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Armenia: Religious flags

Last modified: 2013-11-12 by rob raeside
Keywords: catholicos | cross (yellow) | crozier (yellow) | mitre (yellow) | karekin | armenia | christian |
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Flag of Catholicos of Armenians Karekin II

[Flag of the Catholicos] 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 and among others. The Catholicosate flag is blue, with its emblem in gold on a white disk.
Ned Smith, 21 September 2009

Flag of former Catholicos of Armenians Karekin I

[Flag of the former Catholicos] 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 I have.
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