Fr. Isahak Poghosyan, a priest in the Armenian Apostolic Church, is the Anglican Foundation’s 10th Saint Basil’s scholar. A recipient of the Order of the Holy See of Echmiadzin, he is now in Toronto studying at the University of Toronto. With the help of a translator, the Journal’s Diana Swift spoke to him about his work.
What appealed to you about studying in Canada on the Saint Basil Scholarship?
Despite the distance and differences between the Armenian and Anglican churches, we hear about one another frequently. There is a saying in Armenian that goes, “It is better to see once than hear about it 100 times.”
What area will your studies focus on?
I am interested in the daily life of the Anglican church and the study of New Testament and pastoral theology and methodology, which I am undertaking at the Toronto School of Theology. I am also looking forward to strengthening my English language skills.
What are the major current issues facing the Orthodox Church in Armenia?
Historically, the Armenian Orthodox Church has been through many challenges over the centuries. It is no accident that we emphatically refer to it as our “national church.” Our nation is still struggling with the genocide issue [the killing or starvation of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in 1915-16 by Turkey]. Sooner or later that has to be addressed and accepted by the government of Turkey because its continuing denial of the truth is tantamount to dishonouring the holy and the sacred.
What lies ahead?
For some, the history of Christianity has come to an end for others, it is only an ideology or a code of ethics. But I am positive that Christianity has today entered a new stage of development. The history of our faith is embarking on a new era, and nations and peoples will come to accept the spiritual truth of Christianity.
Armenia is a country with a rich and fruitful history of educating new clergy, who will lead people away from the impending “spiritual crisis” to knowing our Lord through his churches. To that end, all Christian churches need to have ongoing dialogue and communication-that has been our dream for a very long time.
Both inside and outside Armenia, and particularly in Canada, we have faithful Armenian communities with many members from the younger generation. We need to help these young people turn toward the light and faith, and assist them in continuing on their proud mission. Evil and wickedness are nothing but the absence of examples and role models of goodness and kindness.
We wish peace and success to all Christian churches in their missions, and take this opportunity to particularly extend our well wishes and gratitude to the Anglican Church of Canada for this opportunity to study here.