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Armenian Church Denies Blocking Inquiry Into Top Cleric’s Death


By Emil Danielyan

The Echmiadzin headquarters of the Armenian Apostolic Church denied on Friday reports that it is not cooperating with a criminal investigation into the death of the head of its Georgia diocese.

The Tbilisi-based Archbishop Gevorg Seraydarian, who had headed the diocese since 1973, died on Wednesday at the age of 64. A church statement indicated that the death resulted from natural causes.

But the Arminfo news agency, citing Georgian news sources, reported that Georgian law-enforcement agencies suspect that Seraydarian was murdered and launched an inquiry. The agency claimed that Echmiadzin refuses to allow an official autopsy.

But Catholicos Garegin II’s office categorically denied the claims. It said in a statement that the church has “no information” about criminal proceedings launched by Georgian prosecutors in connection with the archbishop’s death. The statement says the reports about Echmiadzin’s opposition to the autopsy are “completely fabricated.”
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