Sebouh Chouldjian

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His Eminence
Archbishop Sebouh Chouldjian
His Eminence Archbishop Sebouh Chouldjian
His Eminence Archbishop Sebouh Chouldjian, Primate of the Diocese of Gougark of the Armenian Apostolic Church. (Armenian: Գերաշնորհ Տեր Սեպուհ արքեպիսկոպոս Չուլջյան, առաջնորդ Գուգարաց թեմի)
Church Armenian Apostolic Church
Diocese Diocese of Gougark
See Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
Appointed June 3, 1996
In office 1996–present
Orders
Ordination June 7, 1987
by Archbishop Nerses Pozapalian
Consecration June 15, 1997
by Karekin I
Personal details
Birth name Haik Sarkis Chouldjian
Born (1959-03-24)March 24, 1959
Malatya, Turkey

Archbishop Sebouh Chouldjian (born Haik Sarkis Chouldjian; Armenian: Սեպուհ արքեպիսկոպոս Չուլջյան; Turkish: Başpiskopos Sebuh Çulcuyan; Russian: Архиепископ Сепух Чулджян; also Sebuh, Sepouh, Sepuh, Chuljian, Tchuljian, Chuljyan, Çulciyan) is the Primate of the Diocese of Gougark of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church.

Biography[edit]

Archbishop Sebouh was born on March 24, 1959 in Malatya, Turkey. He received his primary education at the Nersisian College of Istanbul. In 1969, his family repatriated to Armenia and settled in the city of Gyumri, where he continued and finished his primary education.

In 1978 he entered the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1985, by the Grand Sacristan of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Archbishop Hoosik Santourian. He successfully defended his final thesis entitled "The Translation Works of Lukas of Kharpert" in March 1986. Upon his graduation from the seminary he was appointed to serve in the Secretariat of the Pontifical Administration.

He was ordained as a celibate priest by Archbishop Nerses Pozapalian on June 7, 1987, the Feast of Pentecost, and given the priestly name Sebouh. Following his ordination, he continued his service in the Pontifical Administration.

By the appointment of Vazgen I, Catholicos of All Armenians, he served as the Vice Dean of the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in September 1987. In November 1989, he successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled “The Fast in the Armenian Apostolic Church,” and received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet).

In 1990, Vazgen I appointed Father Sebouh to serve as the spiritual pastor of the Armenians of Geneva, Switzerland. He returned to Armenia in 1991 to serve as the Vicar of the Diocese of Shirak.

After the Republic of Armenia gained independence, vast administrative tasks were placed on the Armenian Church. In the summer of 1993, Father Sebouh worked closely with Archbishop Hovnan Derderian (the then primate of the Diocese of Canada) and Ronald Alepian to organize the first mission of Canadian Youth Mission to Armenia (CYMA). In June 1995, Father Sebouh was appointed to serve as the Director of the Reserve Stewardship Inventory Committee of the Armenian Church. Also in that same year, he was appointed to serve as the Director of the committee responsible for tracking the return and receipt of all previously confiscated church buildings, land and construction projects (most of the churches, buildings, structures and properties belonging to the Church had been seized by the State during the time of the Soviet Regime).

In 1996, he served as the representative of the Armenian Church on the Humanitarian Aid Central Committee of the Republic of Armenia. On June 3, 1996, by the Pontifical Encyclical of the Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians, Father Sebouh he was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Diocese of Gougark.

Father Sebouh was consecrated as bishop by Catholicos Karekin I on June 15, 1997. He was a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Church during 2000–2007. On May 18, 2012 he received title of Archbishop.[1]

Archbishop Sebouh presently serves as the Primate of the Diocese of Gougark in Armenia.

Co-Patriarch Candidacy (2010)[edit]

Bishop Sebouh Chouldjian was one of the three candidates for the Co-Patriarch at the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople in 2010.

Mesrop II Mutafyan, the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in July 2008, and was incapable of running the Patriarchate since then.[2] This led the Armenian community to a painful condition of uncertainty.[3] In late 2009, the Patriarchate’s Religious Council wrote to the Turkish government seeking permission to elect a coadjutor (co-Patriarch).[4] Three bishops stated that they were going to run for the elections: Bishop Sebouh Chouldjian, Archbishop Karekin Bekchian – the Primate of the Armenian Church Diocese of Germany, and Archbishop Aram Ateshian – the chairman of the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Patriarchate of Istanbul.[5]

Among the main ideas proposed by Bishop Sebouh as a candidate was that the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople should become a spiritual and cultural bridge among Yerevan, Ankara and the Armenian Diaspora.[6][7] He paid particular attention to the importance of dialogue among Armenians and between Turkish and Armenian people.[8][9]

On February 10–17, 2010 Bishop Sebouh visited Istanbul, Turkey to have meetings with the Armenian community of Istanbul. During his meetings and interviews he urged to continue Hrant Dink's way (i.e. dialogue between Armenian and Turkish people) and keep Armenian Patriarchate free from politics.[10][11][12]

On June 29, 2010 the government of Turkey made a decision to reject the request of the Armenian community of Turkey to allow co-patriarch elections.[13] The Turkish Government said that they did not find the elections of either patriarch or co-patriarch reasonable and allowed carrying out only the elections of Patriarchal Locum Tenens.[5] Hours later Archbishop Shahan Svajian – the that time Locum Tenens, resigned and the Spiritual council of the Patriarchate elected Archbishop Aram Ateshian a new Patriarchal Locum Tenens.[4][5] However, according to some experts, the Armenian Community of Turkey was inclined to elect Bishop Sebouh Chouldjian (citizen of Armenia) as their spiritual leader[14] which was disallowed by the Turkish government after unsuccessful negotiations of Armenia-Turkey reconciliation.[5][15]

Later, in his letter to the Armenian Community of Turkey from July 15, 2010 Bishop Sebouh mentioned that interference of Turkey's Government was in contradiction with the adopted new policy on dealing with ethnic minorities. "We continue to hope that this is not the manner of actions of Erdoğan's government, but that of the stationary state sub-agencies, which hamper the democratic development of Turkey with their old mentality".[16] Bishop Sebouh said it was the moral obligation of Archbishop Aram Ateshian to send a new letter to the Turkey's Government with request to hold the elections of Co-Patriarch.[16]

Protests were raised within the Armenian community,[17][18] though it is hardly possible to hold new patriarch elections as long as the current patriarch Mesrop II is alive.[19][20] As of now, "We Want to Elect Our Own Patriarch Initiative" is active and holds silent protests in Armenian churches on Sundays.[21][22][23] Meanwhile Archbishop Sebouh occasionally visits Turkey and expresses his position and opinion on issues warring the community.[24]

Honors and awards[edit]

Archbishop Sebouh is member of the Armenian branch of the International Academy of Natural and Social Sciences (since 2000).

He holds Fridtjof Nansen Golden Medal (2005),[25] Republic of Armenia Prime Minister's Medal for vast contribution in development of state-church relations (2006),[26] Hayrenik Gold Medal (2010).[27]

On March 24, 2009, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Tigran Sargsyan warmly congratulated Archbishop Sebouh on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of birthday. In his message he emphasized Bishop Sebouh's input in organizing Christian education, revivification of church life and restoration of ethnic and spiritual identity of the Armenian nation.[28]

Gallery[edit]

See also

  • Photo gallery of the meeting of the members of the Organization of Istanbul Armenians with Bishop Sebouh at oia.net.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Համբարձման տոնը Մայր Աթոռում «Համայն հայության եւ Հայրենիքի սիրտն է Մայր Աթոռ Ս. Էջմիածինը», May 18, 2012; Google translation.
  2. ^ "Mutafyan Diagnosed with Early Alzheimer". Asbarez Armenian News. July 31, 2008. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  3. ^ ZİFLİOĞLU, VERCİHAN (December 3, 2010). "Patriarch Mesrop II, left alone between life and death". Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review. Retrieved January 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Sassounian, Harut (July 20, 2010). "Sassounian: Turkey Has No Right to Interfere in Patriarch Election". The Armenian Weekly. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d Melkonyan, Ruben (July 15, 2010). "ON CURRENT CONDITION OF THE ARMENIAN PATRIARCHATE IN ISTANBUL". Noravank Foundation. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 
  6. ^ "We Must Continue What Dink Started: Dialogue with Turkey, Says Bishop". Times.am. February 15, 2010. Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  7. ^ "BISHOP SEBOUH CHOULDJIAN: "ARMENIAN PATRIARCHATE CAN BE A UNIQUE BRIDGE IN ARMENIA-TURKEY RELATIONS. Armenian: ՍԵՊՈՒՀ ԵՊԻՍԿՈՊՈՍ ՉՈՒԼՋՅԱՆ. "ՀԱՅՈՑ ՊԱՏՐԻԱՐՔՈՒԹՅՈՒՆԸ ԿԱՐՈՂ Է ՅՈՒՐԱՀԱՏՈՒԿ ԿԱՄՈՒՐՋ ՀԱՆԴԻՍԱՆԱԼ ՀԱՅ-ԹՈՒՐՔԱԿԱՆ ՀԱՐԱԲԵՐՈՒԹՅՈՒՆՆԵՐՈՒՄ"". AZG Daily. December 17, 2009. Retrieved 2010-22-18. 
  8. ^ ÖNDEROĞLU, Erol (February 15, 2010). "Armenian Co-Patriarchate Candidate Çulciyan in Istanbul". Bianet: News in English. Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  9. ^ ZİFLİOĞLU, VERCİHAN (February 18, 2010). "Let’s cut out the middlemen, to-be patriarch says". Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  10. ^ POYRAZ DOĞAN, YONCA (February 13, 2010). "Turkey’s Armenians question election process of co-patriarch". Today's Zaman. Retrieved February 13, 2010. .
  11. ^ "Bishop Sebouh Chuljyan – Istanbul Patriarchate Must Be "Free of Politics"". Hetq Online. February 19, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2010. .
  12. ^ ERGENÇ, Erdinç (February 14, 2010). "Diyalog kapılarını sevgili Hrant açtı". Sabah. Retrieved April 12, 2011. , Google Translation
  13. ^ Gevorgyan, Alisa (July 6, 2010). "No new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople to be elected". Public Radio of Armenia. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Istanbul's Armenian community wishes to see Sebouh Chouldjian as co-patriarch". PanARMENIAN.Net. March 30, 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2010. 
  15. ^ Yildirim, Mine and Oehring, Otmar (August 11, 2010). "TURKEY: Why state interference in the election of Chief Rabbi, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Patriarchs?". FORUM 18 NEWS SERVICE, Oslo, Norway. Retrieved December 15, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Chouldjian, Bishop Sebouh (July 20, 2010). "Address of His Grace Bishop Sebouh Chouldjian to the Armenian Faithful of Turkey (Գերաշնորհ Տէր Սեպուհ Եպիսկոպոս Չուլճեանի Խօսքը Թուրքիոյ Հայ Հաւատացեալներուն)". Asbarez News. Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Armenian community of Istanbul requires new elections of Co-Patriarch". PanARMENIAN.Net. July 23, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  18. ^ ZİFLİOĞLU, VERCİHAN (December 1, 2010). "Turkish Armenians sue Turkey over belated patriarch election". Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review. Retrieved December 3, 2010. 
  19. ^ ZİFLİOĞLU, VERCİHAN (July 2, 2010). "Istanbul Governor’s Office appoints new head of Armenian community". Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 
  20. ^ Melkonyan, Ruben (2010), Review of History of the Armenian Community in Istanbul (1920 till present days), Yerevan: VMV-Print, ISBN 978-9939600451 , pp. 58–59
  21. ^ GÜL, SİNAN (December 2, 2010). "Armenian community of Turkey appeals to elect its patriarch". Sunday's Zaman. Retrieved June 5, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Turkish court rejects Armenians’ request to elect patriarch". News.am. February 10, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2011. 
  23. ^ YONCA, POYRAZ DOĞAN (June 3, 2011). "550th anniversary of Armenian Patriarchate celebrated, accompanied by silent protest". Today's Zaman. Retrieved June 5, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Ոչ ոք իրավունք չունի վնաս հասցնել պոլսահայերի իմիջին". Akunq.am, original publisher: Agos. August 16, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2012. , Google translate
  25. ^ "Head of Gugark Diocese Awarded Gold Medal After Fridtjof Nansen". ArmeniaDiaspora.com. Noyan Tapan. January 23, 2005. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  26. ^ Republic of Armenia Prime Minister's Decision No 406Ա from June 9, 2006 on awarding Republic of Armenia's Prime Minister's Medal
  27. ^ ""Hayrenik" – "Friends of Armenia" Celebrates 18th Anniversary". Western Diocese of the Armenian Church. April 2, 2010. Retrieved April 9, 2011. 
  28. ^ "The Address of Republic of Armenia Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan on the occasion of 50th birthday anniversary of Bishop Sebouh Chouldjian, Primate of the Diocese of Gougark (ՀՀ վարչապետ Տիգրան Սարգսյանի շնորհավորական ուղերձը Գուգարաց թեմի հոգեւոր առաջնորդ Տեր Սեպուհ եպիսկոպոս Չուլջյանի ծննդյան 50-ամյակի կապակցությամբ)" (Official News) (in Armenian). Government of the Republic of Armenia. March 23, 2009. Retrieved April 8, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Biography[edit]

News Articles[edit]

In English
In Turkish
In Russian

Articles and letters by Bishop Sebouh[edit]

Preachings[edit]

Preceded by
n/a
Primate of the Diocese of Gougark
1996–present
Incumbent