The Clerical Assembly elected Archbishop Karekin Bekciyan, Primate of the German Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church as Locum Tenens —a patriarchal alternate today, Istanbul-based Agos newspaper reported.
The voting is seen as the first step of patriarchal elections.
Thirty members of the Clerical Assembly participated in the elections. Elected by clerics, the Locum Tenens will be responsible for managing the process of electing the Armenicn Patriarch of Istanbul.
General Vicar of the Patriarch Aram Atesyan, Bishop Sahak Masalyan and Armenian Primate of Germany Archbishop Karekin Bekciyan were initially named as candidates. However, Masalyan, in a statement before the election, declared that would withdraw and support Bekciyan.
Aram Atesyan will now step down as General Vicar.
The Clerical Assembly is expected to form a commission comprising clergymen and secular figures to organize the transfer of power from the General Vicar to the Locum Tenens.
The elections of the initiative group will be organized within 10 days after the election of the Locum Tenens. The group will, in turn, organize the elections of the Patriarch of Istanbul within a six-month period.