Armenian Diocese In Georgia Urges To Stop Barbarism


22 March 05

The conflict surrounding the Armenian Church Norashen is gaining
new momentum and the frontiers of trust, it seems, are being left
far behind. After the attention it attracted in relation to the “fake
tombstones with Georgian inscriptions”, which are still not taken away
from the churchâ[email protected]~Ys yard, Georgian Church officials convincingly
assured the Armenian Diocese that the Georgian Patriarchate had best
intentions for a positive resolve of the Norashen question and that
the actions of Father Tariel were very much his own.

However, just a few days later, Father Abgar, Deputy Head of the
Armenian Diocese in Georgia, witnessed the undertaking of new works
by the Georgian clergy and handymen in front of the Armenian Church
Norashen (digging of holes, planting of trees etc.). Despite the
earlier agreement, the appropriation efforts aimed at the Armenian
Church of Norashen continue secretly, probably with the intention to
put the Armenian Diocese in front of a fait accompli. The Georgian
priest Tariel (the same who had destroyed famous frescoes from the
Hovnatanyan school and Armenian khatshkars) stated: “The land is ours,
hence the church is ours and we do what we want and what I have been
told. Leave us in peace, you are getting on our nervesâ[email protected]¦”

Against the backdrop of the Norashen problem, the Armenian Diocese
in Georgian is worried about a growing anti-Armenism in Georgia
(where according to official figures from 1989 about 500.000
Armenians live), which finds expresses in the form of anti-Armenian
propaganda in Georgian mass-media, such as in the Georgian Times
of 24.02.2005: “Armenians do anything to undercut the formation of
Georgia as a stateâ[email protected]¦ and this is why it is necessary to create
a one-nation-state”, “if the Armenians had the material means,
they would destroy our language”, “I donâ[email protected]~Yt remember one single
time, when Armenians did something good for Georgia”, “a Georgianised
Armenian can never become a Georgian, he will always strive to power.
The clearest example for this is the Georgian President himself”. The
Diocese is furthermore worried about the continuous acts of vandalism
that Armenian cemeteries are subjected to in Georgia. The century old
cemetery of Vera, in Tbilisi, has been almost completely destroyed in
the past 17 years. The graves of well known politicians, generals,
professors and poets, who were not just Armenians but who played an
important role in historical Georgia are being annihilated. And the
latest horrendous news, reaching the Press Office, are from Dusheti
(a provincial town in Georgia), where yet another Armenian cemetery
has become the victim of acts of vandalism.

The Armenian Diocese in Georgia requests that acts of vandalism
and offence to the dead be put an end to. It asks not to impede the
fruitful dialogue between the Georgian Patriarchate and the Armenian
Catholicosate, which is undercut by the unqualified actions of Father
Tariel, resulting in a negative impact on the century old, brotherly
relationship between the two churches. The Diocese hopes to attract
the attention of the international community to this situation.

Armenian Diocese in Georgia


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