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No Separation of Church and State in Armenia? Opinion

Religion and state management “have completely gotten mixed up,” said former RA prime minister, economist Hrant Bagratyan, speaking to journalists in Yerevan today.

“In the government building, they’re opening chapels and praying. The prime minister appears with priests on the [TV] screen. Incomprehensible things,” he said. 

According to him, the government doesn’t do anything and “now it’s stuck to this church.” Bagratyan added, he’s not an atheist; however, he’s a fierce opponent of the Armenian Apostolic Church. 

“How can that be a church if it doesn’t belong to any Christian camp and hasn’t changed in 1,500 years? It has to change,” he said.

The economist called the church an “untouchable” organization, one that, “in my opinion, has not connection with Christ or faith.”

“Once have you seen the Armenian Apostolic Church’s balance [sheet] of income and expenses printed in the press? Let any church in the world try not to do this. Where does this money come from? Who decides the price of candles [which parishioners purchase and light at church]? This is called shadow economy,” he said. 

Bagratyan noted, it’s no coincidence that when Turkish sultans claimed their throne, they, first of all, gave the title of “Hero” to Armenian Catholicoi.

“We’re silent about this, we don’t like to talk about it,” he said, once again reiterating that he doesn’t understand what the government has to do with the church.