By Edmond Y. Azadian
The Armenian Church has four hierarchical centers: the Catholicosate and Supreme Patriarchate at Holy Echmiadzin, the Cilician Catholicosate in Antelias and the two patriarchates in Jerusalem and in Istanbul.
Given the importance that the Armenian Church has played throughout our history, any wise person would consider the four hierarchical centers above personal or partisan politics, to allow the church to continue to play its historic role in these troubled times. Since Armenians have mostly lost the focus on what is — and what is not — important for their collective survival, they have allowed personal and partisan politics to jeopardize the role of our major religious centers.
The catholicos of Antelias has been challenging the supremacy of the Mother See at Echmiadzin, courtesy of one political group. The Catholicosate in Antelias seems to have entered into an intractable track, extending its tentacles in communities which are under the jurisdiction of the Mother See. Some spineless people have already resigned themselves to this intransigence as a fact of life.
At this stage, the unity between Holy Echmiadzin and Antelias is a far cry, and it may continue to be so, far into the foreseeable future.
On the other hand, the patriarchates of Jerusalem and Istanbul, which have also played historic roles in these respective volatile regions, have entered a crisis period. The decimated and fragmented diaspora is not in a position to help these two major institutions to continue their vital missions. The two patriarchs are incapacitated for different reasons and they are being subjected to partisan or personal politics.