Media Release Immediate
Monday 24 September 2012
From the National Council of Churches in Australia.
NCCA Expresses sorrow over the death of Archbishop Aghan Baliozian OAM.
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.”