Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - The provision preventing potential candidates residing abroad from taking part in the election of the new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople continues to cause malaise and negative reactions within the local Armenian community. In recent days - reports the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos – a request for the annulment of the entire electoral process that has been under way for some time was presented by lawyer Saro Bengliyan to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and to the Prefecture of Istanbul. The request to cancel the electoral process is also important in light of the fact that lawyer Bengliyan is a member of the Administrative Council in charge of supervising, on behalf of the Armenian community, the regularity of the procedures followed for the election of the new Patriarch. The lawyer asked for the annulment of an electoral procedure that penalizes the Armenian community through "forced, unjust, illegal acts that meet unfounded criteria".
At the beginning of August, as reported by Agenzia Fides (see Fides, 9/8/2019), the roadmap that should have led to the election of the successor of Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan (who died in March) by mid-December 2019 had been established. The Commission delegated to prepare for the election of the Patriarch of the Armenians of Turkey had decided to propose to the Prefecture of Istanbul the days of 7, 8 and 11 December as the dates on which the final phases of the patriarchal election were to take place.
Last September (see Fides, 23/9/2019), representatives 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, had expressed the hope that no restrictions would be placed on the list of potential candidates for the patriarchal office. The hope was expressed in particular by the 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 - and Archbishop Sahak Masalyan, in charge of coordinating the entire electoral process, with the title of "Degabah" (trustee). (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 2/12/2019)