Last modified: 2013-11-16 by rob raeside
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image by Stoyan Antonov
Here is the personal flag of the All-Armenian Patriarch
(Catholicos) Karekin II. The image is taken from a paper flag
prepared in honor of the visit of Karekin II in Bulgaria this year.
The Armenian priest who gave me the flag explained me that the banner
of the Head of the Armenian Church is a constant one and only
different letters appear on it to present the name of the serving
Patriarch. In this case the letters (after Armenian alphabet) are K
(for Kirakin) and P (for 2, the second).
Stoyan Antonov, 25 August 2002
In addition to the Patriarch, several other high-ranking prelates in the
Church bear the title of Catholicos (meaning "Universal Bishop"). The next in
precedence after the Patriarch is the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia,
or less formally the the Catholicos of Cilicia.
Historically, the office had its origins in the establishment of the Kingdom of Lesser Armenia or Armenia Minor, a state established in the Middle Ages by Armenian refugees along the Mediterranean coast of southern Anatolia, in the area known as Cilicia. Even after the fall of the kingdom the Catholicos retained religious jurisdiction over the Armenians living in the area. During the course of history it also acquired such jurisdiction over the Armenian congregations in Syria, Lebanon, and Persia.
During and after WWI the Armenians, including the Catholicos, were driven from Cilicia. The Catholicosate reestablished itself in Lebanon, where it remains today, based in Antelias, and exercises its religious jurisdiction over Armenian church members in Iran (c. 550,000), Syria (c. 140,000), and Lebanon (c. 120,000) . In the present day it also has jurisdiction over some of the Armenian congregations in Europe and North America. The largest such group is in the US, where it claims about 360,000 followers.
The flag of the Catholicosate of Cilicia may be seen at http://www.armenianorthodoxchurch.org/v04/doc/Photos/Photos228.htm and http://www.armenianorthodoxchurch.org/v04/doc/Photos/Photos386.htm among others. The Catholicosate flag is blue, with its emblem in gold on a white disk.
Ned Smith, 21 September 2009
image by Luc Baronian
The Catholicos is the head of the Armenian church and lives in
Etchmiadzine, Armenia. On the ribbon, you can see his initials in
Armenian, K.A: Karekin A (A for "the First"). It is pronounced G.A in
Eastern Armenian ("Garegine A"). The image is drawn from a paper flag
Luc Baronian, 4 February 1997
The emblem is similar on both flags, except a few details of
little significance but Karekin I's flag field was white
whereas Karekin II's flag field is purple.
Karekin I, who had been elected in 1995, passed away on 29 June 1999.
Ivan Sache, 25 August 2002