and monasteries in Armenia.64 The campaign reached its height in 1936-38 -the Years of Terror. More than seventy clergy were arrested in the first months of 1937 alone; many were shot or sent into exile. The unexpected death of the catholicos in April 1938 has usually been imputed to the authorities, angered by his encyclical of the previous year which called for church renewal.65
The onset of World War II dictated another abrupt policy change in order to maximise the war effort. As each republic fielded its own divisions, the infusion of a modicum of patriotic spirit was tolerated to rouse the men to martial ardour. During this period the locum tenens was Gevorg Corekcyan, a representative of the generation who had studied in Leipzig. He skilfully exploited the opportunity to promote a partial reconciliation with the state. He mobilised the church as an instrument of state propaganda. Among other things he appealed to rich Armenians abroad to fund a tank column.66 His efforts led to the reopening of churches and the recall of priests from Siberia, and on 14 November 1943 to the creation of a council for the affairs of the Armenian Church. On 19 April 1945 Corekcyan was granted a rare audience with Stalin, which resulted in the appointment of ten new bishops, the election of a new catholicos, the publication of the periodical Ejmiacin, and the reopening of the printing press and seminary On 31 May (Corekcyan received a medal 'for the Defence of Caucasia', while in the following month he was elected catholicos and accepted as primus inter pares by his counterpart of Cilicia, Garegin Yovsep'eanc'.67 Corekcyan was also responsible for making the controversial appeal to the diverse Armenian communities ofthe diaspora to make their patriotic contribution by returning to the liberated homeland (21 November 1945). In response, around 100,000 Armenians from Europe, America and the Middle East relocated to the republic over the next four years, though many suffered great hardships there and some barely set foot on Armenian soil before they were condemned to exile.68 As part of his accommodation with the state Corekcyan cooperated in its Cold War policies. His encyclical of
64 There were 162 Armenian Catholic villages in different republics of the USSR.
65 Several sources suggest the catholicos was strangled, or poisoned. See Mesrob K. Kriko-rian, 'The Armenian church in the Soviet Union, 1917-1967', in Aspects of religion in the Soviet Union 1917-1967, ed. R. H. Marshall, Jr (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), 245. He was buried in the church of St Gayane, but subsequently buried at the west door of the cathedral at Ejmiacin at the behest of Catholicos Garegin I.
66 Kolarz, Religion in the Soviet Union, 160.
67 Matossian, Impact of Soviet policies, 194. At that time there were only fifty-nine parishes in Armenia, down from a figure of 491 in 1914.
68 For the contrary position of Armenian Catholic Cardinal Aiacanean, who had been born in Transcaucasia, see Kolarz, Religion in the Soviet Union, 166. On 27 November 1945 Corekcyan also appealed to the three great powers for the return of the Ottoman Armenian provinces.
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