Aram I: A Social Transformation Has Begun in Armenia—The Holders of Power Should Not Betray the Youth

Catholicos Aram I (Photo: Arsineh Valladian)

What happened in Armenia was the first step of a social transformation. The people rose against the widening gap between haves and have-nots, growing corruption, and a dominance of injustice in all aspects and spheres of life throughout the country.

Struggle for social injustice has been at the heart of all major revolutions of history. When a people’s power is suppressed; when accountability and transparency become slogans; when state-run institutions do not respond to the needs and expectations of people; when the arrogance of power—in all its forms and expressions—establishes its firm control over the people, the people react and act.

The people of Armenia have reacted to this humiliation and dehumanization with non-violence. Now that social transformation in Armenia has begun, it is the time for action and for critical and realistic assessment. Action must now move from the streets to the political arena. The initial phase of the process requires courage, wisdom, and vision. This is a new hope and a unique opportunity, but only if the transformation process is genuinely owned by and responsive to the needs of the people.

The new government at this crucial point must be one of national unity. If it is to counter the corruption of the past, it should immediately and seriously address economic injustice; it must also monitor closely the developments regarding Karabagh (Artsakh) and the geopolitical landscape of the Caucasus, which remains an extremely fragile region; and it must maintain Armenia’s international relations and engagements, and give new quality and focus to Armenia-Diaspora collaboration. These major challenges must be faced with a profound sense of responsibility and firm commitment.

This peaceful social transformation confers on the holders of power the responsibility to remake the nation. They must not betray the Armenian youth, who were the driving force of this movement. The rule of law should remain above all. The impulse of this movement to serve the people should be based on ethical values. Future action must embrace all the people and must be implemented as a people-oriented process sustained by a solid strategy and a clear vision.

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Note: A version of this op-ed by Catholicos Aram I first appeared on the Catholicos of Cilicia’s official website under the title “Armenia: A Model of Social Transformation.”

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His Holiness Catholicos Aram I

Born in 1947, in Beirut, Lebanon, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia, studied at the Armenian Theological Seminary, Antelias, Lebanon and the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, Geneva, Switzerland. He received his M.Div. from the Near East School of Theology, his S.T.M. jointly from the American University of Beirut and Near East School of Theology, and his PhD from Fordham University in New York. He also holds several honorary degrees. His major areas of specialization are philosophy, systematic theology, and Near Eastern church history. Catholicos Aram I was ordained as a celibate priest in 1968 and obtained the title of Vartabed (Doctor of the Armenian Church) in 1970. In 1979, after serving for one year as Locum Tenens, he was elected Primate of the Armenian Orthodox Community in Lebanon; the next year he received episcopal ordination. In June 1995, His Holiness was elected Catholicos (the Head of the Church) by the Electoral Assembly of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia.

5 Comments

  1. Now, what to do with the other “Holiness”, the one living in his new palace on Abovyan Street, the one that has been conspicuous by his silence, the one who met with RPA party leaders the day before they voted down Pashinyan’s first attempt at becoming Prime Minister.

  2. If he had a shame at tenth of his sins, he’d been buried under the load of his shame. Let the Lord be his judge.

  3. I agree with what Steve says. Maybe the people of Armenia will now turn their eyes to Etchmiadzin and replace him with H.H. Aram I!

  4. Well done holly father. We need your blessing and advice to unite the whole nation for a prosperous, strong and fair Armenia.

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