ASIA/TURKEY - Apostolic Armenian Bishops: candidates resident abroad are not excluded from the election of the new Patriarch

Monday, 23 September 2019 middle east   oriental churches   religious minorities  


Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - Exponents of the Commission of the Armenian Apostolic Patriarchate of Constantinople in charge of coordinating and accompanying the entire process for the election of the new Patriarch have expressed the hope that no restrictions will be placed on the list of potential candidates for the patriarchal office. The hope was expressed in particular by bishops who hold authoritative roles in the Patriarchate, including Archbishop Aram Ateşyan - for a long time "locum tenens" of the Patriarchate, during the years of the debilitating illness of previous Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan, who died last March - and Archbishop Sahak Masalyan, in charge of coordinating the entire electoral process, with the title of "Degabah" (trustee). Both Archbishops expressed their wish that the same directives used in the previous patriarchal elections are re-proposed, without placing limitations on the list of possible candidates.
The application of the decree that determines the procedures for the election of the new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, being prepared by the Turkish Ministry of the Interior, will be aimed at regulating the electoral process. The legal precedent used as a point of reference in recent decades is a procedure dating back to 1961. Since then, the bilingual Armenian-Turkish newspaper Agos reports - the decrees for carrying out the patriarchal election have never excluded potential candidates in the electoral process born in Turkey but living abroad.
At the beginning of August, as reported by Agenzia Fides (see Fides, 9/8/2019), a roadmap was set that will lead to the election of Mesrob's successor. The Commission delegated to prepare the election of the Patriarch of the Armenians of Turkey had decided to propose the days of 7, 8 and 11 December 2019 as dates in which the final phases of the patriarchal election will take place. According to the proposed calendar, on December 7 the religious delegates called to choose the name of the new Patriarch in the list of potential candidates will be elected. The elections of civil delegates will be held on 8 December. Finally, on 11 December, the elected delegates will gather to participate in the actual election of the future Patriarch.
Meanwhile, the Hrant Dink Foundation, which bears the name of the Turkish journalist of Armenian origin assassinated in 2007, has published the annual report on discriminatory messages that appeared on Turkish media in 2018. The report shows that once again the main targets of discriminatory expressions conveyed by the Turkish media last year were Jews, Armenians and Syrians. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 23/9/2019)