he was formally
declared an outlaw by the Edict of Worms (1521).  He took
asylum in the castle of the Elector of Saxony’s Wartburg, where he
spent ten months translating the New Testament into German
(published in 1522).  During the same period he wrote a text
against religious vows, which led to a good number of
religious to leave their monasteries and convents.  In 1525,
Luther married Catherine de Bora, a former Cistercian nun.  He
returned to Wittenburg, where he began to establish the canonical
and liturgical bases for the ‘reformed’ Church.  In 1529
Luther’s two Catechisms were published: the Small one, for the
people, and the Large for the clergy.  Luther died in 1546 in his
home town of Eisleben.

Key Elements In Luther’s Theology
The priesthood of all believers: The priestly status of all who
are baptized is the central key to understanding all of Luther’s
Justification/salvation: human nature is radically (but not
substantially) corrupted by the sign of Adam.  Justification
understood as the forgiveness of sins and the state of
righteousness, is by grace for Christ’s sake through faith.
recognized that good works were necessary concomitants of faith,
but contended that they do not merit salvation.
Sacraments: Luther recognized baptism, penance and the Eucharist
as instituted by Christ.  He held that in Holy Communion the
consecrated bread and wine are truly the body and blood of Christ
(a point on which Luther and Zwingli were never able to

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564)
Biographical Notes:
John Calvin, was born on July 10, 1509 in Noyon, France, where his
father was General Procurator of the Cathedral Chapter.  From 1523
to 1534 Calvin studied philosophy, theology, law and humanism.  In
the various university milieus (Paris, Orleans,
Bourges), Calvin became familiar with Protestant views and
doctrines.  In 1533, seized with a conviction of personal mission
to reform the Church, Calvin rejected Catholicism.  When a
persecution forced him to leave Paris in 1534, he settled in
Basel where he wrote Institutio Religionis Christianae, a
systematic exposition of his doctrine (published anonymously in
1535, republished under his name in 1536).  In 1536 he left for
Strasbourg, where there was a large exiled Protestant
population, but circumstances drove him to Geneva where he stayed
two years before he himself was exiled by the ruling class of the
town, irritated by his excessive religious zeal.  But in 1540 the
town’s rulers were to invite him back, in an
attempt to resolve his chaotic political-religious situation.
Calvin imposed a very austere type of constitution on Geneva: no
theater, no card games.  He implemented a new liturgy void of
altar, candles, images, and centered instead on preaching
and psalm-singing.  The Eucharist was celebrated only on a few
occasions during the year. In 1559, the final and definitive
edition of Calvin’s Institutio  was published and he opened a
training center for pastors which attracted candidates from all
over Europe.  Calvin remained the master of Geneva until his death
in 1564.

The Key Elements In Calvin’s Theology:
To Luther’s principal theses (priesthood of all believers;
Scripture as the sole rule of faith; the radical corruption of
human nature; justification by faith alone), Calvin added:
Absolute predestination, certitude of salvation for the elect, and
the incapability of the elect to lose grace;
Sacraments: the Eucharist for Calvin was a celebration of the
covenant of the sacrifice of Christ.  Eucharist and baptism are
considered as sacraments, both of which are viewed as seals of the
covenant of grace.  The real presence of Christ is what
marks these as sacraments, but Calvin’s understanding of this was
at odds with Catholic doctrine.

ULRICH ZWINGLI (1484-1531)
Biographical Notes:
Ulrich Zwingli, born in 1484 in the canton of Saint-Gall,
Switzerland, was ordained priest in 1506 and soon distinguished
himself as an opponent of moral abuses both in the Church and the
State.  In particular, a series of sermons he gave in Zurich
on the New Testament in 1519 triggered the Reformation in
Switzerland.  In January 1523, a theological public disputation
between ‘orthodox’ and ‘innovators’ saw the victory of Zwingli and
his sixty-seven theses, rejecting the authority of Rome in
favor of the sole authority of the Gospel.  This persuaded the
canton of Zurich to adopt Protestantism.  As a result of a second
similar disputation in the autumn of the same year, all church sta
tues and images were abolished; monasteries were disendowed, and
their funds devoted to schools and the poor.  In 1525 the Mass was
suppressed, and a new severely puritanical form of liturgy was
prescribed; in 1529 Catholic worship was forbidden.
To counter the spread of the Reformation to other Swiss cantons,
an anti-heretical league was formed by the largely peasant and
conservative forest cantons.  In June 1529 the armies of the two
sides faced each other at Kappel (Zurich canton).
Though peace was negotiated, it did not last, and in 1531,
Zwingli’s forces were defeated at the battle of Kappel and he
himself was killed.  Under the terms of the subsequent peace
treaty, each canton had the right to choose its own religion.
Key Elements In Zwingli’s Theology:
Deeply impressed by Erasmus (1466?-1536), Zwingli was more
influenced by Renaissance humanism than any of the other
Reformation leaders.
Scripture: for Zwingli, the Gospel was the only basis of truth.
Sacraments: Zwingli rejected the Eucharist, penance and other
sacraments.  His symbolic interpretation of the Eucharist caused
an irreconcilable controversy with Luther and his followers.
Zwingli denied papal primacy and the Catholic belief
concerning purgatory and the invocation of saints; he rejected
celibacy, monasticism and much of traditional piety.

KARL BARTH (1886-1968)
As a leading theologian, Barth had a decisive influence on the
course of Protestantism in the 20th century, but remained a
critical challenger of the ecumenical movement.  He believed that
authentic unity of the church would come about only if the
church dared to be itself and to leave behind all self-righteous
manifestations of power.  For a long time critical of the Roman
Catholic Church, he showed an openness towards the movement of
aggiornamento  within Vatican II, warning the churches of
the Reformation not to lag behind in their efforts towards
renewal.  He lifted the dialogue between Protestantism and
asserted: “Anyone who says ‘Yes’ to Christ must say ‘No’ to the
division of the churches.”  No other Protestant theologian of this
century has produced so many works which were translated into so
many languages.  His message was that God’s sole revelation is in
Jesus Christ and that the word of God is his one and only means of
communication with human beings.  Since humanity is
utterly dependent on divine grace, all its boasted cultural
achievements are rooted in sin.

Niebuhr, in various ways, has shaped ecumenical social thought
both in the U.S. and in the wider Western world.  Although
influenced by Karl Barth and Emil Brunner, he differed sharply
from them in believing that Christianity has a direct prophetic
vocation related to culture.  Stressing the egoism_the pride and
the hypocrisy of nations and classes_he argued for a “Christian
realism” and supported political policies that carefully
delineated the limits of power.  A one-time pacifist, he
actively persuaded Christians to support the war against Hitler,
and after World War II had considerable influence in the U.S.
state department.  He regarded as error attempts to impose U.S.
solutions on the new nations that emerged from 1945
onwards, and always attacked American claims to special virtue.

Major Protestant Figures -Extracts from the entries by Ans. J. Van
World Council of Churches, Geneva (published jointly by WCC
Publications, Geneva; Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, USA;
and CCI Publications, London).


Armenian Protestantism

Fr. Vazken Movsesian

Earlier this year, the editors of Window were invited to address a
youth group of the Armenian Brotherhood Bible Church.  By their
claims, the Brotherhood is a “non-denominational” group with a
mission of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ among
Armenians.  Conveniently, the Armenian Church refers to them as
We arrived at a location in Pasadena, California, which had no
resemblance to a church from the outside.  On the inside there was
the inescapable warmth of a Christian home.  Young men and women
greeted us in a most hospitable manner.  They were
eager to listen and perhaps even challenge us, as clergy of the
Armenian Church.
The program began with a half-hour of worship.  A small combo set
up their equipment.  The pianist gave a tone and the guitar and
bass tuned-up.  With the drummer’s steady beat, this group of
50-70 young Armenians began praising the Lord with song
and testimony.  To our ears, for which sacred hymns were expressed
in solemnity, these Armenian spirituals, set to a light-rock and
roll beat, were a novelty, to say the least.
Young minds, especially of college years, are skeptical.  We
could see the questions in their eyes: What can these Orthodox
clergy teach us?   By the end of the evening, the barriers were
down on both sides, and we were engaged in an open dialogue.
To have focused on our commonalty might have been more cordial,
but the drift toward our differences granted us a more fruitful
discussion.  As Protestants, they saw ecclesiastical
institutionalization as a hindrance to the individual quest for
Christ.  Nevertheless, the question was finally asked at the end
of the evening: What can the Apostolic and Protestant churches do
to be united as the Body of Christ?

This question is seldom discussed within the Armenian Church.  In
the early 1970’s, two commissions, respectively set up by the
Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Evangelical churches,  convened in
New York city to discuss issues pertaining to a
rapprochement.  Between October 1970 and December 1971,  the
Commission had eight sessions, where theological, pastoral,
canonical and other related issues were discussed.  As a result of
these consultations, a Report was prepared (February 1972)
and sent to the official bodies of the two groups for further
study and assessment.   The Chairman of the Commission was
Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan, Second-Chairman, Rev. Senekerim
Sulahian, Secretary, Rev. Dikran Kasouni, Second-Secretary Mr.
Norhad.1  Unfortunately, there were no follow ups to these
Nearly two decades later, this question resurfaced.  It was a
good question and worthy of an answer, with hopes of instigating a
concerted effort toward rapprochement.  If the reference to the
Armenian Orthodox Church is made as the “Mother Church”
(commonly referred to by the Armenian Protestants) then by
implication alone, we may conclude that there is a desire for the
children to return home.  But no steps have been taken on either
side toward this reunion. For many, the thought of
reuniting Armenian Protestants and Orthodox is incomprehensible.
The Protestant community is seen by the Church as a splinter group
functioning autonomously, yet morally (even magically) bound to
the “mother” Armenian Church.
While terms such as “mother” and “child” may suggest endearment,
reality does not speak this language of cooperation and union.
Proselytizing continues today throughout Armenia as well as the
diaspora by the Protestant groups.  Meanwhile, the
Armenian Church, like the father of the prodigal, waits and hopes
(with an occasional burst of rhetoric) for the child to find his
way home.  Protestants are making in-roads to Armenia and
establishing communities.  The official organ of the
Armenian Missionary Association bellows, often subtly and at times
overtly, with criticism of Armenian Church practices.  A new
publication Hatz mer hanabazort–“Our Daily Bread”– aimed at
providing spiritual comfort to the individual believer
sorely diminishes Christianity to an individual experience.2  The
examples of this type of abuse and indignation toward the
teachings of the Armenian Church are innumerable, yet the Church
is reluctant to condemn (or at least answer) these
publications nor their authors.  Quite the opposite, cordial ties
are maintained between the Church and Protestant communities in an
almost nonsensical manner. It is not uncommon to find the Armenian
Church in America celebrating Saint’s Days (e.g.,
Sts. Vartanant
z) with with the Protestants who have no affinity for the saints.
Requiem services are held on Armenian Martyrs’ Day with  the
“participation” of groups which not only have no regard for the
ceremony, but have critically labeled the requiem as
The Armenian Church to date has hesitated to address
rapprochement for a variety of reasons.  First, Protestantism has
not been seen as a considerable threat.  The Church has only
recently taken notice, primarily due to the proselytization
occurring within Armenia — the Church’s once-exclusive domain.
Secondly, the schism with the Protestants has been overshadowed by
the jurisdictional division within the Armenian Church itself.
The past six decades alone have been give-and-take
matches between Etchmiadzin and Antelias affiliates. The reference
to “unity in the Armenian Church” is a usual reference to settling
the division of the Catholicoi, rather than healing any rift of
ecumenical consequence.
Primarily, though, the Armenian Church has remained dormant
regarding the Protestants because of the ethnic composition of the
denomination. The Protestants, by virtue of being Armenian, are
considered part of the same family, as if the “Armenian
Church” title encompasses three branches: Orthodox, Catholic and
Protestant.  This fallacy is perpetuated within the Protestant
community as well.  An Armenian Protestant minister in the Los
Angeles area once observed that the Armenian Church was
similar to the Temple of Judaism, while the Protestant church was
akin to the synagogue.  For the Jew, the main sacrifice took place
in the Temple, while a form of worship consisting of readings from
the scriptures, preaching, prayers and psalms was
the custom of the synagogue. Hence, this minister presents a
parallel where Protestants follow the synagogue model while the
modern-day sacrifice (=badarak) takes place in the Temple known as
the Armenian Church.  On closer inspection, however, the
analogy is flawed.  For the Jew, the faith was one, only the
method of approach differed to that faith.  For the Orthodox and
the Protestant, beyond methodology is the disparity between the
beliefs.  Furthermore, the synagogue form developed during
the exile, when it was impossible to sacrifice at the Temple.  The
Armenian Church has never been without its “sacrifice,” (though
the purpose of the sacrifice may have been unclear from time to
At issue here is not merely a difference of approach or method.
Nor is this a denominational issue.  As a matter of history, the
early evangelical movement among Armenians was greeted with
repeated anathemas, clearly an indication of a breach on
theological grounds.  The Protestants have repeatedly claimed that
their discord with the Apostolic Church has been to make the
Gospel message relevant to the people.  Rituals, liturgy, the
sacraments, institutional administration have no place in
the Protestant model.  It is possible though, that in the process
of finding a “pure” Christianity and “cleaning” the faith, the
Protestants may have thrown the baby out with the bath water.

There is nether Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,
there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ
– Galatians 3:28

Nestled in the Santa Cruz hills of Northern California is the
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church.  Beneath its circular dome
you will find a multitude of icons depicting the saints of the
Church, candles burning around the reserve sacrament, the
air still fragranced with incense from the daily worship and all
the serenity of a monastery.  An occasional truck roars by on the
highway which leads to the church, reminding you that you are not
in some other place or time.   About half an hour’s
drive to the south, skimpy bikinis invoke carnal desires on the
beaches of Santa Cruz.  A half an hour’s distance to the north
reveals America’s Silicon Valley, where “icons” are small images
on computer screens.  This is the town of Ben Lomond.
The Sts. Peter & Paul parish is an Orthodox Church.  It is the
paradigm of orthodoxy for here, the faith is professed with ethnic
oblivion.  It is neither Greek nor Russian, though both Greeks and
Russians would feel at “home” in this surrounding.
The parish is one of a growing number of communities throughout
the world, part of the Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission
(AEOM).  The history of this group spans over the centuries, yet
they were established less than a decade ago.  Their
story is unique– a story of looking for a method and discovering
the Faith —  finding the Church of Jesus Christ.
The quest of these pilgrims is chronicled in Becoming Orthodox, A
Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith3 by Fr. Peter Gillquist, an
archpriest in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of
North America.  Gillquist, and his fellow
“travelers” were all Protestants, with the most evangelical
upbringing.  Their evangelism has not ended.  Their approach may
be construed as un-orthodox among the evangelicals, though their
message is heralded louder than ever before.
Their story begins in Arrowhead Springs, California.  Here, these
men made up the leadership of the Campus Crusade for Christ.
Heeding the words of Christ’s Great Commission — spreading the
Gospel to the whole world — the activities of the
Crusade focused on bringing America’s college students to faith in
Christ.  Many of us who went through the American public school
system and college remember the Bible Study groups assembled under
trees and the Jesus rallies on the football fields.
Their tracts were catchy and meetings were always inviting.  But
for Gillquist and some of his fellow workers, they found that
there was something more to “church” than the classrooms and
gymnasiums “where two or three gathered” in His name.   By
1966, they were “convinced from the Scriptures that the Church was
the means to fulfilling that Great Commission.”4
In 1968, a group of these leaders resigned from Campus Crusade to
“pursue evangelism through the Church.” The question then
followed: What is the Church?  Their attempts to build
house-churches in different parts of the country, fashioned after
their understanding of the New Testament model, met with failure.
They stayed in touch with one another, exchanging thoughts about
their successes and failures.
In 1973, these ex-Crusaders regrouped in hopes of overcoming the
frustrations of working individually.  They decided that seven men
would assume the leadership of a new “network.”  Gillquist was
chosen to preside.  Subsequently, they met quarterly
to study and pray together, continuing their quest for the New
Testament Church.  “Our background as evangelical Protestants,”
writes Gillquist, “meant that we somewhat knew our way backward to
the Protestant Reformation, and that we knew our way
forward to A.D. 95, the end of the New Testament era.”
Methodically, they approached the study of the Church starting
from New Testament times.  They researched Church history to look
for continuity and polity.  Early Church worship and Christology
was studied by examining and scrutinizing the decisions of the
early Church fathers and Ecumenical councils. They used the Holy
Scriptures to verify everything in a very skeptical manner.  They
hid nothing from their people: they found no need to
start yet another denomination.  They wanted to “land somewhere in
the historic Christian faith.”  Furthermore, they agreed that if
their findings differed from what they held as true, but were
“squared with the Scriptures,” then they would change.
Gillquist recalls, “Here we were: anti-established Church,
anti-liturgical, anti-sacramental, congregational in polity.  We
represented people who ranged from hyper-dispensationalists to
signs and wonders charismatics, reading publications as
diverse as Ramparts and the Jesus People Survival Guide.  With all
this, we were making ourselves open and vulnerable to the Fathers
and Councils of the early Church!”
Their quest lead them to find that the apostolic church was
liturgical and sacramental, with a clearly-defined laity, governed
by bishops, priests and deacons.  They discover
ed the biblical basis of the Liturgy, Ecumenical councils, the
role and importance of icons,  incense and vestments.  “We had to
eat a lot of crow — buckets of it,” confesses Gillquist.
As these ex-Campus Crusaders were discovering Eastern Orthodoxy
they formed the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC).  Their
practices changed to conform to their findings. But alas, here
they were, the arms, feet, and mouth of New Testament Church,
without a body to make them whole.  “We had come to Orthodox
Christianity ‘out of the books,'” says Gillquist.  The moment of
truth had arrived.  Moved to be united with the Body of Christ,
they were in dialogue with the Orthodox Church of America,
the Greek Orthodox Church, and met with many of the Orthodox
jurisdictions.  In 1985, they presented themselves to His Holiness
Ignatius IV, the Patriarch of Antioch and His Eminence
Metropolitan Philip Saliba, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox
Christian Archdiocese in America. In 1986 the EOC Synod drafted a
proposal to Metropolitan Philip “to be considered for entrance
into the Orthodox Church through his Archdiocese.”  Later that
year they entered the canonical Orthodox Church. This
became “the first time in history an evangelical denomination_
gained official approval to become part of the Eastern Orthodox
The end of this journey became the beginning of their ministry.
Chrismation followed.  One-by-one, parish-by-parish the EOC was
“Welcomed Home”6 to the fold of the One, Holy, Catholic and
Apostolic Church.  According to the wishes of Metropolitan
Philip the EOC was named the Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox
Mission, to avoid the operation of a church within a church.
Soon, hundreds were welcomed to Orthodoxy. New missions have begun
in Fargo, North Dakota; Salt Lake City, Utah; East Lansing,
Michigan; Bloomington, Indiana; Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania;
Wheaton Illinois and the list is only beginning.  Pastors “who
love Christ and His Church and are seeking the fullness of
Orthodox worship and faith,” are making inquiries.7   Today,
converts are found throughout the world.  The church has an
eight-hundred member support group called the Order of St.
Ignatius which underwrites special projects.  They operate the
Concilliar Press which publishes the Again quarterly as well as
books, cards and tracts.  They have iconographers and are
suppliers of Orthodox worship material.  To sum it up: they are
the New Testament Church.  Without compromising their call to
evangelize, they are spreading the oneness and the fullness of
life with Christ, through the Orthodox Holy Church.   They are
neither Greek, nor Russian, nor Romanian, nor American nor
Armenian.  They are Christians.  They are one in Christ Jesus.

Toward the Only, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church

If there is an answer to the question presented to us by the
Armenian Brotherhood — What can the Apostolic and Protestant
churches do to be united as the Body of Christ?
— then the AEOM experience presents a key to this desired
oneness.  Given a chance to absorb pure orthodoxy, where ethnic
and national aspirations are filtered, the members of the
EOC–formerly strict Protestants– found their roots and the
to bring Christ to the people.  With Armenians, it would not be
reasonable nor fair, to place the entire burden on the Protestant
Community, in a challenge to find their orthodox roots.
A few years ago, I attended a reception honoring WCC president
Emile Castro.  His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian was there
to address this gathering on behalf of the Armenian Church.  The
Archbishop took to the podium and recalled the
struggle of the Armenian Church to keep the Faith throughout the
centuries.  In his final words he said, “You (members of the WCC)
have much to learn from us (the Armenian Church) just as we have
much to learn from you.”  Accordingly, the Armenian
Church has much to offer other churches–some, which have never
known Christianity without struggle or persecution.  On the other
hand, churches of the WCC may offer the Armenian Church the
experiences of working in an ecumenical spirit for global
and social concerns — something new, and therefore lacking in the
focus of the Armenian Church.
A similar statement of reciprocal learning is what is needed
between Orthodox and Protestant Armenians.  With nearly 200 years
of Armenian Protestantism, the Armenian Church cannot assume them
to be a passing fad. The Church must come to terms with
her children who long to express their faith. Evangelism has been
a practice of the Church since apostolic times — it cannot be
dismissed as a “Protestant practice.”  Concerns for relevancy of
the Sacraments, in terms of language and connection to
contemporary issues, is not only raised by the Protestants but
many of the Armenian Church faithful as well.  Learning from the
Protestants does not mean a compromise of orthodoxy.  The
Protestant Armenian community affords the Armenian Church the
opportunity to benefit from the West.  While the world turns its
attention to global concerns, the Armenian Church, as the Body of
Christ, cannot be confined to ethnic parameters.  She must come
out of her ethnic ghetto and not blemish Her sacred
mission with such secular concerns of national preoccupations.
The aspirations of the nation are best served when it is fed a
diet of spiritual sustenance.  The Armenian nation has remained
intact because of the Armenian Church: not because she
taught national pride, but because she provided the virtues
necessary for a people to survive and progress.
The counter part to reciprocal learning belongs to the Armenian
Protestants.   The Protestant communities are in serious need to
evaluate their direction and preaching.  As Fr. Gillquist and
other members of the EOC soon found, there was an element
missing from the Christian equation.  If the message of Protestant
evangelism does not account for the Church, then they are
depriving the believer of one of Christ’s greatest gifts.
Christianity is not an individual faith, it is a collective
experience.  God did not give the world a Bible from which we
would find our salvation.  God gave us a greater gift, His Only
Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  In turn, Christ gave His Body, the
Church, through which we would be saved. It was His Body —
His Arms, Legs, Mouth — which formalized and gave us the articles
of Faith and the Bible.  And today, if we are to remain faithful
to the New Testament understanding of the Church, it cannot be
with the exclusion of His Holy Body.   Through
liturgy, sacraments and communion of the saints, the Church offers
the fullness of the Christian message which is the only message
sanctioned by Christ for preaching.
The AEOM had the unique advantage of learning orthodoxy “from the
books” and not necessarily from practice.   Can the Armenian
Protestants find an outlet and a form of express in the Armenian
Church much like Fr. Gillquist and the EOC found in the
Orthodox Church?  If so, would the Armenian Church be open to
“welcome home” the Armenian Protestants, as Metropolitan Phillip
did to the EOC?  Mutual respect and receptiveness are the only
means by which this may occur.  Toward this end, there are
certain stumbling blocks already in place which may be too
cumbersome to lift.  At present, the infiltration of Armenia by
Protestant missionaries is of great concern to the hierarchs of
the Church.  In his sermon at the blessing of the Holy Miuron,
His Holiness Catholicos Vazken I, emphatically says, “The Armenian
people will never tolerate proselytizing by other churches within
the bosom of our nation_”  The motives of missionaries to Armenia
are in serious question: Are they there to bring
the Gospel of Christ to the spiritually starved people?  Or are
they there with the ultimate hopes of winning converts to their
In 1989, a Greek Orthodox priest disrupted an open-air
evangelistic campaign in northern Greece.  There was physical &
verbal abuse alleged on both sides.  Almost at the same time, the
Greek Orthodox Church in Greece established a special
“anti-heresy department” to neutralize the influences of
within Greece.8  Fortunately, these old world beat-um-up methods
have not been reported in Armenia.  But, with the recent
declaration of independence by Armenia, also came a declaration of
the primacy of the Armenian Church.  Legistating religion
only insures a safe haven for believers, but is not a substitute
for actual instruction and evangelization.
In conclusion, these reflections about Armenian Orthodox and
Protestant unity began innocently by a simple question.  I have
tried to offer a practical approach to this end through a model of
reciprocal learning.  I am not an idealist.  I do
realize we are far from unity and perhaps, just as far from even
entertaining the notion.  I hope that this article may be a
catalyst for subsequent discussions about this subject and
eventual movement in the direction of rapproachement.
Ironically, the issue of uniting the Armenian Apostolic and
Protestant churches is an issue of both religion and nation.  The
Armenian nation would certainly be strengthened with a single
solidified Church, but more importantly it would be to the
benefit of Christ’s Holy Body.   And to this we are commited.

1 The full text of the Report was published bilingually by
Pen-Text Publishing Company, Boston, MA.
2  Published in Armenian by the Armenian Missionary Association,
New Jersey, this small pamphlet, offers a short scriptural
passages for the days of the week, followed by a 3-5 paragraph
commentary/illustration of the passage.
3  1989, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc, Brentwood, Tennessee.
4  All quotes in reference to the formation of the AEOC, unless
otherwise noted are from an article by Peter Gillquist, Arrowhead
Springs to Antioch in Again Magazine, Vol. 10, No. 1, Concilliar
Press, Mt. Hermon, California.
5   Christianity Today, February 6, 1987
6  A phrase used by Metropolitan Philip to describe the EOC
7  Becoming Orthodox, p. 181.
8Christianity Today, October 6, 1989, p.41


“I wish I could go beyond words to describe to you the joy which
I experienced as I was chrismating these little children of the
Evangelical Orthodox faithful.  Every experience I had was like a
chapter from the Book of Acts.  I felt as if the
Church was recapturing her Apostolic spirit and rediscovering,
once again, her missionary dimension.
“There is a misconception among some of us Orthodox that the
Orthodox Church does not proselytize.  This is the furthest thing
from the truth.  Can you imagine where the Church would be if
Peter and Paul, Philip and Andrew, and the rest of the
Apostles did not proselytize?  What America needs today,
especially after the collapse of the electronic pulpit, is an
Orthodox evangelism based on the true interpretation of the
Scripture, the apostolic and patristic teachings, and the
and sacramental life of the Church.
Once again, from the the depth of my heart, I say to the
Evangelical Orthodox, ‘Welcome Home!'”
–Metropolitan Philip Saliba, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox
Christian Archdiocese in America, in response to the chrismation
services through North America

For Further Reading:
Becoming Orthodox, A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith by
Peter Gillquist, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Tennessee.
The Church of Armenia by Malachi Ormanian, Diocese of the Armenian
Church, New York.
The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press,
New York, 1986.
Again Quarterly of the department of the Antiochian Orthodox
Christian Archdiocese of North America.  Subscriptions available
by writing to Conciliar Press, P.O. Box 76, Ben Lomond, CA 95005.
A Century of Armenian Protestantism by Leon Arpee.  New York:
Armenian Missionary Association of America, Inc., 1946.
The Armenian Awakening by Leon Arpee.  Chicago: The University of
Chicago Press, 1909.
The Rise of the Evangelical Movement Among Armenians by A.A.
Bedikian (English Translation of the Beginning of the Evangelical
Movement Among Armenians.) New York: Armenian Missionary
Association of America, Inc., 1970.
The Armenian Evangelical Reformation Causes and Effects by G.H.
Chopourian  New York: Armenian Missionary Association of America,
Inc., 1972.
The Armenian Evangelical Church by Vahan H. Tootikian, Detroit,
MI: Armenian Heritage Committee, 1982.
The Separation of the Armenian Catholic and Evangelical
Denominations in the 19th Century by Puzant Yeghiayan. Antelias:
The Armenian Catholicosate of the See of Cilicia, 1971.

Joint-Commission of the Theological Dialogue Between

The Eastern & Oriental
Orthodox Churches
Orthodox Centre of Ecumenical Patriarchate Geneva
September 23 – 28, l990

The third meeting of the Joint Commission of the Theological
Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox
Churches took place at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate, Chambesy, Geneva, from September 23rd to 28th,
The official representatives of the two families of the Orthodox
Churches and their advisors met in an atmosphere of prayerful
waiting on the Holy Spirit and warm, cordial, Christian brotherly
affection. We experienced the gracious and generous
hospitality of His Holiness Patriarch Dimitrios I, through of His
Eminence Metropolitan Damaskinos of Switzerland in the Orthodox
Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. We were also received two
grand receptions, one at the residence of Metropolitan
Damaskinos and the other at the residence of His Excellency Mr.
Kerkinos, the Ambassador of Greece to the United Nations, and Mrs.
The 34 participants (see list of participants) came from Austria,
Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland,
Greece, India, Lebanon, Poland, Switzerland, Syria, U.K., U.S.A.,
U.S.S.R. (Russian Church, Georgian Church and Armenian
Church), and Yugoslavia. The six days of meetings were co-chaired
by His Eminence Metropolitan Damaskinos of Switzerland and His
Grace Metropolitan Bishop of Damiette.  His Eminence Metropolitan
Damaskinos in his inaugural address exhorted the
participants to “work in a spirit of humility, brotherly love and
mutual recognition” so that “the Lord of the Faith and Head of His
Church” will guide us by the Holy Spirit on the speedier way
towards unity and communion.
The meeting received two reports, one from its Theological
Sub-Committee, which met at the Orthodox Centre, Chambesy (20-22,
l990), and the other from its Sub-Committee on Pastoral Relations,
which met at the Anba Bishoy Monastery, Egypt (Jan. 3l –
Feb.. 4, l990).  The following papers which had been presented to
the Theological Sub-Committee were distributed to the
l.  Dogmatic Formulations and Anathemas by Local and Ecumenical
Synods within their Social Context – Rev. Prof. John S. Romanides,
Church of Greece.
2.  Anathemas and Conciliar Decisions  Two issues to be settled
for Restoration of Communion Among Oriental Orthodox and Eastern
Orthodox Churches – Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios, Metropolitan of
Delhi, Orthodox Syrian Church of the East.
3.  Historical Factors and the Council of Chalcedon – Fr. T.
Malaty, Coptic Orthodox Church.
4.  Historical Factors and the Terminology of the Synod of
Chalcedon (45l) – Prof. Dr. Vlassios Phidas, Greek Orthodox
Patriarchate of Alexandria.
5.  Interpretation of Christological Dogmas Today – Metropolitan
George Khodr – Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch.
6.  Interpretation of Christological Dogmas Today – Bishop Mesrob
Krikorian, Armenian Apostolic Church of Etchmiadzin.
The six papers and the two Sub-Committee reports, along with the
“Summary of Conclusions” of the Fourth Unofficial Conversations of
Addis Ababa (l97l) which was appended to the report of the
Theological Sub-Committee, formed the basis of our
intensive and friendly discussion on the issues and actions to be
taken.  A drafting committee composed of Metropolitan George
Khodr, Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios, Archbishop Keshishian,
Archbishop Garima, Rev. Prof. John Romanides,
Metropolitan Matta Mar Eustathius (Syria) Prof. Ivan Dimitr
ov (Bulgaria) with Prof. V. Phidas and Bishop Krikorian as
co-secretaries, produced the draft for the Second Agreed Statement
and Recommendations to Churches.  Another drafting Committee
composed of Prof. Papavassiliou (Cyprus), Bishop Christoforos
(Czechoslovakia), Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios and
Liqaselttanat Habtemariam (Ethopia), with Fr. Dr. George Dragas as
secretary, produced the draft for the Recommendations on Pastoral
Following, is the text of the unanimously approved Second Agreed
Statement and Recommendations.

The first Agreed Statement on Christology (Annex l) adopted by
the Joint Commission of the Theological Dialogue between the
Orthodox and Oriental Churches, at our historic meeting at the
Anba Bishoy Monastery, Egypt, from 20th to 24th June l989
forms the basis of this Second Agreed Statement on the following
affirmations of our common faith and understanding, and
recommendations on steps to be taken for the communion of our two
families of Churches in Jesus Christ our Lord, who prayed
“that they all may be one”.
l.  Both families agree in condemning the Eutychian heresy.  Both
families confess that the Logos, the Second Person of the Holy
Trinity, only begotten of the Father before the ages and
consubstantial with Him, was incarnate and was born from the
Virgin Mary Theotokos; fully consubstantial with us, perfect man
with soul, body and mind; he was crucified, died, was buried, and
rose from the dead on the third day, ascended to the Heavenly
Father, where He sits on the right hand of the Father as
Lord of all Creation.  At Pentecost, by the coming of the Holy
Spirit He manifested the Church as His Body.  We look forward to
His coming again in the fullness of His glory, according to the
2.  Both families condemn the Nestorian heresy and the
crypto-Nestorianism of Theodoret of Cyrus.  They agree that it is
not sufficient merely to say that Christ is consubstantial both
with His Father and with us, by nature God and by nature man;
it is necessary to affirm also that the Logos, Who is by nature
God, became by nature Man, by His Incarnation in the fullness of
3.  Both families agree that the Hypostasis of the Logos became
composite by uniting to His divine uncreated nature with its
natural will and energy, which He has in common with the Father
and the Holy Spirit, created human nature, which He assumed
at the Incarnation and made His own, with its natural will and
4.  Both families agree that the natures with their proper
energies and wills are united hypostatically and naturally without
confusion, without change, without division and without
separation, and that they are distinguished in thought alone.
5.  Both families agree that He who wills and acts is always the
one Hypostasis of the Logos incarnate.
6.  Both families agree in rejecting interpretations of Councils
which do not fully agree with the Horos of the Third Ecumenical
Council and the letter (433) of Cyril of Alexandria to John of
7.  The Orthodox agree that the Oriental Orthodox will continue
to maintain their traditional cyrillian terminology of “one nature
of the incarnate Logos”, since they acknowledge the double
consubstantiality of the Logos which Eutyches denied.  The
Orthodox also use this terminology.  The Oriental Orthodox agree
that the Orthodox are justified in their use of the two-natures
formula, since they acknowledge that the distinction is “in
thought alone”.  Cyril interpreted correctly this use in his
letter to John of Antioch and his letters to Acacius of Melitene
(PG 77, l84-20l), to Eulogius (PG 77, 224-228)and to Succensus (PG
77, 228-245).
8.  Both families accept the first three Ecumenical Councils,
which form our common heritage.  In relation to the four later
Councils of the Orthodox Church, the Orthodox state that for them
the above points l-7 are the teachings also of the four
later Councils of the Orthodox Church, while the Oriental Orthodox
consider this statement of the Orthodox as their interpretation.
With this understanding, the Oriental Orthodox respond to it
In relation to the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of
the Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox agree that the theology
and practice of the veneration of icons taught by that Council are
in basic agreement with the teaching and practice
of the Oriental Orthodox from ancient times, long before the
convening of the Council, and that we have no disagreements in
this regard.
9.  In the light of our Agreed Statement on Christology as well
as of the above common affirmations, we have now clearly
understood that both families have always loyally maintained the
same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken
continuity of the apostolic tradition, though they may have used
Christological terms in different ways.  It is this common faith
and continuous loyalty to the Apostolic Tradition that should be
the basis of our unity and communion.
l0. Both families agree that all the anathemas and condemnations
of the past which now divide us should be lifted by the Churches
in order that the last obstacle to the full unity and communion of
our two families can be removed by the grace and
power of God.  Both families agree that the lifting of anathemas
and condemnations will be consummated on the basis that the
Councils and Fathers previously anathematized or condemned are not
We therefore recommend to our Churches the following practical
A.  The Orthodox should lift all anathemas and condemnations
against all Oriental Orthodox Councils and fathers whom they have
anathematized or condemned in the past.
B. The Oriental Orthodox should at the same time lift all
anathemas and condemnations against all Orthodox Councils and
fathers, whom they have anathematized or condemned in the past.
C.  The manner in which the anathemas are to be lifted should be
decided by the Churches individually.
Trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth,
Unity and Love, we submit this Agreed Statement and
Recommendations to our venerable Churches for their consideration
and action, praying that the same Spirit will lead us to that
for which our Lord prayed and prays.

Recommendations on Pastoral issues
The Joint Commission of the Theological Dialogue between the
Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, at its meeting
at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in
Chambesy, Geneva from September 23rd to 28th, l990, received a
report from its Joint Pastoral Sub-committee which had met at the
Anb a Bishoy Monastery in Egypt from 3lst January to 4th February
l990.  The report was the starting point for an extended
discussion of four types of pastoral issues:
I.     Relations among our two families of Churches, and our
preparation for unity.
II.     Relations of our Churches with other Christian Churches and
our common participation in the Ecumenical Movement.
III.     Our common service to the world of suffering, need,
injustice and conflicts.
IV.    Our cooperation in the propagation of our common faith and

I.  Relations among our two families of Churches
1.  We feel as a Joint Theological Commission that a period of
intense preparation of our people to participate in the
implementation of our recommendations and in the restoration of
communion of our Churches is needed.  To this end we propose the
following practical procedure.
2.  It is important to plan an exchange of visits by our heads of
Church and prelates, priests and lay people of each one of our two
families of Churches to the other.
3.  It is important to give further encouragement to exchange of
theological professors and students among theological institutions
of two families for periods varying from one week to several
4.  In localities where Churches of the two families co-exist,
the congregations should organize participation of one group of
people – men, women, youth and children, including priests, where
possible from one congregation of one family to a
congregation of the other to attend in the latter’s euc
haristic worship on Sundays and feast days.
5.  Publications
(a)  We need to publish, in the  various languages of our
Churches, the key documents of this Joint Commission with
explanatory notes, in small pamphlets to be sold at a reasonable
price in all our congregations.
(b)  It will be useful also to have brief pamphlets explaining in
simple terms the meaning of the Christological terminology and
interpreting the variety of terminology taken by various persons
and groups in the course of history in the light of
our agreed statement on Christology.
(c)  We need a book which gives some brief account, both
historical and descriptive, of all the Churches of our two
families. This should also be produced in the various languages of
our peoples, with pictures and photographs as much as possible.
(d) We need to promote brief books of Church History by
specialist authors giving a more positive understanding of the
divergences of the fifth, sixth and seventh centuries.
6.  Churches of both families should agree that they will not
rebaptize members of each other, for recognition of the baptism of
the Church of our two families, if they have not already done so.
7.  Churches should initiate bilateral negotiations for
facilitating each other in using each other’s church premises in
special cases where any of them is deprived of such means.
8.  Where conflicts arise between Churches of our two families,
e.g. a) marriages consecrated in one Church being annulled by a
bishop of another Church; b) marriages between members of our two
families, being celebrated in one church over against
the other, c) or children from such marriages being forced to join
the one church against the other, the Churches involved should
come to bilateral agreements on the procedure to be adopted until
such problems are finally solved by our union.
9.  The Churches of both families should be encouraged to look
into the theological curriculum and books used in their
institutions and make necessary additions and changes in them with
the view to promoting better understanding of the other family
of Churches.  They may also profitably devise programmes for
instructing the pastors and people in our congregations on the
issues related to the union of the two families.

II.  Relations of our Churches with other Christian Churches in
the world
l0.  Our common participation in the Ecumenical Movement and our
involvement in the World Council of Churches needs better
co-ordination to make it more effective and fruitful for the
promotion of the faith which was once delivered to the saints in
the context of the Ecumenical Movement.  We could have a
preliminary discussion of this question at the Seventh Assembly of
the WCC at Camberra, Australia, in February l99l as well as in
regional and national councils of Churches and work out an
appropriate scheme for more effective co-ordination of our
ll.  There are crucial issues in which our two families agree
fundamentally and have disagreements with the Roman Catholic and
Protestant Churches.  We could organize small joint consultations
on issues like
(a)  the position and role of the woman in the life of the Church
and our common Orthodox response to the contemporary problem of
other Christian communities concerning the ordination of women to
the priesthood,
(b)  pastoral care for mixed marriages between Orthodox and
heterodox Christians,
(c)  marriages between Orthodox Christians and members of other
(d)  the Orthodox position on dissolution of annulment of
marriage, divorce and separation of married couples
(e)  abortion.
12.  A joint consultation should be held on the burning problem
of Proselytism, vis-a-vis religious freedom to draw up the
framework of an agreement with other Churches, for the procedure
to be followed when an Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox person
or family wants to join another (Catholic or Protestant) Church or
13.  A special joint consultation should be held on the theology
and practice of Uniatism in the Roman Catholic Church, as a
prelude to a discussion with the Roman Catholic Church on this
14.  We need to have another joint consultation to co-ordinate
the results of the several bilateral conversations now going on or
held in the past by Churches of our two families with other
Catholic and Protestant Churches.

III.  Our common service to the world of suffering, need,
injustice and conflicts
15.  We need to think together how best we could co-ordinate our
existing schemes for promoting our humanitarian and philanthropic
projects in the socio-ethnic context of our peoples and of the
world at large.  This would entail our common approach
to such problems as:
(a)  hunger and poverty,
(b)  sickness and suffering,
(c)  political, religions and social discrimination,
(d)  refugees and victims of war,
(e)  youth, drugs and unemployment,
(f)  the mentally and physically handicapped,
(g)  the old and the aged.

IV.  Our co-operation in the propagation of the Christian Faith.
l6.  We need to encourage and promote mutual co-operation as far
as possible in the work of our inner mission to our people, i.e.,
instructing them in the faith, and how to cope with modern dangers
arising from contemporary secularism, including
cults, ideologies, materialism, aids, homosexuality, the
permissive society, consumerism, etc.
17.  We also need to find a proper way for collaborating with
each other and with other Christians in the Christian mission to
the world without undermining the authority and integrity of the
local Orthodox Churches.

Orthodox members of the joint commission signing the statement:

Metropolitan Damaskinos
(Ecumenical Patriarchate)
Prof. Vlassios Phidas
Greek Orth. Patr. Alexandria
Prof. Athanasios Arvanitis
(Ecumenical Patriarchate)
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Peristerion
Ecumenical Patriarchate
Prof. Father George Dragas
Ecumenical Patriarchate
Metropolitan Petros of Aksum
Greek Orthodox Patr. Alexandria
Metropolitan George Khodr
Greek Orthodox Patr. Antioch
Mr. Nikolai Zabolotski
Russian Patriarchate
Grigorij Skobej
Russian Patriarchate
Prof. Stojan Gosevic
Serbian Patriarchate
Dr. Ivan Zhelev Dimitrov
Bulgarian Patriarchate
Metropolitan David Sukhum
Georgian Patriarchate
Boris Gagua
Georgian Patriarchate
Horepiskopos Barnabas of Salamis
Church of Cyprus
Prof. Andreas-Papavasiliou
Church of Cyprus
Metropolitan Meletios of Nikopolis
Church of Greece
Prof. Father John Romanides
Church of Greece
Bishop Jeremiasz of Wroclaw
Polish Orthodox Church
Bishop Christoforos of Olomouc
Orthodox Church in Czechoslovakia
Father Joseph Hauser
Orthodox Church in Czechoslovakia
Father Heikki Huttunen
Finnish Orthodox Church

Oriental Orthodox members of the joint commission signing the

Metropolitan Bishoi
(Coptic Orthodox Church)
Bishop Dr. Mesrob Krikorian
Armenian Church, Etchmiadzin
Metropolitan Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios
Orthodox Syrian Church of the East
Doctorate Joseph M. Faltas
Coptic Orthodox Church
Bishop Serapion
Coptic Orthodox Church
Father Tadros Y. Malaty
Coptic Orthodox Church
Metropolitan Eustathius Matta Rouhm
Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch
Archbishop Aram Keshishian
Armenian Church, Cilicia
Archbishop Mesrob Ashdjian
Armenian Church, Cilicia
Father George Kondortha
Orthodox Syrian Church of the East
Archbishop Abba Gerima of Eluvabur
Ethiopian Orthodox Church
Rev. Habte Mariam Warkineh
Ethiopian Orthodox Church


Unity at What Cost?
Reflections by the Orthodox Participants
at the 7th Assembly of
World Council of Churches

I. Introduction
The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox delegates and
participants at the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of
Churches, meeting in Canberra, Australia, want to communicate with
al in attendance through this statement in order to express to
them some concerns.  We preface our comments with an expression of
appreciation to the World Council of Churches for its many
contributions to the development of dialogue among churches, and
to assisting all members in making efforts to overcom
e disunity.  As Orthodox, we appreciate the assistance given over
decades in the process of dialogue leading toward the full
communion of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches.
We also recognize the contributions of the WCC in the work it has
done in its Commissions on Faith and Order and on Mission and
Evangelism (CWME), its contribution to the Renewal of
Congregational Life (RCL), its relief work through the
Inter-Church Aid, Refugees and World Service (CICARWS), and in the
Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Programme (JPIC).
Yet, our experience at this Assembly has heightened a number of
concerns that have been developing among the Orthodox since the
last Assembly.  We want to share these with the Canberra Assembly
and to tell you where these are now leading us.
The Orthodox concern about these issues should not be understood
as implying a reluctance to continue dialogue.  The present
statement is motivated not by disinterest or indifference toward
our sisters and brothers in other churches and Christian
communities, but by our sincere concern about the future of the
ecumenical movement, and about the fate of its goals and ideals,
as they were formulated by its founders.

II. Orthodox concerns
1. The Orthodox Churches want to emphasize that for them, the main
aim of the WCC must be the restoration of the unity of the Church.
This aim does not exclude relating church unity with the wider
unity of humanity and creation.  On the contrary,
the unity of Christians will contribute more effectively to the
unity of humanity and the world.  Yet the latter must not happen
at the expense of solving issues of faith and order, which divide
Christians.  Visible unity, in both the faith and the
structure of the Church, constitutes a specific goal and must not
be taken for granted.
2. The Orthodox note that there has been an increasing departure
from the basis of the WCC.  The latter has provided the framework
for Orthodox participation in the World Council of Churches.   Its
text is: “The World Council of Churches is a
fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God
and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to
fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (Constitutions).  Should
the WCC not direct its future work along these lines, it would be
in danger of ceasing to be an instrument aiming at the restoration
of Christian unity and in that case it would tend to become a
forum for an exchange of opinions without any specific
Christian theological basis.  In such a forum, common prayer will
be increasingly difficult, and eventually will become impossible,
since even a basic common theological vision will be lacking.
3. The tendency to marginalize the Basis in WCC work has created
some dangerous trends in the WCC.  We miss from many WCC documents
the affirmation that Jesus Christ is the world’s Saviour.  W e
perceive a growing departure from biblically-based
Christian understandings of, among other: a) the Trinitarian God,
b) salvation, c) the “Good News” of the gospel itself, d) human
beings as created in the image and likeness of God, and e) the
Our hope is that the result of Faith and Order will find a more
prominent place in the various expressions of the WCC, and that
tendencies in the opposite direction will not be encouraged.  The
Orthodox, consequently, attribute special significance
tot he work of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC, and view
with concern each tendency to undermine its place in the structure
of the Council.
4. The Orthodox follow with interest, but also with a certain
disquiet, the developments of the WCC towards the broadening of
its aims in the direction of relations with other religions.  The
Orthodox support dialogue initiatives, particularly those
aiming at the promotion of relations of openness, mutual respect
and human cooperation with neighbours of other faiths.  When
dialogue takes place, Christians are called to bear witness to the
integrity of their faith.  A genuine dialogue involves
greater theological efforts to express the Christian message in
ways that speak to the various cultures of our world.  All this,
however, must occur on the basis of theological criteria which
will define the limits of diversity.  The biblical faith
in God must not be changed.  The definition of these criteria is a
matter of theological study, and must constitute the first
priority of the WCC in view of its desired broadening of aims.
5. Thus, it is with alarm that the Orthodox have heard some
presentations on the theme of this Assembly.  With reference to
the theme of this Assembly, the Orthodox will await the final
texts.  However, they observe that some people tend to affirm
with very great ease the presence of the Holy Spirit in many
movements and developments without discernment.  The Orthodox wish
to stress the factor of sin and error, which exists in every human
action, and separate the Holy Spirit from these.  We
must guard against a tendency to substitute a ‘private’ spirit,
the spirit of the world or other spirits for the Holy Spirit who
proceeds from the Father and rests in the Son.  Our tradition is
rich in respect for local and national cultures, but we
find it impossible to invoke the spirits of “earth, air, water and
sea creatures.”  Pneumatology is inseparable from Christology or
from the doctrine of the Holy Trinity confessed by the Church on
the basis of the divine revelation.
6. The Orthodox are sorry that their position with regard to
eucharistic communion has not been understood by many members of
the WCC, who regard the Orthodox as unjustifiably insisting upon
abstinence from eucharistic communion.  The Orthodox once
more invite their brothers and sisters in the WCC to understand
that it is a matter of unity in faith and fundamental Orthodox
ecclesiology, and not a question of triumphalistic stance.
For the Orthodox, the eucharist is the supreme expression of
unity and not a means to ward unity.  The present situation in the
ecumenical movement is for us an experience of the cross of
Christian division.  In this regard, the question of the
ordination of women to the priestly and episcopal offices must
also be understood within a theological and ecclesiological
7. Finally, our concern is also directed to the changing process
of decision-making in the WCC.  While the system of quotas has
benefits, it may also be creating problems. As Orthodox we see
changes that seem to increasingly weaken the possibility
of an Orthodox witness, in an otherwise Protestant international
organization.  We believe that this tendency is to the harm of the
ecumenical effort.
8. For the Orthodox gathered at this Assembly, these and other
tendencies and developments question the very nature and identity
of the Council, as described in the Toronto Statement.  In this
sense the present Assembly in Canberra appears to be a
crucial point in the history of the ecumenical movement.
We must, therefore ask ourselves, Has the time come for the
Orthodox churches and other member churches to review their
relations with the World Council of Churches?
We pray the Holy Spirit to help all Christians to renew their
commitment to visible unity.
Editors’ Note: According to an announcement made after the
Assembly by Father Leonid Kishovsky, who is Secretary for
Ecumenical and External Affairs for the Orthodox Church in America
and President of the U.S. National Council of Churches, the
Orthodox bodies who are currently members of the WCC will hold a
consultative meeting in Egypt in the course of the coming year.
The purpose of the meeting will be to review their continued
*English text, as issued by EPS, Canberra, February 1991.



Ecumene (Greek – oikoumene) – the whole world, the entire
inhabited world. <oikein, to dwell, inhabit <(ge), the inhabited
Ecumenical – general or universal, esp., of or concerning the
Christian Church as a whole, or furthering or intending to further
the unity or unification of the Christian Churches.
chement – <French – rapprocher, to bring together< an
establishment, or esp., a restoring, of harmony and friendly

Who’s Who and What’s What_
-The National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
describes itself as the “primary national expression of the
ecumenical movement in the United States.  Membership includes 32
Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant communions, with a combined
membership of 42 million Christians.   They work together on a
wide range of activities that further Christian unity, witness to
the faith, and serve people throughout the world.  The NCC was
formed in 1950 by the merger of 12 previously existing
ecumenical agencies, some of which date back to the 19th century.
The preamble of the NCC Constitution state, ” Relying upon the
transforming power of the Holy Spirit, the Council brings these
(member) communions into common mission, serving in all creation
to the glory of God.”
– The World Council of Churches includes most of the Protestant
and Orthodox churches of the world, in over 100 countries. Its
headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland.  The original WCC, drafted
its constitution in 1938 and was formally inaugurated
in 1948 at the Amsterdam Conference.
The initial aims of the WCC were: the search for Christian unity
and a concerted effort to relate the Christian faith to social and
world problems. The range of the council’s membership and activity
has expanded greatly since its inception. The
activities of the council touch almost every aspect of Christian
The doctrinal basis of the WCC was nothing more than, “faith in
our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior.”  The desire was for the
WCC to be a fellowship of those churches who accept that truth and
not to be concerned with the manner in which the
churches interpreted it. The policies of the WCC are set by
assemblies–composed of representatives of all member churches.
Source: Spiritual Life, Diocese of San Francisco; Grolier’s
Electronic Encyclopedia.


Occasional Papers

Georges Florovsky’s
Model of Orthodox Ecclesiology

Rev. Lewis Shaw

NOTE TO THE ELECTRONIC VERSION: (words appearing in parenthesis
are the Greek translations and may be revealed by changing those
words to the Macinthosh “Symbols” font.)

Editors’ note: George Florovsky (l892-l979) is one of the most
eminent Russian theologians of this century. The son of a Russian
priest, he graduated in arts at Odessa University (1916),
subsequently lecturing there in philosophy (1919-20).  Leaving
Russia in 1920, he went first to Sofia and then to Prague, where
he was made lecturer in the faculty of law (1922-26).  In 1926 he
became Professor of Patristics at the Orthodox Theological
Institute in Paris, and later Professor of Dogmatics.  He
was ordained priest in 1932.  Moving to the U.S.A  in 1948, he
became successively Professor and Dean at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox
Theological Seminary, New York (1948-55).  Professor of Eastern
Church History at Harvard Divinity School (1956-64), and
Visiting Professor at Princeton University.  He has written
extensively on the Greek Fathers (mainly in Russian), urging the
necessity for a “neo-patristic synthesis.”  He has played a
leading part in the Ecumenical Movement, starting in the 1930’s
and has served regularly as delegate at assemblies of the Faith
and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches.  His
Collected Works have been published in ten volumes.

A viable and faithful model of Orthodox ecclesiology is that
provided by the main representative of the Traditionalist current
of the “Paris School” of Russian theology, Georges Florovsky
(l892-l979). Florovsky’s theological pilgrimage was not one
of creative speculation, but of a discovery of the “code”1
underlying the “ecclesial mind” expressed in the Church’s literary
classics, iconography and liturgy.  Florovsky presented the
theological content of his “neo-patristic” synthesis within the
all-encompassing ecclesial framework which he regarded as the
necessary vantage point for all theology.
Florovsky’s ecclesiology infused his whole approach to
theological discourse.  His ecclesiology was one of sustained
metaphor and image, rather than one which concentrated on
delineating the locus or the matrix of the Church’s authority.2
stopped short of a definition of the Church, or even of
acknowledging the need for such a definition.  Indicatively, he
wrote: “The Fathers did not care so much for the doctrine of the
Church precisely because the glorious reality was open to their
spiritual vision.  One does not define what is self-evident.”3
Despite his refusal to systematize, the Christological theme
informed his understanding of the Church and therefore the
significance of the Church in the theological task.  Florovsky
appropriated St. Augustine’s image of the Church as the Whole
Church, Head and Body; as such it mirrors the two natures of the
Incarnate Word in its theanthropic union.  As the mystery of
Christ is discernible only from within His Body, so that same
Christological reality reflects back upon the Church, its being,
and its purpose.  Christological theandrism for Florovsky provides
the key to a correct understanding of the mystery of the Church,
the only positive ground of research for the
extended pedagogical and catechetical exercise of theology.4
Florovsky schematized patristic thought as a fusion of Greek
cosmology with Israel’s continuing confession of revelation.  He
was not, however, like T. F. Torrance and others, interested in
quantum mechanics, or a dialogue between theoretical
physics and theology.  He was concerned with the dynamic of
creation, inasmuch as it pertained to the exercise of freedom in
salvation history, the key to which is eschatology.  The matrices
of patristic categories, for Florovsky, were Origen’s
philological and textual interpretations of Scripture, and the
salvation history read from it.  Florovsky’s “code” did not
accommodate contradiction.  The importance of St. Maximus the
Confessor and Leontius of Byzantium, for example, was not in a
surpassing originality, but in their theological gifts for sensing
the pneumatic instinct of the Church_-their ability to hear and
discern the unitive voice of the Holy Spirit in Tradition. In this
Florovsky seemed to set as his pattern St. John of
Damascus, the synthesizer par excellence of the Cappadocians,
Leontius, and St.Maximus.  Of the Damascene Florovsky approvingly
wrote in The Byzantine Fathers of the Sixth to Eighth Century:

“As a theologian St. John of Damascus was a collector of
patristic materials.  In the Fathers he saw ‘God-inspired’
teachers and ‘God-bearing’ pastors.  There can be no contradiction
among them:  ‘a father does not fight against the fathers, for
all of them were communicants of a single Holy Spirit.’  St. John
of Damascus collected not the personal opinions of the fathers but
precisely patristic tradition.  ‘An individual opinion is not a
law for the Church,’ he writes, and then he repeats
St. Gregory of Nazianzus: ‘one swallow does not a summer make.
‘And one opinion cannot overthrow Church tradition from one end of
the earth to the other.'”5

Florovsky’s own view that the patristic tradition was a synthesis
without contradiction raises some problems which are beyond the
scope of this article.
It was the rediscovery of a coherent vision of history that
Florovsky encouraged, not an initiative toward fresh speculative
qeologoumena [opinion]; the attempt at such rediscovery is
foundational to his neo-patristic scheme.  Inasmuch as it is the
Israel of God, the Church testifies continually in its inheritance
of faith and its path of pilgrimage that God is none other than
the Creator of the universe and Lord of history, the God of
Abraham and Father of Jesus Christ, Who yet hovers over
His creation as Spirit.  For Florovsky the primary meaning of
faith is trust, the sense of God and His will, and the working-out
of His intention in history, where He has acted upon, and through,
His people, the Church. Florovsky believed that the
Triune confession_the t
estimony and knowledge of the Church as predicated upon its
experience of the Covenant Holy One of Israel as God’s compassion
in Jesus Christ and His Presence in the Spirit_given a basis for
adequate voice and formulation in the language of the
Church’s Tradition, is central to the Church’s discussion of God’s
relation to the world.  God has identified Himself to the Church
as Triune.  For Florovsky catholicity, askhsis (self-denial) and
the Triune identity, or Trinity, are linked in an
ecclesial exposition of personality, self, and ego, all key
ingredients in a radical, ecclesial modification of human
self-consciousness.  When the Church speaks of God, it tells of
the Father Who created it and gave it life, the Son Who redeemed
it, and the Spirit Who empowers it.  God and the Church face and
hear each other as a multiplicity of persons, by definition
distinct, bound together in the loving communion of Redeemer and
redeemed.  Christians experience the Personal reality of
God in the activity of the Trinity.
The Church, which Florovsky sees as the completion of the
Incarnation, is therefore the primary reference point of
anthropology.  The image of God constitutes the esse of the human
being; it is to live in God, and to have God in our hearts.
Humanity finds its fullness and completedness in Christ and His
Body.  This is the clue to the meaning of catholicity.
Catholicity is the very affirmation of self, expressed in redeemed
character; in the fullness of the communion of saints, the
clarity of God’s will_the “catholic transfiguration of
personality”_is accomplished. In catholicity, the concrete union
of love, the consciousness of contradiction_that which would
distort the Church’s unity_disappears.  The Church’s life,
is inevitably fraught with conflict.  The unity of the world has
been compromised; God’s deification of creation is the work of
relentless warfare with the insidious attraction of nothingness,
that is, evil.  Evil enslaves humanity and perverts its
vocation to divine sonship.  Humankind is awakened from its
self-delusion and narcissistic obsession with itself by the
presence of God, Who urges it toward Christ and His invitation to
the active partnership of creative redemption.  That
partnership begins with fidelity to covenant as faith, trust in
Who Jesus is in His own Person, the New Covenant.  God, history’s
central actor, “planned” the Incarnation of Christ before time
began.  All God’s mighty acts are election toward the
purpose of Incarnation, the intended blessing and fulfillment of
creation.  The starting point of the Christian faith is for
Florovsky “the acknowledgment of certain actual events, in which
God has acted, sovereignly and decisively, for man’s
salvation, precisely in these last days.”6
Man, according to Florovsky, is the only creature in the cosmic
system capable of free action; God has “legislated” his
self-determination.  Man has a desire for God, and for knowledge
of Him.  The culmination of the strenuous effort of mystical
ascent_for Florovsky the ascetical ‘ordeal’_is represented in the
person of Mary, who, in her free, affirmative, and active response
to the Spirit’s invitation of grace, achieved the sense of God.
The Annunciation, Conception, and Incarnation not
only show humanity deified;  these events also manifested God’s
longing and intention to become human.  Florovsky stressed
Christ’s assumption of human nature, and the Incarnation, as the
ultimate initiatives of grace and healing on God’s part.
According to Florovsky the distinction and relationship between
Christ’s human and divine natures_defined by Chalcedon_was in fact
necessary for the Incarnation, and is the norm governing the
totality of human life.  The Truth_not an abstract idea,
but a Person_was given Word by becoming man.  “The Bible,”
Florovsky wrote, “can never be, as it were, ‘algebraized.’  Names
can never be replaced by symbols. There was a dealing of the
Personal God with human persons. And this dealing culminated in
the Person of Christ Jesus_”7  Jesus was His own Scripture.  Love
is the force motivating salvation, and its purpose and display are
the Cross, sacrament of love par excellence.  It is this sacrament
and sacrifice which are the divine call and
vocation heard in the Church, the unity of all believers in
catholicity and grace.
Through the Church, the home of the synthetic code, Christ
summons humankind by grace into the path of eschatological tension
and self-denial.  The disciple is “ingodded” through the
sacraments, and as a consequence, is led to understand the
fullness of Christ’s mind in His Church, in the continuity of the
Spirit’s gracious help.  Florovsky’s consideration of ecclesial
anthropology leads through his concept of catholicity to an
assertion of the sacramental vocation and transformation of
humanity.  The path of eschatological dynamism is precisely that
of the Church’s sacramental life, a life infusing and supporting
the community of faith during her journey between the beginning
and end of time.

Florovsky, following the lead of St. Cyril of Jerusalem,8 saw the
profoundest expression of the Church’s catholicity in her
sacramental assemblies of washing and feeding, the musthrion ths
sunaxews (mystery of gathering together).  Sacramental
assembly (synaxis) is the identity of the Church’s experience, the
gathering where her royal priesthood is discharged, the purpose
and finishing of life in Christ.  This is the communion of the
risen High Priest, the fellowship of co-mediation
celebrated in to teleutaion musthrion, the ultimate sacrament.9 It
is in the final mystery of communion shared with the Lamb slain
from the foundation of the world,10 that the Church fully
expresses her catholicity, a vision of the mystical conquest
of time and the transformation of history.  The Cross fuses death
and birth, baptism and Eucharist; on Golgotha the Holy Service of
Eucharist is celebrated by the Incarnate Lord in a baptism of
blood and sacrifice of human nature.11 This is the
communion of co-mediation formed on the Cross by the High Priest
of the good things to come.12
Florovsky’s  sacramental theology effectively blended the
imageries of Scripture and the patristic inheritance.13
Sacraments constitute the Church, revealing her catholicity in a
fellowship of God’s own possession, a communion in holy things
presided over by the now and future High Priest, the Church’s
Bridegroom Who plights His troth of Eternal Life to His Beloved.14
Since the world was created in view of Christ and His Body, the
Church has a cosmic import; all creation is called to
it, and so as it prays and serves the Liturgy, it sanctifies the
fruits of creation in “the bath of salvation, the heavenly Bread,
and the Cup of Life.”  The Church is the likeness of man, the
pinnacle and glory of creation.  Resurrection is
creation history’s point of convergence, and it already bears
fruit in the Church’s ontological conversion of humankind,
expressed and sealed palpably in the sacraments.  A kind of
macro-humanity, the Church takes shape and grows until it
accommodates all who are called and  foreordained.  In Florovsky’s
view the sacred history of God’s mighty acts is still continued in
the Israel of God, where “salvation is not only accounted or
proclaimed_but precisely enacted [viz. the
In Florovsky’s understanding “the ecclesial mind,” or “sense,”
expresses itself as the divine conversion of prayer: a habit and
attitude of personal relation between believers and God, in the
Church.  This habit forms, in the Church’s renewing
deposit of the charisma veritatis (grace of truth), a “sacramental
community” enchristing and anointing all who bear Jesus’ title as
a name, Christians, in history, for all time.  Grace is
hypostasized and realized in the visible words, the “logoi,”
of the sacraments, God’s very own, sealed energies.  The Church is
God’s teleological vision and command, and as God eternally
contemplated the image of the world, so with good enjoyment does
He intend the transformation of image into the likeness
of new life in grace in His Church.  In this mystery of
sacramental catholicity, the C
hurch expresses her vision of the mystical conquest of time and
the transformation of history.  Hearing the Word of God in the
Church’s sacramental conversation, we are raised into the hope and
pilgrimage of Pentecost.

“CW (I-X)” refers to The Collected Works of Georges Florovsky
(Vaduz, Liechtenstein, l987), Volumes I-X, ed. R.S. Haugh.

1 Cf. The Byzantine Fathers of the Sixth to Eighth Century, CW IX,
p. 256, where Florovsky construes the thinking of St. John of
Damascus as a “code.”
2 Certainly Florovsky gave consideration to the issue of ecclesial
authority; but he did not emphasize it.  His thinking about
authority and its relation to other themes may be summarized as
follows.  Tradition is the property of the whole assembly
of baptized persons, the Body of Christ; but the hierarchy has an
especial potestas magisterii  and obligation to speak for the
Church (nevertheless, it should perhaps be noted here that
Florovsky paid little written attention to a theology of Holy
Orders).  The episcopus in ecclesia  is the apostolic center of
catholicity.  It is his duty to witness to Catholic Faith, never
to propound personal opinion or qeologoumena; episcopal authority
is not ex sese.  Neither does it rest on the Church’s
consensusit is from Christ.  The “reception” of dogma by the
Church raises problemsas dogmatic truth is never to be settled by
majority vote.  The basic unity of “life in Tradition,” resting on
the twin pillars of khrugma and dogma, continues as it
is “sensed” by the “ecclesial mind.”  It is this life, constituted
in the sacraments, which guarantees dogmatic truth.  There can be
no ‘external authority’ in the Church, no power whereby dogma may
be imposed, as Florovsky sees it; authority is not
the source of spiritual life.  In the Churchthe community of
“sobornost” and the simultaneous image of both Christ and the
Trinitythe division in the “natural consciousness” between the
claims of freedom and of authority disappear in the “concrete
union” of love.
3 “The Church: Her Nature and Task,” CW I, p. 57.
4  ibid., p. 68.
5 The Byzantine Fathers of the Sixth to Eighth Century,  CW IX, p.
6 ‘The Predicament of the Christian Historian,’ CW IX, p. 58.
7 ibid., p. 59
8 ‘The Catholicity of the Church,” CW I, p. 41.
9 ‘The ‘Immortality’ of the Soul,” CW III, p. 237.
10 “Redemption,” CW III, p. 100.
11 ibid., pp. 132-133.
12 ibid., pp. 131.
13 ibid., pp. 131-159.  Florovsky’s sacramental and
anthropological language  remarkably like the sacramental and


Address of
His Holiness Vazken I, Catholicos of All Armenians
on the occasion of the Blessing of the Holy Chrism (Miuron)
29 September 1991

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Descent of the Only Begotten from the Father, with the light of

Our beloved children:
Today, having gathered under the pillars of Holy Etchmiadzin, we
blessed the Holy Chrism.   Let us remember that many centuries
ago, St. Gregory our Illuminator, saw a miraculous vision.  The
Son of God, our Saviour Christ, descended here on this
site with the light of glory.
Thus, in Armenia, Christianity was declared as the official
religion of the entire Armenian nation, in whose bosom_starting
with the Apostolic age_the words of the Holy Gospel has been
propagated.   But especially, with the preaching of St.
Gregory, with his miraculous works, with the conversion and
baptism of the Armenian King Dirtad, the new faith finally
triumphed.  The foundation of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church
was laid, organized, having as its center, this place,
Etchmiadzin, where the Only Begotten Son of God descended.
Henceforth, the spirit of the Armenian nation was mixed with the
light of Christ’s Gospel.
Henceforth, the Armenian people began to live a new spiritual
Henceforth, the Armenian people was transfigured and became a
creative nation.
History is witness to the fact that through Christianity, the
Armenian nation became a universal phenomenon.
Yes, a universal phenomenon, first, because in 301 it was the
first to open its heart to the light of Christ’s Gospel and
declare this new faith as a national, state religion.  And the
Armenian king Dirtad became the first king to be baptized a
Evidently, in 313 A.D., Roman Emperor Constantine with the Edict
of Milan, merely declared Christianity as an acceptable religion
within the boundaries of the Roman Empire.  And he, Constantine,
was baptized some ten years later.
Through Christianity, the Armenian nation became a universal
phenomenon also with its Golden Age of literature_during the fifth
century_when a new culture was born and radiated into the world.
A unique  and new national ethos [emerged], whose
creative values have reserved themselves a permanent place in the
history of universal civilization, even until today.
Finally, the Armenian people, through Christianity, became a
universal phenomenon with the Battle of Vartanantz, which was
viewed on the horizons of world history as the first battle of
conscience, for freedom of faith.  The martyrdom of Vartanantz
has remained with us until today as a symbol of our
freedom-seeking spirit and as a symbol of our desire for national
Today, when our fatherland has proclaimed independence, the
Armenian Apostolic Church_with a loud exclamation_welcomes that
proclamation, with the realization that she, the Armenian Church_
from the time of Her formation to the present_has
preserved the idea of independence on the level of spiritual life.
For centuries, under all oppressive forces, the Armenian
faithful has felt himself free and independent only under the
pillars of his Mother Church.
Therefore, today. it is only just, to acknowledge the Armenian
Church as the proto-witness, the forerunner, of our national
For centuries, the Armenian Church has also realized the ideas of
self-determination and independence within her relationships with
other churches.
From Byzantine times, large Christian churches have frequently
sought to rule over the Armenian Church and the souls of the
Armenian people, to prohibit her national spiritual freedom.  In
this respect, the history of the Armenian Church is one
heroic battle against the expansionist desires of foreign
In the spirit of ecumenism, the Armenian Church wishes to keep
cordial and fraternal relations with all other sister Christian
churches_at the same time, preserving holy her confession of faith
and her internal  administrative and national
autonomy.  The Armenian people will never be dependent on other
church centers.  The Armenian people will never tolerate
proselytizing (“man-hunting”) by other churches in the bosom of
our nation, whether in Armenia or the Diaspora.
The Armenian Church is one of the ancient and legitimate
Christian churches and does not need to import religious or church
teachings from the outside.
Today, after the proclamation of our independent republic, it is
crucial to secure the spiritual independence of the Armenian
Church, as the sole authentic church of the Armenian people, free
from foreign religious centers.
One of the foundations of our new independent government is the
freedom and self-determination of Armenian Church.
We profess the Creed: one free nation, one free government, one
free national Church.
With this creed, with this understanding, we proclaim this holy
chrism, which has been blessed by the power of the Holy Spirit, as
the “Chrism of Independence.”
Armenians, our spiritual children, with this Holy Chrism, unite!
Be brothers! Become one will! One happiness! One suffering!  One
nation! One family! One strong oath. And beneath the eternal sight
of biblical Ararat, with the blessings of Holy
Etchmiadzin, believe in this one patch of Armenian soil and its
For what is our hope and joy or crown of boasting before our Lord
Jesus at his coming?  Is it not you (our Armenian people)?  For
you are our glory and joy. –I Thessalonians 2:19-20.
Now and always. Amen.
-translated by Fr. Vazken Movsesian


The Armenian Church in America:
100th Anniversary

The 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian Church
in North America was celebrated September 20-22, 1991, in New York
city and  Worcester, Massachusetts.  These celebrations were held
under the auspices of the Eastern Diocese and its
Primate, His Grace Bishop Khajag Barsamian. His Beatitude
Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Patriarch of Jerusalem, was invited
especially to participate in these celebrations. Among the guests
of honor were Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate of the
Western Diocese; Bishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Canadian
Diocese; Bishop Sevan Gharibian of Jerusalem and a host of
priests, deacons and seminarians.
The year 1891 was a historic year in the Armenian church, maybe
even as historic as 301 A.D.    In 1891 the first Armenian Church
was  built in North America (Worcester, Mass.).  This was a
monumental achievement in the ancient life of our 1,700
year old Church.
As immigrants_deported from their ancestral homeland_our
fathers saw America as the land of opportunity. They left Armenia
with nothing.  They arrived at  Ellis Island with nothing.  They
settled down in America with nothing.  Their life was a
true struggle.  Today, one hundred years later, we can look back,
smile and rejoice in their achievements.
As a hundred-year-old Church community, how can we measure our
accomplishments and successes.   In this time span, we have built
65 churches in North America from Houston to Miami,  Toronto to
San Diego.  We have established numerous mission
parishes, which are on the verge of building churches: from Dallas
to St. Petersburg, Phoenix to Newport Beach.  There are also
smaller communities in such cities as Albuquerque, New Mexico,
Raleigh, North Carolina, Portland, Oregon and Minneapolis,
Minnesota.  Also along with our churches, we built schools, social
halls, museums, libraries, and even colleges.

Today, when we reflect upon the successes of our fathers, we see
that these were achieved literally through blood, sweat, and
tears.  Our people worked very hard to succeed. From the first
brick to the last, they worked together, taking nothing for
granted.  The clergy and laity, workers and leaders, parents and
children, together created a true sense of community   They felt a
need to build and together they responded to that need.  They had
a desire to implant their roots in American soil
and their seeds landed on fertile soil.  They had a vision for the
future of the Armenian Church and people, and their vision became
reality.  They had faith in God and trusted that He would watch
over them.   They worked along side with God.
Unity, vision and faith were the keys to their success.
Today, one hundred years later_as we benefit from the labors and
fruits of our fathers_are we ready to face the challenges of our
times as they did?  Will our church progress toward the 21st
century and be able to meet the needs of Her people_ the
need for solidarity, unity, commitment, love, and faith in God?
Today, we too are presented with a challenge: as a Church
community will we touch the lives of Armenians living in America
over the next 100 years.  The responsibility is ours_clergy and
laity.  The future of the Armenian Church in America is in
our hands.  What will the next generation say about the Armenian
Church and Her people in America in the year 2091?
–Gregory Doudoukjian
St. Nersess Armenian Seminary


Bishop Uzgon Der Hagopian (1904-1991) fell asleep in Christ on
March 30 in New York, USA.  His Grace was a member of the St.
James Brotherhood of Jerusalem.  Ordained into the priesthood:
1930; consecrated a bishop in 1958.
Archbishop Sion Manoogian (1906-1991) fell asleep in Christ on
July 16 in Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia.  His Eminence has served as
a member of the Supreme Council of the Armenian Church since 1955.
He was the Primate of the Eastern Diocese
(1958-1966).  Ordained into the priesthood: 1930; consecrated a
bishop in 1949.
Patriarch Dmitrios I (1914-1991), the ecumenical Patriarch of the
Eastern Orthodox Church passed to his eternal rest on October 2 in
Istanbul, Turkey.  Patriarch Dmitrios was the 269th successor to
St. Andrew, the founder of the Eastern Orthodox
Church in Constantinople.  The Eastern Orthodox Church is divided
into 14 main groups, but the Archbishop of Constantinople (the
title held by Patriarch Dmitrios) is considered primus inter pares
— first among equals. He is succeeded by Archbishop

At the Mother See
Freedom of Conscience: The General Assembly of the Religious
Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin took place on April 19, 1991 under
the presidency of Catholicos Vazken I.  According to the
Catholicos, for the first time in the annals of Armenian
governments the freedom of conscience has been made a law. “We
need to take advantage of these opportunities,” stated the
Catholicos, “The Armenian Church has a great deal of work to do in
bringing the people back to her bosom.”
Bishop Krikoris Pouniatian, the Primate of the Diocese of Shirak
made a presentation about the law of freedom of conscience in the
Armenian Republic.  He mentioned those basic principles upon which
in essence this democratic law is built which
enables the Church to expand her activities to return the
Armenians to their roots and to provide the young generation with
moral instruction.

World Council of Churches and the Catholic Church
-In view of the fact that the Roman Catholic Church is not a
member of the World Council of Churches, a Report was prepared by
the Reference Committee of WCC and presented to the General
Assembly on February 19, 1991, in Canberra. In the debate on
the Report, most speakers emphasized the need to maintain, and
where possible, upgrade dialogue between WCC and the Roman
Catholic Church.  Echoing elements in the Report, several speakers
urged that more be made of ecumenical relationships at the
local level which already involve Roman Catholics.
In the discussion, Archbishop Aram Keshishian, (Lebanon)
Moderator of WCC, underlined that there were four issues of
crucial importance for relations between the WCC and the Catholic
Church: a) a growing shift in emphasis from multilateral to
bilateral dialogue; b) the ‘selective and limited nature’ of Roman
Catholic involvement in WCC activities; c) major Vatican
‘reservations’ about WCC membership; d) a deterioration in some
countries of Roman Catholic-Easter Orthodox relations.

Greeks Suspend participation in National Council of Churches
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, with
Archbishop Iakovos presiding, decided to suspend participation in
the National Council of Churches and re-evaluate the relationship.
According to a statement by the publishers of the
Orthodox Observer, “The NCC has strayed from its original purpose
and pursuits as stated in the Preamble of the Constitution.”
(Charles Walters)

The Church of England
-Anglican Bishop George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in an
interview with the British edition of the Reader’s Digest
magazine, published in late February, said:
“The idea that only a male can represent Christ at the altar is a
most serious heresy.  The implications of that are devastating and
destructive, because it means women feel totally excluded.  Jesus
included women in his ministry; they were
witnesses to his resurrection. ‘There is neither male nor female,’
Saint Paul said, ‘for you are all one in Christ Jesus.'”
These remarks provoked attacks from leading Anglican opponents of
women’s ordination, among who was Bishop Eric Kemp of Chichester,
who expressed “astonishment and dismay,” and published a
comprehensive rebuttal to Dr. Carey’s statement.  The
comments from the interview, together with the opponents’
reaction, was widely reported in the secular British press.
On February 27, a further statement of clarification and apology
was issued on Dr. Carey’s behalf by Lambeth Palace, headquarters
of the Anglican Church:
“Controversy has been stirred by my use of the word ‘heresy’ in
an interview I gave to the Rea
der’s Digest over three months ago. In the context of a very
wide-ranging interview I wanted to make the point that to insist
upon maleness as an essential attribute of priesthood is, I
believe, to commit the fundamental error of making the maleness
of Christ more significant than his humanity.  It is as human
rather than exclusively as male that he identifies with and saves
both men and women.  I regret that in seeking to express this view
I spoke of heresy rather than theological error, and
thereby unintendedly caused offence.  I have never doubted the
integrity of those who are opposed to the ordination of women to
the priesthood.  I hope that the integrity of both sides will be
respected as the debate in the Church of England on this
issue continues.” [Lambeth Palace, Feb. 1991].
Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)
The executive committee of the MECC met in Nicosia and issued a
call for the promotion of peace and justice in the region.  In
five days of meetings, during the October, the committee members
discussed means the regional churches could employ to
promote peace and justice in Cyprus and Lebanon and in resolving
the Arab-Israeli conflict in the aftermath of the Gulf War.
The 24 member committee represents nearly all the 14 million
Christians of the Eastern Orthodox, Armenian, Coptic, Syriac and
Catholic Churches, who constitute about 10 percent of the total
population of the Muslim-dominated region.

For the Record
The National Council of Churches opposed the nomination of
Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court.  NCC officials have
published a 15 page analysis of Thomas’ career as a Federal
Appeals Court judge. NCC General Secretary Joan Brown Campbell
writes, the Supreme Court “has often been the last resort for
those denied the dream_ Those who are nominated to the highest
court in the land must be chosen reverently and advisedly and this
is why, as Christian citizens, we make bold to write
_ today.’


Dear Editors:
I wish to congratulate you for your excellent review, the Window,
which lets in light and freshness into our religious experience.
I thoroughly enjoy your thought-provoking and insightful articles
where particular emphasis is placed on the
individual’s spiritual life rather than on the observance of
traditional rituals.
Your last issue (vol. II, no.2)  dedicated to the International
Conference of Armenian Clergy was very imformative.  Your
coverage, interviews and commentaries, all done with
professionality and perspicacity, highlighted one of the most
problems that the Church faces today: the problem of religious
education.  Speaking particularly about the Homeland — not
because the Diaspora is in any eviable condition — there is the
immense task of educating, I’d say indoctrinating, children,
youth and adults alike, in the fundamental beliefs of Christianity
and the tenents and traditions of the Armenian Church.  The
challenge is formidable, by virtue of the huge number of people to
be reached, the dire shortage of clergy, the menacing
encroachments of sects and above all, the state of unpreparedness
of the Church to undertake a task of such dimensions.
To expect that this work can be cone by a handful of clergy, is
to think the impossible.  There is already a great demand on the
priest’s time for pastoral work, since there are now thousands of
people shaken up by disaster and calamities who
require such a ministry.  Besides, a priest whose function
consisted mainly of performing rites, may not necessarily be
equipped to teach.
This great challenge of providing religious education to the
masses cannot be met unless the laity is drawn into the task.  And
this is where the diaspora enters the picture.  I am sure there
are a number of laymen, qualified to teach and
knowledgeable enough in the doctrines and traditions of the
Church, who may be willing to give time and effort to this noble
work.  Each diocese, after recruiting these individuals, could run
a short seminar, a workshop or a crash refresher course
for them and send them off to the Homeland with specific teaching
assignments for a period of 8 to 10 weeks.  Of course, it requires
some organization and coordination, particularly with the Center
for the Propagation of Faith (CPF).  Such a plan is
not a final solution, but if carried out for a number of years, it
may give the Church the time to devise a comprehensive educational
plan and a viable mechanism for its implementation.
I see a great mission for Window to provide a forum of discussion
and exchange of ideas and to share with the public the vital
issues that challenge the Armenian Church
–N. Ouzounian
Montrael, Canada

We too see the mission of Window in the same light.
We are sad to report that shortly after our last  issue was
published we learned that the CPF has been shut down by the Church
autorities in Armenia. -ed

Dear Editors:
Thank you for your coverage of the International Clergy
Conference.  I was surprised to see (or not see) the lack of press
coverage given to such an historic event.  The official press
release (from the conference) gave the impression that the
clergy had gotten together for a week of coffee and tea.
Congratulations on a job well done.
–Manuel Tarpinian
Los Angeles, California

Dear Editors:
To readers such as myself, who are far away from local parishes,
Window becomes our only source of contact with the Armenian
Church.  Because of Window’s international scope, many of the
names of bishops and priests may be familiar to others but I
cannot say the same for myself.  Could you identify the bishops
(much like the press identifies politicians) with a code
designating affiliation (Antelias, Etchmiadzin, Jerusalem) and the
city they serve.  For instance, Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian (A-
New York).
–Hygouhi Belinian
Mason City, IA

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The Armenian Church Research and Analysis Group was founded in
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In view of the recent developments in the world and particularly
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In 1990 ACRAG began publishing the Window quarterly.  Within a
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Among its accomplishments during its short history was the
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