by Julia Hakobyan On an Armenian television quiz show, participants were asked the name of an Armenian church of the 16th century that is also the name of a TV company. For most participants it was an easy question and they gave the right answer: Shoghakat.
by Julia Hakobyan The mission of today's Armenian Apostolic Church includes its continued battle to undo moral and spiritual damage inflicted by 70 years of soviet anti-religion. The young-adult generation of present-day Armenians represents those whose lives straddle one social regime that maintained power through repression, and another that has yet to fulfill the promises of freedom.
by Suren Musayelyan If faith has a scent, for millions of believers in the Armenian Apostolic Church, it is the smell of oily paraffin burning messages to God. All across Armenia, lighting candles is a unifying ritual. For believers in Armenia, most of those thousands of candles, which are melted daily for thousands of reasons, originates in a small factory on the grounds of the Mother See in Holy Etchmiadzin.
by Suren Musayelyan Khachatur Gyozalian is one of 31 students graduating from the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at Holy Etchmiadzin this year "to serve the Church and the people." This 23-year-old deacon, now a sixth-year student, says becoming a seminarian was a natural choice for him. He was born and raised in the city of Etchmiadzin and assisted in church services since the time he was a schoolboy.
by John Hughes On a night in 1953, Harutyun Harutyunian gathered six of his 10 children and said: "It's time." The festively dressed children quietly left the house with their mother. Harutyun had reasons for not joining them, and worried over sending them into the night from their village of Artis. Across five kilometers by donkey, Sanam Harutyunian and her children reached Geghard monastery where a priest of the Armenian Apostolic Church baptized the children. By 1953 the Communist repression on religion had slackened, and people were less fearful.
by Suren Musayelyan The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has seen a major development since independence, with its territory expanded, and building and renovation adding the noise of construction to the peal of bells and whispered prayers. Changes in the physical appearance of Armenia's most sacred ground have coincided with the revival of spiritual life as the Church recovers from the oppression of communism. Rev. Fr. Ktrij Devejian says the number of clergy has increased and the new Residential Building for the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin has been a blessing.
by Julia Hakobyan In 1985 Suren Ter-Grigorian, an assistant cameraman for Armenian State Television, had a Church wedding. Soon after, he was summoned to Raikom, the Communist Party Regional Committee, where Ter-Grigorian was strongly chastised and ridiculed for the religious ceremony. Rather than apologize, Ter-Grigorian replied that "the Armenian people survived due to the church." The committee issued an order for Ter-Grigorian to be fired. He was, though, a respected professional, and his chief interceded and got Ter-Grigorian's job back after a month.
by Richard Giragosian Editor's Note: As Armenia has entered another national election season (Parliament, May 12; President, next February), campaign rhetoric focuses on the republic's considerable economic development, underscored by five years of double-digit growth. How, though, is Armenia doing in other areas and how does development here compare with conditions in other post-Soviet states? AGBU asked analyst Richard Giragosian for an assessment...
by Richard Giragosian With an election for a new parliament set for May, Armenia is fast approaching another test of its commitment to democracy. The election has also triggered greater outside scrutiny of Armenian authorities' pledge to ensure that the contest is "free and fair."