Posted 03 February 2005
AZAD-HYE (3 February 2005): Last Sunday was a day of hope for
Iraqis broke the barrier of fear, which for decades kept them away from politics. The news of successful Iraqi elections spread all around the world and mainly to the Arab societies. It is an irony that the only two free elections in the Arab World were conducted in places where occupation troops exist:
ARMENIAN REALITY IN IRAQ:
Although it is difficult to live in a country where basic security needs are not fulfilled and the number of minority groups is dwindling (only in recent ten years, half a million Christians have migrated from Iraq, reducing their overall figure to less than 700 thousand), still it is worth to learn something from the democratic process of Sunday's elections.
To see how far the Iraqi Armenians can be from democratic practices, we will narrate the story of Father Ararad, which took place last year.
“To Defrock or not to Defrock?”
To defrock a priest is to deprive him of the right to exercise the functions of the priestly office. Various religions have different procedures for doing this. But what is the procedure in our Church? On 12th January 2004 the following Press Release was issued by the ?Information Services of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin?:
“His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, issued a Pontifical Order whereby Rev. Fr. Ararat Hovsepian from the Armenian Diocese of
This Pontifical Order does not explain what exactly Rev. Fr. Ararat Hovsepian did to deserve being defrocked. “
Father Ararat (about 38 years old), a graduate of Babel Theological Faculty in Baghdad (seminar for Christian theological education in Iraq), aspired, after decades of stagnation, to introduce a new wave of thinking in the Armenian reality in Baghdad, Believing that the time has come for some change, he started to print a newsletter, where he expressed his views about how to improve the community life and how to introduce new measures of accountability, especially in the financial field. He also preached openness in discussing vital issues concerning the youth.
As it is expected, the traditional forces in the society plotted against him. One day he way invited, through a fake emergency call, to officiate the last prayers of a “dying” member of the Community. As he reached the residence of that person he found himself encircled by senior and prominent members of the society, who assaulted him causing physical injuries. As if this was not enough, they misinformed Etchmiadzin authorities and lobbied for issuing the said Pontifical Order.
Hayr Ararat (Norayr), did not want to leave the priesthood. He found the doors of the