A rally, the participants of which will demand the departure of Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, is planned in Etchmiadzin tomorrow. Protests against the Catholicos have began in Yerevan on June 6. Protesters demand his abdication. Several priests also joined the 'New Armenia, the New Patriarch' movement.
Today, Karekin II urged citizens of the republic to refrain from escalating the situation on June 30, when the church celebrates the Twelve Apostles feast day. He noted that in response to the decision of his opponents to hold a rally in the spiritual capital of the republic, believers from various regions and communities expressed their support for him.
According to the Catholicos, the current tense emotional background requires restraint from the parties, because "various provocative actions will endanger the good name of believers and the church," Sputnik Armenia reported.
Head of the Office of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Archbishop Arshak Khachatryan noted earlier that the church is beyond politics, therefore it is unacceptable to present to Karekin II any political demands.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan earlier said that the state should not interfere in the work of the church.
The writer, journalist, Vesti FM radio station host Armen Gasparyan, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that people who have organized the "velvet revolution" in Armenia have long associated Karekin II with Serzh Sargsyan, and therefore they want to replace him. "For 5 years supporters of the opposition have said that the Catholicos is in direct contact with the leadership of the country. During the April events, certain people even talked about the need for lustration of Catholicos and a number of other priests. It was expected that these conversations may cause this completely incomprehensible action, "he said.
The expert pointed out that Pashinyan's team should pay more attention to the situation around the rallies against the Catholicos of all Armenians. "I would like the new government to clearly state its position. In our general history, there have already been cases when they tried to demonize priests as a result of revolutionary events. It was never a good idea," the Vesti FM radio station host stressed.