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– Armenian Patriarch Defrocks Barett Yeretsian Jordan and Palestine withdraw recognition of the Patriarch

رابط المقال: https://milhilard.org/vrj3
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جمهور من الشباب الارمن. وفي الصورة باريت استريان على اليمين والبطريرك على اليسار

جمهور من الشباب الارمن. وفي الصورة باريت استريان على اليمين والبطريرك على اليسار

رابط المقال: https://milhilard.org/vrj3

by Daoud Kuttab

photo of angry Armenian youth. Patriarch photo on left Yeretsian on the right

This is a developing story>

UPDATE: Jordan and Palestine have jointly withdrawn recognition of the Armenian Patriarch. See a story on it here

In a remarkable development, the Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian dismissed Saturday 5-6-2023 (see attached) his former deputy and the Church’s former real estate director.

Armenian Patriarch's dismissal letter to Yeretsian
Armenian Patriarch’s dismissal letter to Yeretsian

When the local Armenian parish in Jerusalem learned of the decision, they ensured that Baret Yeretsian does not leave the Armenian convent with any documents or any items of value. Videos filmed by Armenians at the convent show Israeli police escorting the former priest to safety from an angry Armenian youth.

According to eyewitnesses, the former priest was stopped when youth were alerted that he was trying to use the back door of the convent’s school to get away with cartons containing his personal belongings. They searched every item before allowing him to take it ensuring that no documents were taken.

The decision to dismiss the priest came because of growing community anger at the role that allegedly Baret played in selling or in making a long lease of Armenian church property to Jewish developers. Initially, the land referred to as ‘Goveroun Bardez’ (‘Cows‘ Garden‘) was leased to the Israeli Jerusalem municipality to become a parking lot. Later it was revealed that the land was sold or leased for 99 years to an Australian Jewish developer who wants to build a seven-start hotel on the land which is adjacent to the Jewish quarter with walking distance access to the Jewish western wall.

Yeretsian reply
Yeretsian reply

Once the Armenian community in Jerusalem and around the world learned about the sale (or long-term lease), which took place in secret in September 2021 a protest movement began that has been building up over the years. In the fall of 2021, the Armenian Archbishop Aris Shevernian announced that he had agreed to join a group of Armenian priests who publicly spoke out against what the Armenian patriarch and his real estate manager had done.

While the Covif

While the Covid-19 period passed without much development things started to change in 2023.  In January 2023, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, replaced the real estate official, Fr. Baret Yeritsian, and appointed Fr. Kourion Ghadasaryan.

Israeli soldiers help Yeretsian escape angry Armenian youth

It was clear that the Armenians were dissatisfied, as protest signs were displayed through the march of the Armenian scouts in the celebrations of the Holy Fire Saturday, which left the patriarch no choice to allow Father Baret to stay in the monastery, and therefore he was removed.

In an exclusive interview, Baret spoke from an unknown location, and expressed his dissatisfaction with what is happening, considering that everything he did was signed by the Patriarch, and therefore there is no error on him. Below are the words of Baret Yeretsian:

“I have been defrocked for something that the patriarch has signed and is now trying to blame me for. The day will come, and the truth will be revealed.” Yeretsian said that his opponents “wrote so many reports to the Jordanians about me all of them were lies. I can guarantee you that. If there is someone who is loyal to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, it is Father Baret Yeretsian. Shame for the evil work.”

A copy of the reply letter from Baret Yeretsian to the Patriarch was made revealed by a reliable source. It reflects badly on the role that the patriarch played in the sale/lease affair. In talking about the land deal, Yeretsian reiterated to the patriarch what happened: “The agreement was voluntarily signed by you. Besides, we told you to present the agreement to the Holy Synod in order to study it. Your answer to our suggestion was the following: “There is no need to bring it to the Holy Synod meeting, this issue dragged too long and I’m signing it”. Your refusal and your haste are the main reasons for the whole scandal.”

See the full details of the letter below.

Your Beatitude

Archbishop Nourhan Manougian

Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem and President of the Holy Synod

Your Beatitude,

It is with great astonishment that I received and read your letter dated May 6, 2023, in which I discovered the scandalous decision of the Holy Synod which defrocked me and accused me of acting against the dispositions of the constitution of the Holy See accusing me of infidelity and deceitful behavior vis a vis the Goveroun Bardez issue.

 It is amply clear to us that the matter of the Goveroun Bardez was discussed in the past two years. The draft which before being signed was translated into English so that you can go through it and the suggestions have been presented to you and discussed specifically by advocate Avneri.

The agreement was signed voluntarily by you and presented to the Holy Synod for study.

Besides, we told you to present the agreement to the Holy Synod in order to study it. Your answer to our suggestion was the following “

 “There is no need to bring it to the Holy Synod meeting, this issue dragged too long and I’m signing it”. Your refusal and your haste are the main reasons for the whole scandal.

I wonder if throughout this long process and passage of time, it did not occur to you my “fraudulent” behavior and that you stayed silent and now you sneakily and suddenly accuse me of the scandal.

It was only this morning when I was with you, and you expressed yourself by saying we are brothers and surprisingly (even when it was not the first time) you took out a bag of diamonds and asked me to find a buyer and to sell it to him for 35 thousand dollars promising that you will give me the $5,000 of the entire amount. I rejected your request. Despite all this cordial meeting, I received this evening the accusatory letter.

I have been serving faithfully the Holy See of St. James all these years without causing the slightest damage to this Holy institution.

And now unjustly and without proper investigation you defrock me to cover up your faults and weaknesses thus burdening me to cover up your weaknesses.

Instead of you I am becoming the scapegoat and the victim.

I reject and do not accept all the accusations leveled against me and therefore I demand clarifications from you and the Holy Synod for the fraudulent accusations made against me.

Here I end my letter waiting for your response.

Fr. Baret Yeretzian

Member of the St. James Brotherhood

For further background reading check the following stories:

·         Changes in Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate. Here

·         Armenian scouts protest the sale of church property. Here

تكافح مجلة “ملح الأرض” من أجل الاستمرار في نشر تقارير تعرض أحوال المسيحيين العرب في الأردن وفلسطين ومناطق الجليل، ونحرص على تقديم مواضيع تزوّد قراءنا بمعلومات مفيدة لهم ، بالاعتماد على مصادر موثوقة، كما تركّز معظم اهتمامها على البحث عن التحديات التي تواجه المكون المسيحي في بلادنا، لنبقى كما نحن دائماً صوت مسيحي وطني حر يحترم رجال الدين وكنائسنا ولكن يرفض احتكار الحقيقة ويبحث عنها تماشيًا مع قول السيد المسيح و تعرفون الحق والحق يحرركم
من مبادئنا حرية التعبير للعلمانيين بصورة تكميلية لرأي الإكليروس الذي نحترمه. كما نؤيد بدون خجل الدعوة الكتابية للمساواة في أمور هامة مثل الإرث للمسيحيين وأهمية التوعية وتقديم النصح للمقبلين على الزواج وندعم العمل الاجتماعي ونشطاء المجتمع المدني المسيحيين و نحاول أن نسلط الضوء على قصص النجاح غير ناسيين من هم بحاجة للمساعدة الإنسانية والصحية والنفسية وغيرها.
والسبيل الوحيد للخروج من هذا الوضع هو بالتواصل والنقاش الحر، حول هويّاتنا وحول التغييرات التي نريدها في مجتمعاتنا، من أجل أن نفهم بشكل أفضل القوى التي تؤثّر في مجتمعاتنا،.
تستمر ملح الأرض في تشكيل مساحة افتراضية تُطرح فيها الأفكار بحرّية لتشكل ملاذاً مؤقتاً لنا بينما تبقى المساحات الحقيقية في ساحاتنا وشوارعنا بعيدة المنال.
كل مساهماتكم تُدفع لكتّابنا، وهم شباب وشابات يتحدّون المخاطر ليرووا قصصنا.

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