Monday, 30 November 2009

Editorial: US Armenian Lobby's Might Mischievous Exaggeration‏

You may find other articles at that may interest you. Please take a moment to have your say in the available polls at:

Yete Aysor Kortsnenk Spyourki Ousoutschin‏


Yete Aysor Kortsnenk Spyourki Ousoutschin‏


* Previous message * Click here to close the full message view * Full view Turkey Targets Krekorian; Countdown to Erdogan Continues‏

November 24, 2009

Turkish and Azeri Lobby Target Krekorian in City Council Race


Read ANCA Executive Director
Aram Hamparian's review
of the latest
attacks and how you can take action.

Countdown to Erdogan: Week 3

Mon. Nov. 23

WATCH: ANCA's Aram Hamparian Gives a Rundown of the Media Focus

Tues. Nov. 24

WRITE: Send an ANCA Mail to your local media outlets

Wed. Nov. 25

PROTECT: 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence

Thurs. Nov. 26

SUPPORT: Donate to the Armenia Fund Telethon and Send a Family Thanksgiving photo to the ANCA

Fri. Nov. 27

NETWORK: Goodshop and Support the ANCA / Facebook Friday is Back!

Sat. Nov. 28

EDUCATE: Write a Letter to the Editor on the Obama-Erdogan meeting

Sun. Nov. 29

CONNECT: Blog, Comment and New Media for the Cause

The Front Lines of the Armenian Cause... LA County
A Message From ANCA Exec. Director Aram Hamparian

Today, the front lines of the Armenian Cause run right through the Los Angeles City Council race, where front-runner State Assemblyman Paul Krekorian is facing a tidal wave of hateful and defamatory attacks from the allies of Turkey and Azerbaijan, simply because of his Armenian heritage.

Whether you live in LA or California, New York, Oregon or Florida – the attacks on Paul, a remarkably talented and devoted public servant, are an assault on all of us – every single one of us who takes pride in our Armenian heritage.

Please take a moment to educate yourself about these attacks by reading the two articles listed below, and learn how you can personally make a real difference by visiting Paul’s website: Read more. . .

Countdown to Erdogan: Week 3 Focus on the Media

WASHINGTON, DC – Midway into the month-long Armenian American grassroots campaign to encourage President Obama to personally confront Turkey’s Prime Minister with the facts of the Armenian Genocide during their December 7th White House meeting, the Armenian National Committee of America’s (ANCA) “Countdown to Erdogan” has come under heavy fire from a Turkish lobby that appears increasingly nervous about the impact that Ankara’s growing rift with Washington will have on U.S. complicity in its genocide denial campaign.

Turkish Lobby Attacks “Countdown to Erdogan” as a Blitzkreig:

In a memo recently circulated to Members of Congress, the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) sharply attacked the “Countdown to Erdogan” campaign, using words such as “blitzkrieg,” “radical,” and “hatemongering” to describe the ANCA’s grassroots civic activism. The TCA, in particular, attacked the ANCA for opposing unfair and dangerous concessions forced upon Armenia in recently negotiated Turkey-Armenia Protocols. The TCA supports these Protocols, and claims to stand in solidarity with “moderate” Armenians who share the Turkish American community’s support for provisions establishing a “historical” commission and calling for the mutual recognition of the current Armenia-Turkey border. Read more. . .

Breaking News From Ohio: David Krikorian's challenger pulls out of OH District 2 US House race - Read the CQ Politics Coverage

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Search the web with and money from Yahoo advertisers will go to the ANCA without you spending a dime. A penny per search! Use for online purchases from hundreds of popular sites and a percentage comes back to the ANCA.

When you GoodSearch & GoodShop - Choose the ANCA !

Published by the Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 775-1918, Fax: (202) 775-5648, E-mail:, Web:

Disclaimer: This message was distributed to the "ANCA News" list. If you received this message in error or would like to be removed from the list, please send an email to or click below. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please forward this message only to friends and family, who you know would be interested in this issue. Please note that sending unsolicited e-mail is considered "spam" and is illegal.



on Friday 27 November 8:30pm in Latsia‏

The largest circulation Armenian
e-magazine on the Internet
Circulates every Wednesday
Established in 1999


Gibrahayer e-magazine's current issue was edited and dispatched from London. We look forward to meeting our subscribers on Saturday's cheese and wine gathering (details included further down)

GIBRAHAYER e-magazine
the event will take place on
Friday 27 November, 8:30pm

Friday 27 November at 8:30 pm (not at 8:00pm) - The Armenian National Committee of Cyprus invite the Armenian community and friends to a gathering where the President of The House of Representatives Marios Garoyian will be declared "Hay Tad Personality of 2009". The event which will take place at the Latsia Municipal Theatre is under the auspices of the Armenian Representative in the House of Representatives, Vartkes Mahdessian. Also honouring with their presence are ARF Dashnaktsoutiun Bureau member Megerdich Megerdichian, Lebanese Member of Parliament Hagop Pakradouni and former Lebanese Minister Alen Tabourian.

Editorial - The Slave Trade (Myth or Reality)

GIBRAHAYER e-magazineLondon November 25, 2009 - Abu Baker al-Ghannoum was absentmindedly playing with the contents of the sackful of brightly coloured glass beads, and contemplating on the commercial transaction of the afternoon. He had done good. Earlier in the day he had done a deal with some Arab people, who were looking to hire workers to work in a far away country. The glass beads were for his efforts in convincing his people to agree to sign the employment agreement. He was satisfied that he had managed to get rid of most of the weak and useless men and women of the tribe. Years of feuding with neighbouring tribes for cattle, produce and young girls had taken their toll from his able-bodied warriors. It was so hard to feed his tribe. The Arabs, in addition to his sack of beads, had given to each of the families of the departing workers gifts, which would buy them food for the coming months until it was time to harvest their meagre crops.
This scene or similar ones were happening all over the coastal areas of Western Africa. The immigrant workers were packed onto often rickety ships, barely seaworthy, to be taken to the new continent, America. Conditions on the ships were appalling. Their quarters were cramped, dirty and damp. The food they were given was rotten and could barely sustain them for the westward trip across the ocean. A great many of them died before reaching America and were unceremoniously thrown overboard. The sailors and the armed gunmen on the ship were cruel and ugly. The immigrant workers were terrified of them. Frequently, they beat the passengers and the women and young boys were occasionally raped. All this took their toll from the immigrants and by the time they crossed the ocean their relief for disembarking from the ship was such that they did not question much about their fates once they stepped onto dry land.
On shore, their prospective employers or their agents would herd them like cattle to the plantations and to the settlements. Once there, the Boss-man, usually the owner of the concerns inspected them quickly and with the help of overseers and foremen they were assigned living quarters. Fellow workers explained to them that they had to work without pay for food and lodgings, until the expenses of their crossover were reimbursed. Conditions there were nearly as dismal as on the ships, especially after the first couple of weeks or so. They were quickly divided into work gangs without regard to kinship. Dissent was not tolerated. New arrivals usually got a taste of discipline during the first few days, just so as to put the fear of god in their souls.
Thus, started the long years of servitude and the never-ending days, working dusk to dawn, in searing heat or freezing cold. There was no let-up. They were always under the supervision of the foremen and supervisors, who did not need much to whip them to a inch of their life.
More and more ships arrived, more and more workers arrived. Soon, despite the horrendous conditions and repression, free workers who had earned wavers from their obligations, or had been fortunate to earn their wavers, started agitating the others. In time, organizations sprung up, early versions of trade unions. These had the covert backing of the industrialised Northern States, who because of the nature of their industries could not profit as much from the cheap but ignorant and, for them, largely useless workforce. The struggle for supremacy between the industrialised North and agricultural South reached its zenith in the middle of the nineteenth century when the exasperated South decided to go its own way and declare independence. The result was war. A war, which lasted five long years and cost the lives of hundreds of thousands. The agricultural South could not resist the industrial might of the North and eventually capitulated. During the years following the war things did not change dramatically for the immigrant workers. Soon however, large sections of them had gained enough knowledge to be able to take employment in the North. It was not long before they found out that not much was different for them in the North.
This state of affairs continued for decades with some improvements in their quality of life. Very few of them could eventually step out of the ghettos and industrial estates and venture into the white man’s world.
Parallel to the war, the North had unleashed a relentless and ferocious campaign of misinformation and propaganda war. The immigrant workers were portrayed as slaves, their work as slave labour and the South as their owners. A few unfortunate and truly shocking incidents of rapes, murders, beatings and inhuman punishments were twisted out of all proportion. Soon all newspapers seeing the increase in the sale of their competitors jumped on the band wagon and started competing with each other in publishing more horrific stories than the other in a race to increase their sales. This well planned and executed strategy was not limited to the continent. The fight was carried over to Europe as well, where the battle of public opinion was eventually gained by the North and the Operation Slavery, as the whole exercise was known.
So the thousands of immigrant workers from the Western shores of Africa eventually became the pawns in the struggle for supremacy…… It's absurd, isn’t it? Only the degenerated few would in my opinion believe such a far-fetched and ridiculous story. Only fools would accept such a mutilation of historical facts.
A story, which disregards all the evidence in the writings of contemporaries to the start and progress of the slave trade.
A story, which disregards the evidence given by the survivors of the slave trade.
A story, which is so absurd and so defies logic that in itself is too extreme and too far-fetched to be believed in.
A story, which blatantly questions the undeniable truths about the slave trade and no one in his senses would believe it and question the factuality of the slave trade.
I totally agree with this assessment. It is all that, as are all the arguments put forward by Turkey and the few who blatantly deny the Armenian Genocide, who incomprehensively chose to disregard a host of eyewitness reports and the memoirs of the survivors of the Genocide, who for petty political or economic considerations have the audacity to question the Armenian Genocide, who for different reasons chose not to listen to the whitened bones and silent cries of those who perished in the deserts of Northern Syria and Mesopotamia.
This kind of absurdity we are asked to be part of by the powers to be and by the present rulers of Armenia and those who have allied themselves with them, for a fistful of Turkish Liras and US Dollars.

Saturday 28 November 3:15pm

The Chief Editor of Gibrahayer e-magazine
Simon Aynedjian and Louise Aynedjian
Assistant to the Editor Sevag Devletian
Columnists Professor Hovhannes Pilikian & Jean Ipdjian

invite our United Kingdom subscribers to
a cheese and wine reception
at The Americana Hotel in London
172 Gloucester Place, Regents Park, London, NW1 6DS - UK
GIBRAHAYER e-magazine



Tamar Kevonian, - 20/11/2009 - “What if an Armenian was Muslim or Bahai, or Hindu?” the question is asked one day during a conversation about ethnic identity and why it was tied into religious identity.
There are those, mostly scholars in Armenia, who vehemently deny the Armenian ethnic identity to anyone who is not of the Christian faith, particularly of the Orthodox persuasion. They claim that being Armenian automatically assumes and implies Christianity.
This logic would be acceptable except for the fact that Armenians, as an ethnic group, existed long before Christianity or their conversion to it in a bloody and violent manner. The switch to the religion that now identifies us was not a peaceful one and St. Gregory the Illuminator himself waged the war.
Armenia, two millennia ago, had a varied population. Strategically located at the crossroads of the region, many cultures passed through the area while some chose to make it their permanent home. As a result, the Armenia of that day was culturally diverse, religiously tolerant and very cosmopolitan.
Legend has it that upon King Drtad’s miraculous cure at the hands of St. Gregory the Illuminator, he immediately converted to the magical new religion and proclaimed Armenia to now be a Christian state. Everyone was to set aside their previous religious beliefs which they’d held for hundreds of years in favour of a new one and live happily ever after in the afterglow of their new found religion. But the story doesn’t end there. Or even begin there.
King Drtad was the infant son of Khosrov II when he was assassinated by Anak, an Armenian operating as an agent for the Persian Empire. St. Gregory was the son of Anak who, as an adult, returned to Armenia and worked for King Drtad without informing him of his true identity.
The legend taught to Armenian children today does not include this fact. Completely ignoring it, it skips directly to St. Gregory’s time spent in the dungeon for being a Christian. In reality, his incarceration came about because of the king’s discovery of the assistant’s true heritage. Which king wouldn’t imprison the son of his father’s assassin?
The story goes on to say that after Drtad is cured of his illness at the hands of Gregory, he becomes a believer of Christianity. As a young king, Drtad fought hard to liberate Armenia and create a quasi independent state. His country’s conversion to the upstart religion was the final break from his Roman and Persian neighbours at a time when religion affiliation was a key tool that set a nation apart.
The process of becoming peace-loving Christians was anything but peaceful or loving. The legend of Drtad omits the key part of the story by ignoring the ‘how’ of the conversion. Although begun peacefully, it soon turned violent when nobles, priests and their followers of the prevailing faiths resisted the efforts of the state. The forced conversion of hundreds of thousands of people had other purposes besides spreading the word of God. Under the guise of religion, Kind Drtad was able to purge his land of political opposition and enemy agents and confiscate the wealth of the existing temples. Everyone was either forced to convert or lose their heads. His right-hand man in this war was none other than St. Gregory, the founder of the Armenian Orthodox Church. His greatest supporter and passionate advocate of the effort was Ashkhen, Drtad’s wife who was not Armenian.
In one brief decade, Armenia went from a culturally diverse nation without an official national language to one that espoused uniformity and conformity where the use of Armenian became a requirement and strictly enforced. Survival is a basic human instinct and many did convert rather than lose their heads. Some of the descendants of those who chose to convert almost two millennia ago were, in the early part of the 20th century, forced to make yet another difficult choice: convert or die, but this time to Islam.
Why is identity tied to faith? What about Armenians that are Orthodox but don’t speak a word of the language or know any of the history? What of the Armenian of mixed heritage with the overwhelming love and enthusiasm for the Armenian culture who practices another religion? Do they qualify?
At a recent photo exhibit, Harry, a well known photographer, gave a contextual explanation of one of his photos that looked like nothing more than Muslim village women escaping a flood while holding their children to their breast. The real story is that they were Kurdish women, who after the death of their children and the hardships they endured, were allowed by Turkey to emigrate to Germany. “But the best part,” said Harry, “is that when going through customs and registering their names in their new home country, each one of them gave an Armenian name.” They reclaimed their original identity. “Now, they even have a nice little community with a church.”
Today, in the remote corners of what was once a part of greater Armenia and is now Turkey, there exists a substantial group of Armenians who have almost all converted to Islam. Although they maintain their Armenian identity and their distinctive Armenian dialect, they do not practice the espoused religion of Christianity. Do we consider them to be Armenian?
It is estimated that there are several million “hidden” Armenians in Turkey and the surrounding areas. A little-thought of side effect of the Armenian-Turkish protocols and the resulting improved relations between the two countries may be just the encouragement and motivation these Armenians need to stand up and reclaim their roots and fortify our numbers. Can we deny them their Armenian identity? Can we afford not to?


FAMAGUSTA GAZETTE 23.NOV.09 - President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has underlined that efforts to reunify Cyprus and its people will continue with persistence and good will.
In an address at a mass at the Armenian Church in Nicosia, read out by Deputy Minister to the President Titos Christofides, President Christofias stressed “we remain committed to our goals for the creation of a peaceful, united and prosperous homeland for all its citizens, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins”.
He reiterated that “efforts to reunify Cyprus and its people will continue with persistence and good will, asserting our rights based on principles. We pursue a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with a single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality as well as unified economic institutions”.
Referring to the Armenian people living in Cyprus, he said that “tight bonds of friendship and common struggles describe the historic paths of Greek Cypriots and Armenians in our country”.
“Cyprus and its people have always been present to the important historic times of the Armenian people”, he said.
The Cypriot President recalled that Cyprus was the first European state, which adopted a resolution recognising the Armenian Genocide.
The religious groups in Cyprus, he said, are an important part of Cyprus and enrich its multicultural society.
President Christofias reassured that the government does its utmost to contribute to maintaining he religious groups` identities.


Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra - Nicosia - The Armenian cathedral of Sourp Asdvadzadzin in Nicosia celebrated its name day on Sunday, 22 November. On this joyous occasion the Church invited a number of officials and heads of other denominations. Present at the celebrations was Undersecretary to the President, Dr. Titos Christophides - representing the President - the Speaker of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian, the Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian and his wife Maggie, the Ambassadors of Germany, Greece and Iran, the Mayoress of Nicosia - Eleni Mavrou - and representatives of DI.SY. and EVRO.KO. Representing the Archbishop of Cyprus was Chorepiscopus of Mesaoria, Gregorius. Also present were the Archbishop of the Maronites, Youssef Soueif, and the Anglican Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, Michael Lewis. The Badarak was celebrated by Apegha Torkom Donoyian.

GIBRAHAYER e-magazine

After the Badarak and the madaghorhnek were concluded, Deacon Dr. Antranik Ashdjian took the floor to welcome the honoured guests to the celebrating church, after which, Archbishop Varoujan spoke of the history of the Armenian Church in Cyprus, the cordial relations between Greek-Cypriots and Armenian-Cypriots, and wished for peace in our island. The Undersecretary to the President stressed the role of Cyprus in welcoming the refugees of the Armenian Genocide, and re-affirmed the government’s solidarity to the Armenian-Cypriot community. The Speaker of the House - Marios Garoyian - stressed the importance of the Armenian Church and our moral obligation for the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the justice both Armenians and Cypriots deserve, criticising Turkey for its denialist policy and aggression.
The final message came from Mesaoria Chorepiscopus after which a reception followed at the Armenian Prelature.

Watch Marios Garoyian's speech here

by Samvel Sahakyan, PhD Head of Research ARMENBROK Investment Company

Armenian equities market showed some activity in the last two weeks after a month break.
Corporate bonds market experienced liquidity decline in the first two weeks of November 2009.
The trading volume in local FX market increased two-fold in these two weeks of November 2009.
-Gross agriculture production in Armenia in September grew by 29.2% over 2009.
-The first tranche USD 60 mln of Asian Development Bank for road construction to be received by Armenia in 2010.
-Russian gas import tariff for Armenia to rise by 16.8% starting April 2010.
- Worley Parsons to present feasibility study of construction of new nuclear power unit to Armenian government in late Q1 2010.
- Gazprom to take part in construction of Iran-Armenia oil product pipeline.
- Armenia may receive credit to USD 70 mln from JICA in 2010.
- International Energy Corporation, Armenia-based subsidiary of RAO UES of Russia, to invest nearly USD 38 million in Armenia in 2010-2016.
- U.S. Government Provides Additional 15 Million Dollars to Armenia to Rehabilitate Main Canals.
- Shevket Shaydullin: It is of strategic importance for South Caucasus Railway to get the status of the national company.
- In Jan-Sept 2009 Armenia budget revenues totalled AMD 475.3 bln or 89.1% of the revised plan.
- Non-residents in Armenia to be liable for dividend taxes starting 2010.
GIBRAHAYER e-magazineNEW SERVICE - With Cyprus Tickets, you can purchase your ticket online. It’s simple - choose the event you wish. Click on the relevant theatre. Click on your chosen seats. You will then register – this is a one time procedure. Pay & print your ticket.


watch Hovig in week 4

GIBRAHAYER e-magazine

News in Brief by Sevag Devletian
  • Armenia represented by Luara Hayrapetyan with the song "Barcelona" came in 2nd at the 7th Junior Eurovision Song Contest held in Ukraine. With a lively performance from Luara and her dancers the song is about Barcelona football club and Luara and her dancers were dressed in the Barcelona football shirts with a Junior Eurovision logo on the dancers' shirts.
  • A painting by seascape master Ivan Aivazovsky sold for USD 1.35 million last Wednesday at Sotheby's spring sale of Russian Art in New York. "Aivazovsky's stunning portrayal of Columbus' departure from Palos, Spain, on August 2, 1492, is among the finest of such compositions to ever appear at auction," Sotheby's said in a press release.
  • Mustafa Dogan, a 13-year-old Turk, was expelled from a school in Nancy, France after insisting that there was no Armenian Genocide. Dogan's history teacher asked a question about the events of 1915 and the Armenian Genocide in a written exam. Having previously argued with the teacher over the matter, the Turkish schoolboy got angry and wrote, `Even if it did happen, they deserved it.'
  • Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has threatened to use military force to return control over Nagorno-Karabakh. Aliyev warned that if they do not reach results at the meeting Azerbaijan is ready to use its armed forces. He noted Baku wants a peaceful resolution of the conflict but it would not wait forever.
  • The Armenia-Turkey protocols were submitted by President Serzh Sargsyan's Office to Armenia's Constitutional Court. A full-court session must be convened within 20 days to determine a hearing date for the protocols. If within the 20-day time frame a consensus is not reached, the decision to convene a hearing is extended by 10 additional days. If a month passes from the time of submission and a decision is not reached, the protocols must be returned to the President's Office or the court must decide on further discussions.

...we simply couldn't...

staying connected to everything that really matters

International subscribers can make contributions to:
Marfin Popular Bank Public Company Ltd,
Strovolos Industrial Area sub-Branch
Stavrou Avenue 96-I, 2034 Nicosia - Cyprus,
A/C Name: Aynedjian Simon, Account No: 101 1100 3421
Swift Code: LIKI CY 2N,
IBAN: CY13 0030 0101 0000 0101 1100 3421

Letters to the Editor
Hello Dear Gibrahayer!
I’m reporter of “Noev-Kovcheg”- the Armenian newspaper of Russia ( Moscow city)
I have to say that I’m very impressed by your articles and of course be your site.
Our site is
Best Regards - Arman from Moscow

Ov E Hantsavor-ue...Enger Kersam-ue‏

This Thanksgiving: Watch, Act, Connect

November 26, 2009

This Thanksgiving: Watch, Act, Connect

Thanksgiving’s a really great opportunity for you to reach out to family and friends about the challenges facing the Armenian people.

This warm and wonderful holiday, which brings together loved ones from far and wide, serves, in many ways, as a powerful chance for our families to connect both to our roots and our common future.

The family gatherings taking place this Thursday, will, in literally hundreds of thousands of Armenian American homes, represent a vital bridge and meeting place between those more actively engaged in Armenian American civic life and those less aware of these issues or not as involved in the Armenian Cause.

With these thoughts in mind, the ANCA offers the following three suggestions:

1) Watch

Be sure to watch the Armenia Fund Telethon and support its efforts to strengthen the city of Shushi –

2) Act

Take a photo of your family holding up a small sign saying: “President Obama, Recognize the Armenian Genocide,” (or the message of your choice), and email it to

3) Connect

Take a moment to talk to your relatives about the latest news on Armenian issues and the efforts by Armenian American organizations to seek truth, justice, strength, and security for the Armenian nation. Explore the ANCA website for interesting discussion items. Read more. . .

GoodShop for the Armenian Cause

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!With Black Friday shopping deals coming up and Cyber-Monday just around the corner, we'll all be looking for the best deals for our holiday gift giving now and throughout December.

But did you know, that with every gift you purchase through - from hundreds of the most popular online stores – you can also give a gift to the ANCA Endowment Fund – at no additional cost to you?

Shop Target, Barnes and Noble,, Best Buy, eBay, Macy's or other major stores – get the same best deals, use the advertised coupons, pay the absolute lowest price possible – and give a gift to the Armenian Cause.

It's as easy as 1-2-3:

1- Visit

2- Choose the "ANCA Endowment Fund" as your charity of choice (it may be chosen for you already)

3- Click on the online store you want to purchase your holiday gifts and SHOP.

Funds will be automatically donated to the ANCA Endowment Fund. You will not have to fill out any forms or sign up for "special offers." The percentages of puchases donated is listed on the page.

And you can continue supporting the ANCA Endowment Fund throughout the year, through purchases at and even by doing your everyday online searches through

Read more. . .

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Search the web with and money from Yahoo advertisers will go to the ANCA without you spending a dime. A penny per search! Use for online purchases from hundreds of popular sites and a percentage comes back to the ANCA.

When you GoodSearch & GoodShop - Choose the ANCA !

Published by the Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 775-1918, Fax: (202) 775-5648, E-mail:, Web:

Disclaimer: This message was distributed to the "ANCA News" list. If you received this message in error or would like to be removed from the list, please send an email to or click below. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please forward this message only to friends and family, who you know would be interested in this issue. Please note that sending unsolicited e-mail is considered "spam" and is illegal.

FATHER FRANK’S RANTS - Rome & Canterbury

Rant Number 373 27 November 2009

The Church of England and the Church of Rome. Don’t be deceived. They are not just two different churches. Actually, they are as different from each other as the Carlton Club is different from the Club of Hercules. As philosophers put it, it would be a category mistake to confuse them. Mixing up things that don’t belong together – indeed, like confusing a club, an association of persons, with another kind of club, a big stick, geddit?

I once dined at the Carlton’s, in stylish St James Street, near the royal palace. An agreeable place. Good wines. Cigars. Tory fuddy daddies about – nice company. All very decent, chaps! But it never occurred to me to think the Carlton Club would make a jot of real difference to anything. Unlike Hercules, the demi-god. A hero of super-human strength and courage, armed with his fearful club. From the awful Hydra of Lerna to brave Hyppolita, Queen of the Amazons, all of Hercules’ foes knew what it was like to cross the strongest man on earth.

Anglicans who wish to quit the cosy club and to ‘pope it’, to join the formidable Catholic Church, can now do so with all comforts. Benedict XVI offers them ‘personal ordinariates’. Basically, they keep their customs and liturgies. And their married priests. Just accept papal primacy, plus Catholic doctrine as set out in the official Roman catechism, and you are on.

Benedict is a venerable old gentleman and he means well. Still, I wonder. Conversion to Catholicism for Protestants was always an awesome, traumatic step. It entailed real costs. A shaking of established usages and conventions. Forsaking the culturally familiar for the heady adventure, the strange land of the new faith. For would-be priests it meant that horrid – to Protestants – frightening thing: celibacy – making yourself into a eunuch ‘for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven’. But that was a measure of your commitment. And the new, the exotic, the aesthetic challenge is what draws converts, not the reassuringly familiar. (Think of converts to Islam. Do the strange prayers, the prostrations, the Arabic scare them off?) Really risky, man! Now it will be easier. Things will be much the same. Vicars can keep their wives. The same drawn-out Matins, the same old Evensong, the same bumbling Father John, the same parish that it? Not a Herculean outfit that subverts the world but...shades of the Carlton Club – without its elegance.

Right now, the scandal over the child abuse in the Irish Church is not giving Catholicism a good press. But remember that the same church which has allowed such horrors to happen is also the church of Mother Teresa, of Padre Pio, of innumerable saints and martyrs down the ages. The Inquisition, yes, but also the Church St Hildegarde of Bingen, of St Vincent de Paul, the Cure d’Ars and l’Abbe’ Pierre. Call it a paradox – it is!

The Archbishop of Canterbury, our Druid in Chief, is not pleased. The Anglicans who will opt for Rome are traditionalists. Opposed to women priests & bishops, permissive sexuality, that kind of stuff. Rowan won’t miss them. But he believes in ecumenism and he has to respond, somehow. So he has come up with a neat theological trick. By invoking a subtle distinction between first and second order questions. To simplify: the former are matters around which there is already agreement – don’t Anglicans and Catholics all believe in a Triune God, for example? The latter include questions like authority, ministry, sex and the like. Needless to say, Rowan considers the latter issues less important and so...what’s all the fuss about? Let’s agree that Christians after all are different and...vive la difference!

All right, Rowan, not quite fair but not too unfair, either. The thing is, where does the Bible come in, in your theology? For classical Anglicanism the Bible is prior to anything else – be it first or second order. The Church of England at the Reformation has rejected innovations which are ‘repugnant’ to Holy Scripture. As a female clergy clearly contradict I Timothy, chapter 2, vv. 8-15, how can you possibly justify it as an Anglican, eh?

Rowan no doubt will dismiss the poor priest as a benighted fundamentalist. I suspect he doesn’t feel quite comfortable with St Paul. I can only say I am happy to stand here also with another Paul, John Paul II, of blessed memory. In this context he spoke of things which ‘we have no authority to change’. He meant ‘not even the Pope’. An exemplary theology. What is of God, no man can alter.

Further, the Anglican club Rowan leads isn’t all that sanguine about that benchmark of belief, the Creed, either. A Christian Research survey reveals that 66% of clergy doubt the Resurrection of Christ, 56% question the Virgin Birth and 51% the uniqueness of Jesus – all things taught in the New Testament. Among female clergy confidence in the faith is even less than that of their male counterparts. Huh! I bet the Carlton Club has tighter membership rules.

In his scathing ‘Attack on Christendom’, Kierkergaard contended that to believe in God, to really love him with all your heart is to be in opposition to the world. True Christianity brings with it the striving, the conflict, the anguish that are connected with dying to the world, with following Christ on the way to the Cross. Counterfeit Christianity, on the other hand, makes things easy. He meant a bogus church which has falsified the definition of what it is to be a Christian. ‘There is family of clerical parasites that support themselves by palming off in the name of Christianity what is really after their own, cheap taste.’ The preachers of a twaddle which is conformity to the secular culture. The church of such people is a mediocrity, a lukewarm compromise - a fraudulent club to which salvation, eternity, the gates of Paradise are shut.

Some claim that, shortly before his early death, the Lutheran Kierkegaard intended to change club, to embrace Catholicism. To be a monk, maybe. The Catholic Church of his days was not quite like the post-Vatican II church, of course...

From where he is now, I imagine the great Dane looking down on our terminal state, muttering the words of the angel in the Book of Revelation to that tepid club, the Laodicean Church: “You are neither hot nor cold. Therefore I will spew you out of my mouth.’

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


Wednesday, 25 November 2009




By Professor Armen T. Marsoobian

Wednesday, 9 December 2009 at 7:30

Nevart Gulbenkian Hall, Iverna Gardens, W8 6TP

(Tube: High Street Kensington)

Admission: £5; £3 for friends of Armenian Institute

Drawing upon family memoirs, letters and missionary accounts, Professor Marsoobian chronicles the interconnections between the history of his family and the history of an educational institution important in the life of the historic Armenian province of Sivas: Anatolia College. The college, founded by American Protestant missionaries in Marsovan, came to play a central role in the cultural life of Armenians and Greeks of the region.

Illustrating his talk with dozens of photographs and drawings from the family collection of Tsolag and Aram Dildilian, Marsoobian traces his family's history from its early days in Sivas to its relocation in Marsovan, where his grandfather Tsolag became the official photographer for both the college and the governor of the province.

The growth and prosperity of the college and the Armenians of Marsovan came to a tragic end in the summer months of 1915 when the Armenian staff and students of the college, along with most of the Armenian population of the city, were sent on the death marches of the Armenian Genocide. Members of the family miraculously survived in Marsovan and witnessed the horrors of the events of 1915 to 1918. Anatolia College, closed in 1922 in Marsovan, would be reborn in Thessaloniki in Greece.

Wine and snacks to follow the lecture.

Photograph of Old Marsovan College Building courtesy of Armen T. Marsoobian.

Armen T. Marsoobian is Professor and Chairperson of Philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. He teaches a variety of undergraduate courses in Philosophy and in the University's Honors College. He has co-edited five books and is working on an illustrated history of his family and their photography business in Ottoman Turkey. He was a Michael S. Dukakis Fellow at the American College of Thessaloniki, a division of Anatolia College, in April 2009.

The Armenian Institute is a London-based registered charity dedicated to making Armenian culture and history a living experience, through innovative programmes, educational resources, workshops, exhibits and performances. Its work is supported by friends, patrons and voluntary donations. For more information about the Armenian Institute or to find out about supporting the important work of the Institute, please visit our website at, contact us at or call 020 7978 9104. If you would like your email address to be removed from the list, please send an email with "remove" in the subject heading to