No Alternative to Awe
By FATHER ZAVEN ARZOUMANIAN, PhD
We are recently reading too much about the wish of one respectful person, a well-known philanthropist of Armenia, Gagig Dzaroukian, who is trying to express his feelings of reverential respects to the Lord Jesus by sponsoring the elevation of the statue of the Lord Jesus Christ on top of a mountain in Armenia, as high and as tall as possible, not realizing the hazardous consequences on the one hand, and ignoring the Armenian Church’s theological stand in particular.
No one is entitled to create an alternative, as one man’s opinion, and play with the most holy Person of Christianity, creating a counter balance of tourism beyond imagination, business and a mountainside shopping areas. Bargain at this point is a total mistake and a sinful act. It is not business as usual for sure. If indeed the Mother Church of Armenia represents the first nation adopting Christianity in the world, the immediate question follows is quite challenging: are we the best of all because we are the first? God forbid.
Without doubting or questioning the faithfulness of Mr. Dzaroukian the great philanthropist, especially when acknowledging the building of a magnificent church recently near Yerevan, this venture also could have been appreciated if responsible measure were taken and authorized by Holy Etchmiadzin’s Supreme Spiritual Council, headed by the Catholicos of All Armenians. Yet, in fact the highest authority rejected the offer for traditional and religious status.
Where have we seen in or in or around any Armenian Church the statue of the Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ? Instead, the Armenian Church has been blessed by tens of thousands of Khachkars (Stone-crosses) representing the Lord Jesus which have already been desecrated mercilessly as of today.
To put up the statue of the Lord is one thing, and to worship the Lord is entirely something else. They cannot be alternatives. And to forget today’s situation in Armenia and Artsakh where Armenian edifices are being desecrated right and left, based on uneducated lies and hatred, how can one guarantee the safety of the elevated statue of Christ the Lord. Our enemies are all around us. They can at any point desecrated the statue, and then what, we feel deeply obligated and even sinful for not being able keeping it safe. Or by saying it is only a statue, so what.
The statue will become vulnerable to one strike to beak the hands, or another to paint the statue with so many disrespectful ways. How would it be possible to guard the statue all day long and especially at night? We realize the high cost of such a venture that can be at service of most vital needs of our people instead who are the victims of the recent war as Jesus was the victim of His legacy.