The Time For Reform And Spiritual Reconstruction By Sahag Sukiasyan



Translated from French

On October 19, members of the Assembly of Delegates of our diocese will
meet in Marseille to elect the successor of Bishop Norvan. Their task
will be difficult and the estate will be difficult. Firstly because
finding a candidate that combines the personal qualities and skills of
Bishop Norvan be a challenge, but also because the resignation of our
Primate and the crisis that ensued were deeply troubled and disturbed
our church and community life . However, the current situation in
our community is unfortunately an epiphenomenon of a more sustainable
global crisis that disrupts the life of our church for many years.

The opportunity for a first assessment of our diocese

After more than eighty years of waiting, the foundation of our
diocese allowed to expect fundamental changes in our church life. The
organization set up from 2005/2006 is perhaps not produce all the
expected results, including Msgr. Norvan, but it will at least have
the merit of creating favorable conditions for the development of
ecclesial life more in line with evangelical requirements and the
ecclesiology of our Church. Certainly, impatience and willingness to
act quickly to its leaders contrasted so blatant with the stagnation
characterized by lack of transparency and dynamism of the previous
Primate and his colleagues, but he was also an illusion to imagine
everything that had not been achieved, even distorted for decades,
could be repaired or made in a few months. Before going forward,
so we will have to take stock of the period just ended and still has
some beautiful creations.

Beginnings in this review, it appears evident that what has certainly
been lacking is the lack of human resources, competent dedicated to
this task.Real teams were required to organize and promote the actions
of the diocese in the three regions and parishes. Probably focus has
he not been sufficiently put on this dimension. More importantly,
at the same time, the lack of human and financial resources we had
was ruined, swallowed up by the sad case “Nice.” Instead of worrying
about catechesis for our faithful pastoral for our families and
education for our children, we had to spend our energy and scarce
material resources to be solved by the use of Justice which should
be treated by Charity. For many reasons, this catastrophic case
“Nice” with the priest “unmanageable” as our Primate wrote in his
resignation letter to Catholicos was exploited by some players in the
community life that had obviously of purpose other than to prevent the
creation of diocesan structures. It should therefore be an objective
analysis of the crisis to establish the responsibilities of each
other, and especially to restore full communion of this community
now divided with the diocese and the whole Church, Church of which
she is today ‘Today cut. Moreover, the defense of the priest by
Catholicos until convicted by Justice, even after his conviction,
remains incomprehensible as all other church were punished for much
less serious reasons. His Holiness asked Mgr. Norvan to defend the
priest “in the name of honor of his cassock.” The priest did not have
him, the desire to preserve the honor of his own cassock, his bishop,
his Patriarch and his entire Church. For the first time in nearly a
century of history of the Armenian community of France, one of our
priests was sentenced by a court.

All these events actually participate in a deep crisis, despite what
you may read some news from Armenia and the Diaspora, is not the result
of a conspiracy aimed at destabilizing the Church Armenian Apostolic
or undermine the unity of the Armenian people and the security of
Armenia.This version of the “conspiracy theory” as applied to the
Armenian Church is just ridiculous and reports to the children’s
story. Unfortunately we have no need of conspirators to undermine
our Church. The Primate of Yerevan by itself enough to hold the thing.

We recognize sinners

One of the basic principles of the ecclesiology of the traditional
churches, including ours, is that although made up of sinners – ie
people morally “ailing” – the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ
saint. But today, lucidity and realism we must admit that, although
holy, our Church is visibly sick, so that each of us feels healthy
and none of us will recognize sinner .

However, the faithful and religious today are not entirely responsible
for this situation is not new and is rooted in a history that we are
involuntarily heirs. Our difficulties in responding to this situation
are largely because we do not have knowledge of the history and
especially a clear idea of what the Church.

The situation is complex and serious but not desperate course. All of
us, wherever it is, in terms of its vocation and skills, can and will
contribute to reducing these tensions and restore peace and harmony
in our community.There is work for all, as long as you want it.

Out of the crisis

The eyes of the faithful of our diocese, but also those of many other
members of the Armenian Church in the world, will be watching this
meeting of our diocesan delegates will meet in Marseille on October
19. These give a strong signal to the whole Church by electing a
man who as Primate will be both a spiritual father, a pastor, and of
course an effective administrator, a man listening to the faithful who
will represent to the Catholicos and Supreme Spiritual Council. Our
prayers accompany them during the meeting.

But besides the election of the new Primate, the meeting will also
ensure to restore confidence in the ecclesiastical institution. It
does so:

1 – Ask and get members of the Supreme Spiritual Council of St.

Echmiadzin back on the final wording of their statement of 30 August
which is a real injustice to one of their elders and a valiant servant
of the Church and Supreme Catholicossate. No one is infallible and
repentance is pleasing to the Lord. It is in honor of a man, our
Primate of them, and that of our entire community of France. Do not
hear it would be a serious mistake.

2 – Provide the Disciplinary Board of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin
file father Vatché Hayrapetyan, already condemned by the justice of
our country, and who recently took on an American cable television
channel unfounded and slanderous remarks to the towards our Primate.

3 – use immediately dialogue with all the faithful of the community
Nice to hasten their return to our diocese and to restore harmony in
this community bruised.

We focus on the primary mission of the Church.

The recent convening of a general synod of bishops in St. Etchmiadzin
was an important event not so much by its agenda but its symbolic
dimension because for the first time in centuries, he met two
Catholicos and all bishops four hierarchical seat of the Armenian
Church. However, the very symbolic affirmation of this unit does not
satisfy us, and especially to meet the expectations and needs of the
faithful of our Church.

Beyond the question of the election of a new primate, the task ahead
is immense as to put an end to the general crisis of the Armenian
Church. The issue should be discussed at the level of the whole Church
and to be the convening of a level comparable to that of Vatican
II or whatever prepare Orthodox Churches Council ultimately proves
absolutely essential. But we will very methodically organize the thing
instead of just longer point and cosmetic measures as we do for too
long. The idea of such a council is neither new nor revolutionary
as the Catholicos Gevorg V wished the call in 1917, there will be
nearly a century. The situation in Armenia at the time of the Russian
Revolution and during the Soviet period, had not allowed her outfit.

Today, the conditions are met for the meeting but it presupposes
a preparation of several years and the establishment of various
commissions that will focus the discussion on the key issues of the
Magisterium of the Church, the Authority within it various types
of Vocations (pastoral, monastic, lay men and women), the place and
role of the Church in our social life and other areas to be defined

But above all, more than ever in its history, the Armenian Church today
must reaffirm its fundamental purpose, the same for the baptism of
the king and queen Drtad Achkhen: Evangelization. Thus, “Having made
all the worries of the world”, it can then focus on what his true
mission. To achieve this, he must first of all themselves from the
tutelage of policies. It must stop agreeing to be manipulated by the
powers that follow in Armenia and parties and clans in the Diaspora.

The example of His Holiness Vazgen first, of happy memory, we must
inspire the way, who was able to address fully assume his duties as
pastor of All Armenians and representation of the Church to a State
whose Unless we can say is that it was not favorable to religion. It
was after regained its independence and returned to his vocation,
after regaining the trust of the faithful, it will enlighten them in
the light of the Gospel and its tradition on such fundamental issues
as the relationships within the society, bioethics, social problems.

Without wishing to interfere in the internal affairs of the Republic
of Armenia, it seems to me also that today only the Church would
be able to establish in the Armenian society relations of love and
respect in a countries where the balance of power and domination
are the rule, provided the will and to provide the means. In this
field, the symposium on the relationship between the State and the
Church by an extraordinary coincidence will be held this weekend in
Etchmiadzin, may be as disappointing as the one that took place on
the same topic in March 2000. If this question concerns primarily the
citizens of the Republic of Armenia, it is not without significance
and consequences for us, Diaspora Armenians. One Armenian France he
has also been invited to this conference? We will follow with interest
anyway even if we do not do us a lot of illusions about its findings
and its impact on our spiritual life in both Armenia and Diaspora.

A council to enter fully into the third millennium

In June 2012, a symposium chaired by His Holiness Catholicos was
organized by the council of the cathedral St. Sahak and St. Mesrop
Marseille. The theme was given to me was “How the Armenian Church can
enter the third millennium and meet all its challenges? “. Without
any intention of provocation, I then began my presentation by saying
he would have to first start out by the 20th century that we have not
left together.For obvious reasons, it seems to me that this century
will truly end for us in 2015.

For now, the largest initiative of His Holiness Karekin II would
undoubtedly call this council which imposed so as urgent, in
consultation with the other three seats hierarchy of our Church. This
meeting could take several weeks to several sessions of several weeks
to allow the various committees to work effectively. This means above
all to find men and women with the skills needed to feed and lead the
discussions. We all know: “For all people, there is wealth that its
men and women.” Then we’ll find the necessary financial means. The
experience of the Catholic Church in France in the late 19th and early
20th century shows that good spiritual health is not conditioned by
the construction of thousands of churches, as has been the case.

Today, in a country where they sell and transforms many churches and
convents in homes, in shops, in hotels and even that is destroyed, the
same Church of France invites his followers to a “new evangelization
“by devoting all human and material resources available.

We, like other Christians in our country, we all hunger before “the
Word of God.” And it is mostly the “Bread of Life” that we need, not
of ideology or power struggles. To fully receive the Word (the Gospel)
and the bread (the Eucharist), begin by acknowledging that we are all
sinners. In a layman’s language, do our self-criticism, and put us
all to work. At the age of seventy-six years old at the time of his
election to the Patriarchal See of Cilicia, when the survivors of
the Genocide should rebuild the church along with their own lives,
His Holiness Karekin Hovsepian said first “Ô³Õ¸[email protected]Õ® Õ¯Õ¡Õµ, Õ¯Õ¡Õµ
Õ¸O~B Õ¯Õ¡Õµ “(Work, there, there will be again and again). In truth,
a mission, as excessive as his, but equally exciting, waiting for us
too. Workers should not miss.

May the Lord inspire and guide our delegates also next Saturday in
their mission.

Friday, October 18, 2013, Ara ©

You may also like