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Pashinyan: Leader of “Tavush for the Homeland” Is Catholicos of All Armenians and Beneficiary Is Robert Kocharyan

Updated: May 9


Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan press conference

On May 7, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke out about the interplay between politics and religion in Armenia. He pinpointed the Catholicos of All Armenians, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, as leading a political movement known as "Tavush for the Homeland." Pashinyan added that this movement primarily benefits Robert Kocharyan, the second president of Armenia and leader of the "Armenia" alliance.


Pashinyan criticized the involvement of religious figures in political activities, questioning the appropriateness of the Catholicos leading a political movement. "The government should not interfere in the affairs of the church. The Armenian Apostolic Church has its own rules of activity, its own regulations. But in general it is obvious that today the Catholicos of All Armenians is leading a political movement in Armenia. It is very obvious. And why should the Catholicos lead a political movement?" he inquired during the press conference.


"Tavush for the Homeland" march

The Prime Minister elaborated that the movement's aim was to restore the previous authorities to power, citing that this strategy was formulated following the 2021 elections. He claimed that the scenario was presented by the leader of the "Armenia" bloc, which proposed a change of power through the church's influence. Pashinyan highlighted the significant role of the Catholicos in this plan: "What does it mean to bless? It means to lead, because a cleric cannot say a political text without the permission of the Catholicos of All Armenians. It is obvious that the leader of this process is the Catholicos of All Armenians, and the number one beneficiary is Robert Kocharyan, the head of the 'Armenia' alliance. This is a proven fact with public announcements," he stated.



The Prime Minister also acknowledged that not all clerics share his view, noting that some have opposed his position since 2018. Despite this, Pashinyan reiterated his stance that the government should remain non-interventionist regarding church matters but felt free to express his personal opinions.


In his concluding remarks, Pashinyan expressed his concerns about the current state of spiritual life in Armenia. "My problem is different. Spiritual life in Armenia should be active, develop, but it is not active, it is not developing, which worries me, but not a millimeter more," he remarked, indicating his personal disappointment but his acceptance of the situation.

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