Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - A cultural Center named after Mesrob Mutafyan, Armenian Apostolic Patriarch of Constantinople, was inaugurated in an Armenian church in Istanbul. Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, along with the Chief Rabbi of Istanbul, Isak Haleva and Hayati Yazici, Turkey's Minister of Customs and Trade, took part in the inauguration on Wednesday, September 20. The Patriarch’s mother, Mari Mutafyan, was present at the event and was visibly moved.
The personal story of Patriarch Mesrob and the effects it indirectly provokes on the condition of the Armenian Church in Turkey were highlighted during the event. Mutafyan was elected Armenian apostolic Patriarch of Constantinople in 1998, at the age of only 42. He was young, very determined and soon became one of the most enterprising among the leaders of the Eastern Churches. But the Patriarch has been in a vegetative state since 2008, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Since then, the complicated rules of the Ottoman rule that govern the election of the Armenian Patriarch and the divisions within the Patriarchate have in fact prevented to appoint a successor. Even in recent months, as reported by Agenzia Fides (see Fides 15/9/2017), the process to elect a new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople is again at a stage of stalemate, due to episodes of silent boycotting on the part of Turkish institutions as well as persisting divisions registered within the Armenian community. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 26/9/2017)