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Supreme Spiritual Council calls for elections of Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople

The Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Apostolic Church has issued a statement, voicing concern over the developments in the life of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Armenian community of Istanbul ever since Patriarch Mesrop Mutafyan fell ill.

The Council issued a calls for sobriety to Archbishop Karekin  Bekchian, Archbishop Aram Ateshian, Bishop Sahak Mashalian and other clergymen, urging them to put the interest of the Patriarchate above their own aspirations and interpersonal relationships and commit themselves to correct the wrong processes and restore peace, unity and solidarity in the wretched life of the Istanbul Armenian community.

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin urges members of the Religious Council and community members to respect the legitimate demands of the Armenian Church to organize patriarchal elections for the benefit of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and the “consolation of our devout people.”

The Spiritual Counsil said it expects the Turkish authorities to support the just demand of the Armenian community to organize elections of the Patriarch.

The election of Kaarekin Bekchian as Locum Tenens last year inspired hopes that the election of the Armenian Patriarch would move forward. “However, shortly afterwards the situation created by the irresponsible actions of the church officials and individuals allowed for external influences and interference by the Turkish authorities,” the Coincil said.

In a letter signed by Istanbul’s Deputy Governor Ismail Peltek, sent to the Armenian Patriarchate, the local authorities said there were conditions in place for holding new patriarchal elections, considering that Patriarch Mutafyan is alive.

The letter also said Aram Ateshyan should keep his position as General Vicar, and that all actions that led to the election of Karekin Bekchian as Locum Tenens were invalid.

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