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Armenia: Spiritual Leader Stokes a Church-State Controversy

Catholicos Garegin II meets with former Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2005. (Photo: Presidential Press Service, Russia)

An appeal by Catholicos Garegin II, Armenia’s religious leader, to President Serzh Sargsyan to hand over to Azerbaijan the body of an Azerbaijani soldier killed in a frontline shootout this summer has set off a church-state debate in Yerevan.

Garegin II met with President Sargsyan on September 27 to discuss the repatriation of 22-year-old Azerbaijani Warrant Officer Mubariz Ibrahimov’s body. Ibrahimov was killed on June 19 amid a controversial shootout along the frontline between Azerbaijani and Armenian and Karabakhi forces. Four Armenian soldiers also died in the firefight.

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Marianna Grigoryan is a Yerevan-based freelance reporter and the editor of MediaLab.am.

Armenia: Spiritual Leader Stokes a Church-State Controversy

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