A letter to Catholicos Karekin II from Armenians of Turkey

A group of Armenians from Turkey wrote a letter addressed to Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, before the meeting that will be held in Etchmiadzin on February 23 to discuss the patriarchal election.

In the letter, Armenians of Turkey demanded that Karekin II advises the resignation of General Vicar of the Patriarch Aram Ateşyan.

The text of the letter is below : 

“His Holiness Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II,

The seat of the patriarch of Armenians of Turkey has been vacant since 8 years.

The church and some leaders of our society postponed the election on the excuse of the state.

We informed you about this matter with a letter signed by over 5.000 people.

Unfortunately, we haven’t received any response from Mayr Ator.

In these 8 years, there has been many adverse situations. His Eminence Aram Ateşyan, who was assigned by the state against our traditions, has been using the authority that he doesn’t deserve. Unfortunately, His Eminence Aram Ateşyan, deprived of qualities of leadership, ignored what we lost in 1915 and gashed the souls of those who carry this pain in their hearts and express this truth whenever possible. Our sole consolation is the fact that April 24 commemoration ceremonies are still held in many cities of Turkey despite this submissive attitude.

The patriarchate became the very source of problems, though it is the seat that is supposed to solve the problems. Clerics couldn’t have stood up against the pressure and some of them became accomplices to sins. In the end, Armenian society’s ties with the church got weaker. People ran out of patience and came to protest in front of the patriarchate.

His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II,

After several crises, now we got the chance to elect our patriarch.

We know that some people will try to prevent the election, but we are determined to hold this election more than ever.

We should remember that the elected patriarch will not only be the head of the church, but also he will represent Armenians of Turkey before the state.

We are pleased to see that you step in, even though we expected you to do it earlier.

We, Armenians of Turkey, are determined to solve our problems on our own.

What we are asking from you is this: please advise His Eminence Aram Ateşyan to get rid of his personal ambitions and resign from vicarship, and to advise our clerics to chose an impartial değabah (trustee).

Let us remind once again, we will elect a cleric who will protect the members of the church, but equally importantly, he will also be a “leader” who will represent the entire Armenian society before the state and law both in and outside of the country.

His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II,

The fact that you are concerned with us and trying to solve our problems keeps us going.

This letter is written with the purpose of expressing the feelings of the majority of Armenians of Turkey.”

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