Thursday, 19 October

Armenian Church Primate: Gumburdu Church is Georgian, Permit Needed for Stone Cross



The Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Georgia was the site of a recent meeting of representatives of the Armenian Apostolic and Georgian Orthodox Churches and Georgian government officials regarding the September 30 incident in Gumburdu.

The meeting resulted in a joint statement declaring that the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Georgia regards the Holy Resurrection Church as Georgian and that it has no claim over it.

Hetq contacted Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Georgia, about the statement and other related issues.

Your Holiness, did you sign the joint statement, saying that you do not dispute the fact that the Gumburdu church is Georgian?

Yes, I signed. But who disputes this fact that I should dispute it. It’s long ago been proved to be a Georgian church. No one can prove it’s Armenian.

Samvel Karapetyan, who researches Armenian architecture, wrote that fragments of stone crosses unearthed in the churchyard prove the existence of an Armenian cemetery in the Middle Ages. They date to at least the 15th century, indirectly verifying that the Holy Resurrection Church had already been consecrated as an Armenian Apostolic church and was operating as such.

Samvel Karapetyan never said it was an Apostolic church. Only a part was Apostolic. It occurred in 1830 when they built an adjacent wooden vestibule as the Holy Resurrection Church. The church was never fully Apostolic. It’s Georgian. What’s right is right.

But the church has long since served the local Armenian community.

The entire church hasn’t been used, just the western vestibule. In the 1830s, the people filed a request with the Georgian Synod to use it as a temporary Armenian church. Why did they file such a request with the synod if it wasn’t Georgian?

They filed requests with the Georgian Synod and with Etchmiadzin.

Yes, because the Etchmiadzin Synod dealt with all matters at the time. That’s why the Etchmiadzin Synod petitioned the Georgian Synod. If the church wasn’t Georgian property. Why would Armenians have petitioned the synod for permission to use it.

And what about the six other churches whose ownership is now under question. I’m referring to Saint Norashen in Tbilisi and Saint Nshan in Akhaltskha.

No, they were never Georgian, and the Georgians don’t claim otherwise. They say these churches are Armenian. They were built on the sites of ruined Georgian churches.

Do you know when the Georgian Orthodox Church took ownership of the Gumburdu church?

It was in the 2000s, or before. Maybe in the 1990s. They are now restoring the church to look as it did in the 10th-11th centuries. There’s no Armenian element. We must be straight with them so that they are sincere with us. Tomorrow, when we make demands, we want them to take a similar approach on matters that concern us. The Georgian government and patriarchate are very troubled over the matter and are doing all to resolve it amicably. The Georgians are favorably disposed to our community and to Armenia.

Has the Armenia Apostolic Diocese in Georgia ever undertaken the installation of a stone cross at the Gumburdu church?

Never. That was an initiative of area residents, not us.

Have residents asked you to consecrate the stone cross?

The people wrote to the government and church leaders of Georgia and Armenia about all that. We went and met with the people. We learnt that a permit was needed to erect the stone cross. The community must negotiate with the Georgian Orthodox Church. It’s not our problem. The Georgian government also needs to be involved in the negotiations for allowing the erection of the stone cross. I believe we’ll have something to report soon.

Is there any final decision regarding the installation of the stone cross?

No, not yet. Work is underway. It’s not important if it’s this cross or another one. We’re not focused on the cross. We’re resolving more principled matters for our people.


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Comments (5)
1. դավիթ21:18 - 9 October, 2017
Սրբազանը պետք է մեկ հարցի պատասխանի թե գյուղ,որտեղ դարմանի համար մի վրացի չի ապրել ինչու է կառուցվել այդ տաճարը։Հակառակի պես Գումբուրդոն հիշատակվում է,որպես հայկական գյող 6-րդ դարից մինչ այսօր։ՀԱԵ - ին գերազանց իմանալով,որ այս տաճարը հայ քաղկեդոնիկ է ինչ որ առևտրի մեջ է։Վեհափառը անհապաղ պետք է այս հոգևորականներին տեղափոխի այլ թեմեր ։Այդ ուղղափառ ընկերները սրանց աքիլլեսյան գարշաբարի հետ երևում է խաղացել են։Սրանց փոփոխելու համար դիմեցինք Վեհափառին ,բայց ավախ։Հատկապես Էթնոցիդի քաղաքականություն վարող Սահակաշվիլու ժամանակ սրանք շատ երջանիկ էին ;Իրենց տեղափոխելը իրավիճակի լավագույն հանգուցալուծումնէ։
2. դավիթ21:51 - 9 October, 2017
Հազար անգամ է ասում ենք,որ տաճարը հայոց քաղկեդոնիկ կաթողիկոսության վերացումից հետո անցել է վրաց ուղղափառ եկեղեցու իրավասության տակ և անգամ հայ քաղկեդոնիկ հոգևորականները ընդունում էին օտար հունական, վրացական անվանումներ։Բյուզանդիայի անկումից հետո շատ քաղկեդոնիկ հայեր հատկապես Ջավախքում հարեցին Հայ Առաքելական Եկեղեցուն ոմանք էլ մահմեդականացան և այլն։Հիմա Ջավախքում չկա գյուղ ,որ իր կողքին չունենա կիսաավեր կամ ավերված հայ քաղկեդոնիկ եկեղեցի;Ինչ է հիմա ՀԱԵ-ին դրանք հերթով հանձնելու են մանավանդ այս ամենի հետևում կա քողարկված վտանգ ։Մի օր էլ կասեն ,որ հայերս այստեղ անկոչ հյուր ենք։
3. Hagop22:47 - 9 October, 2017
Well regarding "no one can prove it's Armenian" - it also goes without saying that no one can prove that it's Georgian either if it is from the 11th century. The backstabbing Georgians are using this as an excuse to exercise power in a land which they know doesn't belong to them but that they acquired illegally by Soviet tricks. One thing we do know for sure though, most of "Georgian culture", especially the Architecture is a copy of Armenian. In that sense, maybe all Georgian churches and historic buildings should be turned over to Echmiadzin.
4. Holdit12:18 - 14 October, 2017
This is a typical everyday claim that Armenians make,saying that every Church etc, are Armenian is getting rediculous, or rather a laughing matter, after all Armenians always envied Georgians (not only) because of their cultural advencement and innovations. Armenians, despite centuries of collaboration and friendship still countinues to backstab Georgia and claim what is not theirs because why? Envy. Again, this is a laughing matter and no matter what Echmiadzin says, they completely lack arguments and come up with an absurd facts. And still many Armenians wonder why Georgians feel so cold towards them...
5. Hagop00:08 - 17 October, 2017
"Holdit" is your typical butt-hurt Georgian who reverses reality just like Azeris and Turks. So-called "Georgian architecture" is a carbon-copy of Armenian. So is the Georgian alphabet, and many cultural aspects of Georgia. Without Armenian contributions in history, so-called "Georgia" wouldn't even exist today, they would be another Muslim group along with the Chechens in the Caucasus. The Asomtavruli script was changed because these Georgians hated the fact that it was based on the Armenian script and looked too much alike, so they tried to be "original" by changing it. That being said, anyone could have placed Georgian scripts on a church, any time. What's important is that for at least many centuries it has been known as an Armenian church. We can't prove it's Armenian? You can't prove it's Georgian. Simple as that. And Javakhk is 100% Armenian historic land. Maybe even Tbilisi. Now get lost.
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