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Will the Armenian Community of Turkey Manage to Remove Ateshyan Forever?

On February 20, during the meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council, Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin will discuss the situation in Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople. This was announced by Ter Vahram Pastor Melikyan, the head of Information Department of Holy Etchmiadzin, reports.

It should be reminded, that on February 9, taking into consideration the Istanbul Governor's letter, in which it was stressed that the state continues to recognize Archbishop Aram Ateshyan as the Patriarch of Constantinople and considers illegitimate Archbishop Bechkian's election and its decisions, a religious convention took place. During this meeting a decision was made to return to the situation of 2010 when the government appointed Archbishop Aram Ateshyan as Deputy Patriarch, it means that he will continue to fulfill the duties of the Patriarch. It is also mentioned that, Archbishop Bekchyan, who was elected Patriarch locum tenens last year, did not attend this Religious Council meeting and he verbally informed about his resignation.

This situation brought a rather negative reaction in the Turkish-Armenian community. During a liturgy in the Armenian church of the Feric of Istanbul, dedicated to Barekendan, a woman named Besse Kabak boycotted the reassignment of Ateshyan to the post of viceroy of the patriarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Ateshyan told to remove the woma  immediately from the church. Then the police took her to the police station. There they said that the woman was a guest and asked her to write an explanation, after which she was released.

It is hard to say whether the Armenian community of Turkey will be able to remove Ateshyan forever. He enjoys great support from the Turkish authorities and personally from Erdogan. However, Etchmiadzin's position is also very important: The Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the Hierarchical Churches of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

In this context we should note that the Turkish authorities do not allow holding the election of the patriarch, referring to the fact that the Armenian patriarch is elected for life, and Mutafyan is alive, so new elections are impossible. However, according to the rules and traditions of the Armenian church, the absence of the patriarch within 7 years allows the dissolution of the Patriarchal covenant.

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