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Archbishop Aghan Baliozian Dies At 66 In Australia
September 22, 2012 - 10:48 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Australian-Armenian journalist/foreign correspondent
Arthur Hagopian issued a statement on the death of Primate of the
Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand Archbishop
"The Armenian church in the Diaspora has lost one of its most eminent
leaders with the death of Archbishop Aghan Baliozian, Primate of the
Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand.
Baliozian had been in poor health over the past few years, and had
recently entered Sydney's leading Sydney hospital, the Royal North
Shore, for treatment. His loss is particularly acute, coming at a
time when the Diaspora church is facing crucial challenges on so
Ever since the incapacitation of the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem,
Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Baliozian has been touted as a possible
strong contender to succeed him on the Jerusalem See, considered the
second most important spiritual center for Armenians all over the
world, after the mother church at Etchmiadzin, Yerevan, capital of
Armenia," Hagopian writes.
"He was born in Syria's second largest city Aleppo, where Armenian
survivors had found a safe haven following the genocide. The Second
World War had just ended and the city was still wallowing in the
misery of deprivation and starvation, a joint calamity that is now
again being visited on its hapless inhabitants in the wake of the
orgy of fratricidal bloodletting in Syria.
Early in his youth, Baliozian had felt stirrings of a deep spiritual
yearning and this led him to Jerusalem where he enrolled as a student
of theology at the Armenian Patriarchate's seminary. At the age of 22,
he was ordained a celibate priest.
In 1982, he was elected Primate of Australia and New Zealand. A
brilliant orator who was never known to have used notes, he could
move crowds and congregations with his eloquent sermons.
Always approachable and contagiously gregarious, Baliozian had a
growing loyal following. But ill health remained a pernicious shadow,
and he succumbed to it at the relatively young age of 66.
During his tenure in Sydney where he was stationed, his astute
native savvy helped the church bolster its finances and extend its
Contemporary Jerusalemite Armenians remember his spirited leanings
towards sports, particularly soccer. They recall he could kick
a football right across the field, and straight into the opposing
team's goal, with the greatest of ease.
Among the duties he undertook in Jerusalem, was teaching and
administering the affairs of the Armenian Patriarchate seminary where
he was appointed dean in 1974.
A year later, he was picked by the Catholicos of All Armenians,
Vasken I, to become Vicar General of the Diocese of the Armenian
Church of Australia and New Zealand.
Baliozian was always active in ecumenical affairs, and earned the
distinction of being the first president of the National Ecclesiastic
Council of Australia. He also represented the Armenian Church within
the World Council of Churches. In 2001, he was elected Vice President
of the New South Wales Ecumenical Council, a post to which he was
elected three times.
In 1995 and again in 2003, the Australian government awarded him the
state order of Australia for his "devout service and contribution to
the country and society, especially to the Armenian community."
Inevitably, as with every other leader, he had to contend with his
share of controversies. But he had the courage and determination to
deal with them all as best he could.
Among the most prominent members of Baliozian's local congregation,
is the NSW minister for transport, Gladys Berekijlian," the statement
===Churches In Australia Expresses Sorrow Over The Death Of Archbishop Aghan Baliozian OAM===
Sept 25 2012
Renowned Christian leader, ecumenist and former president of
the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) His Eminence
Archbishop Aghan Baliozian OAM, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian
Church of Australia and New Zealand died on Saturday 22 September
2012 in Sydney.
Archbishop Baliozian was held in high esteem both in Australia and
around the world for his wisdom and commitment to Christian unity,
interreligious dialogue and peace building. He arrived in Australia in
1975 to serve as Vicar General of the diocese before being appointed
as Primate of Australia and New Zealand in 1982.
As an active and passionate ecumenist he served as the first president
of the NCCA (1994-97) and later as president of the NSW Ecumenical
Council (2005-07). Archbishop Baliozian represented the Armenian
Church within the World Council of Churches participating in the
Assemblies of Canberra (1991), Harare (1998) and Porto Alegre (2006).
NCCA general secretary Rev. Tara Curlewis expressed deep sorrow
over the Archbishop's death. She said; "Archbishop Baliozian will be
remembered for his outstanding commitment to ecumenism."
"His role in promoting Christian unity, the participation of the
orthodox churches both in the NCCA and WCC, and the importance of
interfaith dialogue is a continuing legacy for the churches. Alongside
his work with the churches he worked with the wider community where he
was held in high esteem by both local community and political leaders."
For his significant contribution and service to Australia and the
Armenian community he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia
in 1995 and in 2001 the Centenary Medal.
Ms Curlewis concluded saying; "As a fellowship of churches we have
all been touched by his leadership, passion for ecumenism, his
encouragement of the youth and his love for people. Let us keep the
Armenian Apostolic Church and its leadership in our prayers during
this time of loss, mourning and transition."
Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia & New Zealand
10 Macquarie Street
Chatswood NSW 2067
Contact: Laura Artinian
Tel: (02) 9419-8056
Fax: (02) 9413-1709
COMMUNIQUÉ: OUR BELOVED PRIMATE ENTERS HIS ETERNAL REST
It is with deep sorrow that we convey the difficult news that our dearly
beloved spiritual leader, His Eminence Archbishop Aghan Baliozian,
Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New
Zealand entered his eternal rest this morning, Saturday 22 September
2012 at 9.45 a.m. having suffered a heart attack.
At age 66 his Eminence succumbed to join our Lord after a long battle
The Clergy and diaconate, Diocesan Council, Church Councils of Sydney,
Melbourne and Sydney West together with all other Church Committees and
members of the parish are in deep mourning.
At this sorrowful time the Diocese will observe a period of mourning
until Sunday 28 October and Armenian community organisations are
requested to respect this period.
Expressions of condolence will be accepted in the Diocesan office from
Monday to Sunday evening between 7.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m.
Details of the funeral service and interment of our beloved late Primate
will be announced through the Church and on Armenian Radio in due
Issued on Behalf of the Diocesan Council
22 September 2012
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