AGBU Issues Statement Decrying Communication of Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem



NEW YORK — On December 5, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) issued a statement in response to the letter last week disseminated widely by Patriarch Nouhan Manougian addressed to the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin I.

The AGBU response appears in its entirety below:

The Armenian General Benevolent Union has always been watchful and supportive of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem as we believe it is one of our most important spiritual and national institutions in the world in terms of our heritage, and because of the prominent status the Armenian Apostolic Church maintains in the cradle of Christendom.

We also believe that it is of utmost importance to maintain strong relations between the Patriarchate and the Mother See based on mutual respect, Christian spirit and recognition of the supremacy of the Mother See of Echmiadzin as the head of our Armenian Apostolic Church.

The Saint James Brotherhood has been the custodian of the treasures of the Patriarchate and its legacy, historically serving as its true defenders in face of many challenges. The Patriarchate has also played an important historical role in the preservation of our identity and we believe that it should continue in its mission keeping pace with the changing times, with a vision for the future and a comprehensive plan for renovations of the facilities and improved management and public relations practices which make best use of the tremendous resources of the Patriarchate and potentially position it for an active leadership role in the Christian world.

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Through its history, consecutive presidents of the AGBU have always taken a keen interest in the promotion and wellbeing of the Patriarchate and tried to address its needs, upgrade its facilities and administrative practices, and rally benefactors to provide the necessary funding for various projects.

In keeping with this tradition, we have answered the request of the new Patriarch, His Beatitude Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, offering a number of initiatives and substantial steps to address sorely-needed renovations of the archival facilities, and improvements in administrative practices that will build a renewed trust and positive image for the brotherhood in the Armenian community at large, encourage leading and successful community figures to provide their support, resolve pending legal challenges to several of the real estate assets, and safeguard the Patriarchate against potential risks that threaten its historical rights and possessions in the Holy Land.

It pains us to witness from the Patriarchate in the name of the Patriarch the recent unprecedented manifestation of hateful attitudes, misplaced accusations, disrespectful and demeaning remarks addressed to our highest authority and the values that he embodies, for no justifiable reason.

The AGBU deplores these acts that make use of the social media targeting a misinformed and impressionable readership. Accountability and transparency are key characteristics and requirements of our church and community organizations. This is a time for our nation to come together to present itself to the world and take on the many serious challenges that face our people and our homeland.

The AGBU calls upon His Beatitude to heed to the appeals of His Holiness Karekin II and Catholicos Aram I to steer the patriarchate clear of this quagmire and in the right direction for the sake and benefit of the brotherhood, our church and our nation.

The Patriarchate will always remain in the heart of all Armenians.