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Heavenly power and earthly justice: a religious movement in post-revolutionary Armenia.
In April 2018, the so called “Velvet revolution” in Armenia put an end to about two-decades of the post-soviet oligarchic regime. Under this regime a strong clericalization of the society was undertaken. Religion and clerics were introduced into many of spheres that had previously been secularized: army, school, culture, state rituals. The church was exempted of taxes and that played its important role in development of often illegal economic connections between the church and state officials. Immediately after the revolution, few churchmen started a movement, called “New Armenia – New patriarch”, and which main aim is to dismiss Garegin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians, the Supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The movement still goes on, still counting several hundreds of activists. They accuse the Catholicos in violation the Christian moral norms, frauds and trickeries, lack of belief and other virtues that he should have possessed as a Christian leader. The movement raises many questions about the specifics of religiosity of its members, their social origins and background, the nature of local conflicts between the church marginals and authorities, the rhetoric of the movement, its symbolism and discourses that it has engendered within the Armenian society. Another interesting issue is how the movement is embedded in current post-revolutionary political, social and cultural realities with their general tendencies of de-clericalization and official re-secularization of the country. This is also an attempt to add to understanding of global cultural and social connections between the social/revolutionary and the religious movements.