Image: Armenian opposition leader and former president Levon Ter-Petrossian at Yerevan’s Liberty Square on March 1, 2008 after the police has chased the rest of the protesters. Via unzipped

The rumor that opposition leader and Armenia’s first president Levon Ter-Petrossian did not receive Armenia’s spiritual leader – Catholicos Garegin II – has been confirmed to be true. The Catholicos of All Armenians and head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, according to Armenia’s current president Robert Kocharian’s official website, advised with the administration before paying a visit to the former president in an apparent attempt for political reconciliation.

Kocharian told reporters:

His Holiness called me when the events had already taken a dangerous turn, he said that he was very concerned and wanted to meet with Levon Ter- Petrossian and asked my opinion. I said that we would welcome such step even thought we were somewhat skeptical that it could yield any results. But we welcomed the idea of such meeting even if it had a small chance of success.

As it turned out His Holiness went there but Levon Ter- Petrossian did not receive him. I was astonished; I cannot imagine that anywhere in the world anyone can close the door in front of the Catholicos.

The impression is that at the moment he believed that the events were unfolding in a manner, which made the authorities to panic. It is possible that he thought I had sent the Catholicos. But I hadn’t, it was his initiative, and this initiative of the Catholicos was perceived as a sign of panic on behalf of the authorities and in that case, certainly, he assumed that the meeting would not be to his benefit. It was not the case whatsoever since we were bringing in additional force, and the restoration of law and order was a matter of time. Not meeting with the Catholicos Levon Ter- Petrossian lost an opportunity of facesaving.

Although the current Catholicos is sometimes rumored to be involved in world mafia, he is generally much more respected among Armenia’s society than the current or the former presidents. At the time when the Armenian nation has not had a state, the Church has been the keeper of Armenian identity and survival.

It is interesting that the former president is eager to accept foreign journalists but not the Catholicos. According to photojouranlist Onnik Krikorian, Ter-Petrossian took an hour to show his certificates and books to foreign media in his mansion before he started to interview. Perhaps he could have spared an hour for the Catholicos?

Unfortunately, some anti-Ter-Petrossian activists may use the Catholicos rejection to further their conspiracy theories. As the former president’s wife is Jewish, some anti-Semites in Armenia accuse (in YouTube.com  comments) the Petrossian group of being sponsored by Jews. Needless to say, some anti-Kocharian protesters call the current administration ‘Turkish’ – with a racist reference to Kocharian’s roots in the Armenian breakawy region of Nagorno-Karabakh from Soviet Azerbaijan (a Turkic country).

In any case, Ter-Petrossian has demonstrated poor judgment in the recent weeks – further alienating some who thought that he might deserve a second chance.