Members of the Armenian Apostolic Church’s Supreme Spiritual Council pose for a photo after a meeting in Echmiadzin, June 8, 2023.

Armenian Church Again Warns Against ‘Humiliating’ Peace Deal


YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — The Armenian Apostolic Church has again denounced Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s policy on the conflict with Azerbaijan and said Armenia must again champion Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination.

The church expressed serious concern over the “difficult situation created in the country’s life” in a weekend statement on a regular session of its Supreme Spiritual Council (SSC) chaired by Catholicos Karekin II.

“It was emphasized [during the meeting] that the authorities of Armenia should renounce actions that violate the dignity of the nation and oppose the humiliating ambitions and demands of foreign enemies with realistic and exclusively pro-Armenian positions, resolutely defending the non-negotiable right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination,” it said.

“The SSC expressed its support to the people and authorities of Artsakh, noting also that the just right of the people of Artsakh to live freely and independently will find protection in all national frameworks,” added the statement.

The SSC held another, emergency meeting late last month. It joined Karabakh’s leadership and the Armenian opposition in condemning Pashinyan for his readiness to sign a peace deal recognizing Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. It said that the restoration of Azerbaijan rule would leave the Karabakh Armenians facing a “new genocide and loss of the homeland.”

The church also openly criticized the Armenian government’s Karabakh policy last fall. Garegin authorized an Armenian archbishop to address an opposition rally in Yerevan that warned Pashinyan against recognizing Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.

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Tensions between the ancient church and Pashinyan have deepened further since then. Last month, the prime minister accused the church of meddling in politics, prompting a scathing response from Garegin’s office.


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