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First Time In Armenia’s Modern History, Catholicos' Annual New Year's Address Absent from Public TV's Midnight Broadcast


First Time In Armenia’s Modern History, Catholicos' Annual New Year's Address Absent from Public TV's Midnight Broadcast

A long-standing tradition in Armenia faced disruption this New Year’s Eve as the anticipated annual message from His Holiness, the Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, did not air on the public TV station's midnight broadcast. The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin issued a statement addressing the unexpected exclusion, igniting a heated debate, between religious and governmental entities.



Traditionally, the esteemed address by the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church has been aired moments before the country's leader delivers their New Year's Eve speech, tracing back through the nation's history of independence. However, this year, the Public Television Company abruptly notified the Mother See that the Patriarch's message would not be aired before midnight, turning away from the established custom.


In response to this unprecedented change, the Mother See clarified its position, expressing disappointment and citing the lack of prior notice regarding the alteration. The statement categorically dismissed any other speculations and directed inquiries about the decision to the Public Television Company.


Nevertheless, controversy ensued as allegations surfaced from pro-government circles, suggesting an ultimatum purportedly issued by the Catholicos, an assertion refuted by reliable sources close to the matter. Notably, public figures like Roman Baghdasaryan and former Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia, Arman Tatoyan, condemned the exclusion of the Catholicos' message from the traditional broadcast.


Arman Tatoyan, in a strongly worded statement, criticized the decision, denouncing it as a politically motivated move orchestrated by the highest echelons of power. Tatoyan highlighted the historical significance of the Patriarch's message, expressing dismay over attempts to discredit the Mother See and the Armenian Church.


Accusations of intentional degradation and manipulation against the Mother See were vehemently denied, with Tatoyan emphasizing the pivotal role of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church in the nation's history and identity. He condemned the Public Television Company, accusing it of perpetuating a propagandist agenda aligned with the government's interests.


The controversy surrounding the exclusion of the Catholicos' message from the traditional New Year's Eve broadcast has sparked debates regarding the intersection of religious traditions, national identity, and political influence within Armenia. 

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