The Meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council Concluded

The Meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council Concluded 04.11.2023

From Octoober 31to November 3, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, the regular meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council (SSC) was convened in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. 

His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamyan, Pontifical Legate of Western Europe and His Eminence Archbishop Arshak Khachatryan Chancellor of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin were the chairman of the meeting sessions.

Reports were presented on the existing geopolitical situation and the security issues of the Republic of Armenia in that context; the protection of the rights of forcibly displaced Artsakh Armenians; the programs of ensuring their livelihood and humanitarian assistance, and the work being carried out in the direction of the preservation of Artsakh's spiritual and cultural heritage by Primate of the Diocese of Artsakh His Grace Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan; Dr. Gevork Danielyan, member of the SSC; former Minister of Republic of Artsakh Mr. Artak Beglaryan; His Grace Bishop Gevork Saroyan, Chairman of the Administrative Council of the Mother See's Social Service; and Rev. Fr. Archimandrite Garegin Hambardzumyan, Director of the Artsakh spiritual and cultural heritage office.

Referring to the complete depopulation of Artsakh as a result of the genocidal acts of Azerbaijan, the SSC emphasized the vital need to protect the just rights of forcibly displaced Artsakh Armenians. The ongoing implementation of spiritual care, humanitarian and psychological support programs for the people of Artsakh, the implementation of works aimed at improving living conditions and ensuring employment were highly emphasized.

The negative policy of Azerbaijan towards the spiritual and cultural heritage of Artsakh was touched upon with concern. It was considered necessary that the recorded encroachments on Armenian monuments, sanctuaries and cemeteries should be presented consistently on international, inter-church and inter-religious platforms, as well as on all other possible platforms, and work should be carried out in the direction of undisturbed preservation of Armenian heritage.

It was also decided at the meeting that Artsakh Diocese will continue to maintain its status and act according to church-canonical principles under the existing conditions.

Proto-Archimandrite Zakaria Baghumyan, Director of the Christian Education Center of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, presented a report regarding the content inclusion of programs of Armenian studies subjects in the field of general education and curricula of Sunday schools.

Archimandrite Zakaria conveyed information to the congregation on the programs of Armenian studies subjects published on the basis of new standards in 2023-24.

Special reference was made to the 7th grade Armenian history textbook, which contains both historical and ecclesiological errors and omissions. It was considered highly unacceptable that in the process of preparing textbooks, individual viewpoints and hypotheses contradicting the principles and positions consecrated by the Church, as well as universally recognized scientific ones, were included in their contents.

As a result of the discussions, instructions were given to carry out the necessary work with the relevant structures to exclude such content deviations and distortions from the programs of general education.

Regarding the curriculum of Sunday schools, the SSC decided to organize extended discussions of diocesan primates and relevant professionals, emphasizing the mission of spiritual upbringing and education of generations.

Reports were made by Ara Zohrabyan, a member of the Legal Advisory Committee of the Mother See; Mr. Suren Nazinyan, director of the National Addiction Treatment Center, and Rev. Fr. Ghevond Mayilian on decrease in marriages and birth rates, the increase in divorces, the spread of drug addiction, and the human hunting activities of religious organizations in Armenia.

It was noted that in the context of the country's future and national security, the prevailing situations and growing trends in the mentioned areas are very threatening. Taking into account the existing circumstances, the implementation of special works within the framework of pastoral care and spiritual preaching was emphasized in order to strengthen the family, national and moral value system.

During the four-day meeting, other issues related to the effectiveness of the Church's mission were also discussed.