Armenia Government and Apostolic Church still have no Formal agreement

EREVAN, Sep 27, 01 ( - With the eyes of the world on Armenia because of the papal visit there this week, the Keston News Service has pointed out that the country's government has not yet fulfilled a commitment to sign a juridical agreement with the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Keston noted that the Armenian government signed a preliminary agreement in March of last year, promising the conclusion of a formal concordat within nine months. But more than 18 months later, there is no visible progress toward an agreement.

The document was to establish the juridical status of the Armenian Apostolic Church-- by far the largest religious body in the country-- and the parameters for church-state cooperation in the fields of education, social work, and chaplaincies in the country's prisons and military forces.

Spokesmen for the Armenian Apostolic Church told the Keston News Service that despite the delay in signing a formal pact, the government had essentially reached an agreement with Church officials. But other sources-- including the country's leading Catholic prelate-- suggested that disagreements remain on the question of education. The Armenian Apostolic Church reportedly seeks government approval for plans to deliver religious instruction in public schools; representatives of other faiths are resisting that initiative, arguing that it would be tantamount to the establishment of an official state religion. Armenian Catholic Archbishop Nerses Nersessian remarked: "Armenia is a member of the United Nations, so it cannot oblige people to be members of the Apostolic Church."

CWN Briefs
27. september 2001

av Webmaster publisert 01.10.2001, sist endret 01.10.2001 - 15:59