Armenian Clergy and Conflict Management in Lebanon, 1920-1994
This essay discusses the role played by Church institutions and leaders in the history of the Armenians of Lebanon after their settlement in the country. The development of Armenian institutions in Lebanon is marked since the period of the French Mandate by the pervasive role played by political parties based on mass mobilisation. Through alliances and expediency, these parties managed to carve out their own quotas in Lebanon’s peculiar power-sharing system. However, Armenians in Lebanon remained highly vulnerable to domestic volatility and regional tensions. Church deliberative organs became a site of conflict among opposed political agendas related to the definition of Armenian and Lebanese national identities, Lebanon’s foreign policy, and the relation between the Soviet Union and the Armenian diaspora in the Middle East. Despite these constraints, Armenian Churches remained a vital component in the preservation of Armenian culture and heritage.