April 24: The Elephant Not in the Room

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To the Editor:

Another April 24 commemoration at Times Square and once again, noticeably absent was Eastern Diocese Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian. To what end is his absence meant to serve?

One would think in light of the peril Watertown Armenians experienced related to the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent martial law and manhunt in East Watertown, a neighborhood that’s the historic home of both Diocese and Prelacy faithful, that Abp. Barsamian could set aside the antiquated administrative squabbles between the Diocese and Prelacy to participate in arguably our most sacred commemoration. Even Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian was able to step away from demanding duties immediately following that area’s biggest manhunt to commemorate the Genocide with fellow Armenians of all persuasions. One can only wonder about the archbishop’s excuse for again not being present.

In this second decade of the 21st century, thankfully, most Armenians now see through the hypocrisy of the church’s position on unity and the ineptitude of Abp. Barsamian and the Diocesan Council. Sadly, however, both are still in control, perpetuating and codifying division in our community. It’s not a huge leap to connect their blatant disregard for the Christian teachings of love, unity, brotherhood and forgiveness, with overall decline in church membership and participation.

The Armenian faithful in America are not fools, nor ignorant to the inability of church leadership to address outdated conflict. The Diocese is not the only culprit. Both sides cling to their power base, something only they feel will be diminished after church unity. They obviously have no faith in the power of love and forgiveness. One has to wonder if they possess any abilities to lead at all. On this issue, to be sure, they are leading us in the wrong direction.

Mark Mckertich

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