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Armenian Apostolic Church

Last modified: 2013-12-07 by rob raeside
Keywords: armenian apostolic church | catholicosate of cilicia |
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Armenian Apostolic Church

Outside the Armenian chapel at the Tomb of Mary in the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem, I saw a white flag with a dark blue border and a cross on the center. I couldn't get a good look at the cross but it appeared to be the so-called Cross of St. James, apparently a common emblem in the Armenian church, outlined in red and with the Armenian initials for "Saint James" (which, as I recall it, resemble a U and a 3) in blue on the center. I couldn't see the design well enough to sketch it, and it's probably too complicated for my drawing skills without a scan to work from, so the verbal description will have to do. I didn't see this flag at any of the other Armenian sites I went by, only the Armenian national flag.
Joe McMillan, 14 April 2000

I haven't seen this flag, but I can tell you that the "U" is the letter, "S" which stands for "soorp," the Armenian word for "Saint" or "Holy." The "3" is actually the capital letter, "H" which stands for "Hagop," the name for "James."
Taleen Nazarian, 30 September 2007

Catholicosate of Cilicia

[Image provisional - text incomplete]

[Christian and Missionary Alliance flag] image by Eugene Ipavec, 29 December 2009

The flag of the Catholicosate of Cilicia may be seen at and among others. The Catholicosate flag is blue, with its emblem in gold on a white disk. The emblem, a mitre over 4 crossed ecclesiastical staffs, above a dove in flight on a solar disk, can be seen at the Catholicosate's homepage,
Ned Smith, 21 September 2009

That is undoubtedly the flag of the Catholicosate, but I don't think it bears this emblem - a close look at the seal on the flag reveals what looks like an eagle or phoenix overall. Also, I think the English text on the edge of the seal on the flag may read only "ARMENIAN CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA" - it's obscured, but there doesn't seem to be room for "great house."
Eugene Ipavec, 25 September 2009

The upper half of the ring should probably contain an Armenian inscription.
Eugene Ipavec, 29 December 2009

The Catholicosate of Cilicia is titularly and historically based in Turkey, in practice headquartered in Lebanon since 1930, and exercises jurisdiction over dioceses in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Cyprus, Greece, the US and Canada. The claimed membership distribution of its larger components is:
Lebanon- 120,000
Syria- 140,000
US- 360,000
[Lebanon, Syria, & Iran figures from "Encyclopedia of the Orient"; US figures from "2009 World Almanac"]

Historically, its jurisdiction had been southern Anatolia (S. Turkey) and the northern Levant (Syria & Lebanon). The congregations that were in Turkey are gone following the post WWI massacres. The see administers dioceses in Cyprus by arrangement with the See of Echmiadzin (the preeminent Catholicosate of the Armenian Church). During the 1930s, because of concerns regarding Soviet influence over Echmiadzin (based in Armenia), many North American Armenian churches removed themselves from the jurisdiction of that see, and in the 1950s the Catholicos of Cilicia agreed to exercise jurisdiction over those dissident congregations (although numerous, they are less than a majority of North American Armenians). Likewise, from similar fears during the Cold War the Armenian Church in Iran (the largest Christian group in the nation) renounced its adherence to Echmiadzin and switched it to Cilicia.
Ned Smith, 29 December 2009