ASIA/TURKEY - Armenian Catholicos Karekin II convenes a summit to face the internal problems of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople

Monday, 20 February 2017 oriental churches   local churches  


Erevan (Agenzia Fides) - Patriarch Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, convened at the Patriarchal See of Echmiadzin Catholicosate, in Yerevan, some of the protagonists of the dispute in place with regards to the next election of the Armenian Apostolic Patriarch of Constantinople, in an attempt to resolve the situation. The summit between the Catholicos Karekin and the senior members of the Apostolic Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople - refer Armenian sources - is scheduled for the current week.
The head of the Apostolic Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, based in Istanbul, has been uncertain since 2008, when Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Since then, Archbishop Aram Atesyan is running the day-to-day affairs of the Patriarchate after being appointed as Patriarchal Vicar of Constantinople.
In recent years the Armenian Apostolic community of Turkey is going through a debate, at times excruciating, on Mesrob’s possible succession, with senior members of the Armenian community in Turkey who supported the urgent need to elect a Co-Patriarch with full functions, and others who referred to the strict rules according to whom it was not possible to proceed with the election of a new Patriarch until his predecessor is alive.
The situation was unblocked last October, when the Synod of the Armenian Patriarchate had announced the withdrawal of Mesrob from patriarchal functions, and with the consent of the civil authorities the procedures for the election of a new Patriarch had been initiated. In recent weeks there was a new confrontation between Armenian Apostolic Bishop Sahak Mashalyan and General Vicar Aram Ateshyan. Between the two contenders - report Turkish media sources, consulted by Agenzia Fides - a protocol was then agreed whereby the election of the new patriarch was to be held on May 28th. But this local agreement seems to have provoked objections from the Catholicosate of Echmiadzin: according to Turkish media, Catholicos Karekin judged the protocol signed by Ateshyan and Mashalyan as a violation of the regulations in force for the patriarchal election, and this is why he convened the two Bishops and other representatives of the apostolic Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople in Yerevan, with the intent to overcome their differences and together reach a legitimate electoral procedure and recognized by all. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 20/02/2017)