Hratch Tchilingirian discusses church-state relation

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In Ann Arbor, Hratch Tchilingirian discusses church-state relation

Armenian Reporter [Paramus, NJ] 29 Nov 2008: A9.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Church hierarchy can no longer simply pontificate about complex problems of society without real engagement in the life of the people," declared Cambridge University scholar Hratch Tchilingirianin a recent lecture at the University of Michigan. "What is the relevance of a 1,700 year-old Church and religious faith to contemporary Armenians living in Armenia and outside, all around the world?"

In a lecture sponsored by the Armenian Studies Program at the University of Michigan on November 17, Dr.Tchilingirian discussed the Armenian Church's relations with the state, society, and the diaspora over the 16 years of Armenia's independence. Against the background of the Soviet and perestroika periods, he focused on the problems and complexities of transition from official atheism to freedom of religion in independent Armenia. 

Independence has brought many positive developments to the Armenian Church and increased the freedom of religion and faith in Armenia, Dr. Tchilingirian argued. However, the church, the state, and society face many challenges: from religious tolerance and pluralism to fairness and full guarantees of rights, to addressing social and moral issues in a still-evolving postSoviet country. 

State-sponsored atheism in Soviet Armenia, on the one hand, and secularization and globalization, on the other, have strongly affected religiosity in general and church practice in particular. Thus far, the church hierarchy has not seriously studied or addressed these far-reaching processes, Dr. Tchilingirian said. 

During his visit to the University of Michigan campus, Dr. Tchilingirian also participated in a special workshop on "Minorities in the Middle East," organized by the university's Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, with a paper on Armenian communities in the Middle East. That workshop was co-sponsored by the Armenian Studies Program and other units of the University. 

Dr. Tchilingirian is associate director of the Eurasia Program at Cambridge University's Judge Business School, where he teaches on multicultural issues in business leadership and management. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the London School of Economics. Dr. Tchilingirian has written and lectured extensively on sociological and geopolitical developments in the wider Eurasia region, especially the Caucasus, the Armenian Church, and the diaspora.

Copyright Armenian Reporter Nov 29, 2008

2012-06-12
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