Catholicos Aram I Highlights Problems of Emigration, Lack of Confidence; Urges National Unity


Aram I at Sixth Armenia-Diaspora Conference: ‘Armenia Is Not Merely a Tourist Attraction, a Market for Business, or a Passport. Shame on Us If That Is the Only Way We Approach Armenia.’

YEREVAN (A.W.)—His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, stressed the importance of “confidence” as one of the three key phrases in the title of the Sixth Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference titled “Mutual Confidence, Unity, and Responsibility.”

His Holiness Aram I addressing the Sixth Armenia-Diaspora Conference (Photo: Photolure/Hayk Baghdasaryan)

“Indeed, any type of cooperation in which confidence is lacking becomes false and harmful,” Aram I said after his preliminary remarks. The Catholicos then highlighted ways that mistrust has negatively affected Armenian life over the past 27 years of Armenian independence.

The sixth installment of the pan-Armenian conference opened on Sept. 18 at Yerevan’s Karen Demirjyan Complex with the presence of delegates, guests, and dignitaries, including the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.

“We are at a critical crossroads of our history. Let us be realistic and honest. Armenia is emptying, and the Diaspora is wearing out. In the face of this dangerous reality, random initiatives cannot solve our troubles and heal our wounds. The signs of the time must be read correctly, the diagnosis must be made accurately, and the appropriate decisions and effective remedies must be applied properly,” the Catholicos stressed.

Aram I noted that it is imperative to bring the Armenia-Diaspora partnership out of the realm of “random financial investments and touristic visits,” and to transform it into one of the most important foundations of Armenian national policy.

“With the vision of a unified Armenia as the basis of our national ideology, a strong Armenia, resilient Artsakh, and an organized Diaspora must become the strategic and tactical guide to our national policy. The national policy put forth by this national ideology and vision will undoubtedly unite all of our people along its energy and potential, and become the driving force behind the formation and development of pan-Armenian thinking,” he said.

The Catholicos then underscored Armenians’ need to develop a close relationship with Armenia. “The homeland is a land and its people, before it is a state and an economy,” he stressed, noting Armenia’s critical situation: a landlocked country surrounded by hostile neighbors. Aram I went on to say that it is absolutely crucial and necessary to slow the pace of emigration and to implement measures to secure population growth in Armenia.

“It’s easy to merely talk about these issues. It’s also easy to criticize…. What is essential is to have the wisdom, will, and commitment to find solutions to our troubles. It is expected that now, under its reformed constitution, which will ensure more transparent and accountable structures and processes, Armenia will be able to find solutions to these and other issues through correctly taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the Armenia-Diaspora partnership,” he said.

The Catholicos noted that Armenia and the Diaspora are not merely partners but “the children of the same nation and homeland.” He went on to explain: “It is with this perspective that the Armenia-Diaspora cooperation should be planned and executed. Over the past 27 years, the bond that has developed between the two segments of our people, with its positive and negative aspects, must motivate our cooperation to improve and to grow. Stagnation means retreat, and retreat is unacceptable for our nation and our homeland, which are surrounded by trouble and challenges.”

“Armenia is not merely a tourist attraction, a market for business, or a passport. Shame on us if that is the only way we approach Armenia. Armenia is the home of all Armenians around the world who consider themselves to be Armenian—a home of the past, the present, and the future. We must have much to do and say regarding our home. We must strengthen and flourish Armenia with all our abilities. This must be a sacred covenant for each Armenian.”

The Catholicos noted the importance of Armenia’s political and humanitarian aid to the crisis-stricken Armenian community of Syria, and considered it a significant step. He went on to stress the importance of continuing and building upon the unity displayed at the worldwide commemorations of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, especially with the upcoming 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia, which, in his words, will “give new impetus to our national unity.”

His Holiness then proposed the establishment of a unified and single orthography with “mutual concessions,” and urged the Armenian state’s support of the protection of Western Armenian.

“Planning today means guaranteeing the future,” noted the Catholicos, underlining his approach that strengthening the foundation of our nation requires a consolidation of the people’s collective energy and the gaining of people’s trust. “Otherwise, we will continue to call out slogans within small, closed circles,” he said.

Urging the Armenian people not to trust the friendship of powers with their own geopolitical interests, “let us trust in our own strength and unity, our faith, and our determination,” he counseled.

The Catholicos concluded his remarks with a quote by famed Armenian poet Hovhannes Shiraz: “Armenians, enough of remaining separated, like fingers; become a fist… and you will make Armenia eternal.”

Below is a video of the Catholicos’ address in its entirety (Video: Cilicia TV):



  1. Listen carefully to his brilliant and wise speech where he hit all the points on its head.This criminal regime/coalition should take serious lessons of what was said by Aram I. Armenia is being emptied the Diaspora is being worn out.You need to seriously analyse the disease in order to prescribe the right medication.We all know what the disease is called this criminal regime under serjuk. They need to be replaced with fresh,clean,and wise people in order to gain the trust of the nation again or else it will continue with even more people quitting Armenia on a weekly basis.There is not an ounce of trust in this criminal coalition soon to be joined by another oligarchic party.

    For any conference to be successful and generate tangible results you need to have the fundamental conditions on the ground right in the country along with the right format, sadly this conference hasn’t got any of it. Its the serjuk and hranush managed show two dismally failed ‘politicians’.

    When the Armenian regime puts its own corrupt house in order through genuine democracy by having genuine elections and not through bribing and rigging,when the huge outflow of immigration on average 45000 per year people quitting Armenia is stopped, when the broken justice system in the country starts administering correct judgements and not judgements ordered from the top and their oligarchs,when cronyism is eliminated along with rampant corruption in all ministries,when murders in the army is stopped and not put down to the usual suicide in order to cover it,when the regime tries to bring back to the country over $10 billion of its stolen money from offshore accounts,when monopolies on industry by regime oligarchs is stopped only than Armenia will have a promising bright future. The Diaspora is now fully aware of all the misdeeds that this corrupt regime has carried out over the years and that is the reason why Armenia has been brought onto its knees by this corrupt and criminal regime. Diaspora will only invest by seeing that things are moving along the right track and not through spin until than nothing can ever be solved as this conference is just a PR exercise by the regime to its coalition partner ARF and its Diaspora supporters nothing more. There can not be any meaningful or tangible mileage in this conference coupled with the fact that this new advisory committee has no teeth whatsoever.

    Finally, the 1400 or so delegates do not represent the Diaspora they only represent themselves as the vast majority of the Diaspora will look upon this farce with contempt as we had so many similar shows put by this corrupt regime, also there is no intellectual base whatsoever.The only good thing coming out of this conference is that it will boost the statistical figures of state tourism and will help the local economy through the purchase power of the delegates in Yerevan. Don’t ever be fooled and fall for their bait and be the tools in their corrupt and criminal hands as they have forfeited all the trust of the nation.

    Listen to the video.

  2. He is a false prophet/profit and his religion of money is a superstition. Last time I checked, the Armenian Diaspora could not vote in so-called Armenian elections.

  3. It appears that Catholicos Aram I’s speech has been getting more attention than the rest. As far as I am concerned there was nothing substantive in his speech. Don’t we all know that Armenians are immegrating from Armenia? Don’t we all know that the post-centennial Diaspora is facing grave challenges? Don’t we all know about corruption in Armenia? Have we not heard about the cast of oligarchs in Armenia, the infamous forty or so families in Armenia that control all the levels of economy there? Don’t we all know that Armenia for Armenians is more than say Hawaii or elsewhere we vacation at times? There is no need to repeat the same. There is no tneed in such an assembly of dignitaries and leaders to be reminded over again what Charents noted in his poem that the salvation of the Armenians is in their unity. We have been quoting it for decades now and schoolchildren have been and continue to recite the same.

    what is expected or was expected from this conference is what the leadership of Armenia and Diaspora will be doing to counter immigration, occupation, disunity etc etc., etc. No tangible proposals, let alone actions, were heard thus far.

  4. Catholic Aram – thank you for your kind words as I truly believe in our own strength, unity, and faith. However, you will not find most of this in Armenia – as the country is plagued with corruption. Most of the population survive because of the money sent by their relatives in the USA. Rather than lecturing us on unity do something and speak up about the corruption unless you are part of that group too.

  5. At the end of his speech Catholicos Aram quoted poet Hovhannes Shiraz:”Armenians, enough of remaining separated, like fingers; become a fist and you will make Armenia eternal.” How about our separated Apostolic churches? Is he willing to make a start there by uniting our brethren in Christ? What is wrong with an idea of one people one church? It is easy to talk unity but one must set an example from his own house. I’ll probably get a lot of verbal fist shaking because of my words but so be it!!

  6. The Catholicos’ remarks are very inspirational and we do need the unity of the nation and the Diaspora. Somehow, economic growth has to be accelerated so that people can have the vital necessities of life and the energy to prevail.

  7. The problem is, these sort of commands for “national unity” often in reality just mean “do what I want, don’t dare question my authority or actions”. For example, while Catholicos Aram enjoys a good reputation, could this article be taken seriously if it were the words of Catholicos Karekin. Establishing a real national unity requires compromises – accommodations with, tolerance of, and inclusion of those who don’t hold exactly your own views. Without that, calls for “unity” actually only promote disunity, alienation, opposition, and a cynicism for all such calls.

  8. One, honestly I do not believe of their words.Two there is a big conspirency theory upon Armenian people and the elite civilians and the clergy are part of it directly or undirectly.
    I believe simple the Armenian. soldier

  9. As one writer mentioned, “Don’t we know that these problems exist?” What the Catholicos has provided is not the solution but a “wish list”. No one has come up with methods to achieve this. Since every group has stubbornly dug in and will not compromise, we will hear the same speech many times over until the end of our nation arrives.

  10. Is his holiness, under the guise of anti-materialism, staking out the moral high ground, perhaps in preparation for extorting (Haykaz Khaharyan’s word) more Diaspora money to build more churches / palaces? Were he and his entourage, as usual, driven to the meeting in Range Rovers and BMW SUVs? Meanwhile, the U.S. mission in Armenia is hard at work sending some of Armenia’s most ambitious and promising high school youth to U.S. schools allegedly to become future “leaders.” In reality, they are not only creating future migrants, but when these newly consumerism-indoctrinated “leaders” return, they come back to dreadfully few opportunities. Their only choice is to leave, which reinforces the cycle of migration. These young people are not the men and women who must go to Russia to drive taxis or work as laborers; these youth are the last promise of Armenia.

  11. The Oligharchy in Armenia has finish draining the poor people of Armenia ,now they are trying to use the ARF to drain the diaspora. Do not believe one word of what they are saying , its a trick to start stealing from the Armenians of the diaspora.

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