Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan looks radiant as he shows the Japanese ambassador to Armenia, Jun Yamada, the new social educational center being built in a town in his parish of Tavush, a northwestern Armenian region which borders Azerbaijan. Optimism is a scarce commodity here. Gunfire is the norm.
The 47-year-old Armenian Apostolic Church bishop, a native of the Armenian town of Gyumri, lives in Ijevan, the region’s main town, and has been in charge of the diocese since 2015. Supporting the life of a community constantly under fire has become his main calling. It is a world away from his former parish in Montreal, Canada, where he led the Church’s local diocese for 10 years.