Afflicted Patriarch Mutafyan Suspends Work

ISTANBUL, Turkey (Marmara)— Recent surgery and subsequent health concerns have led to the de facto retirement of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople Mesrob Mutafyan.

Mutafyan, 52, underwent a thyroid operation several months ago. In the period immediately after the surgery, the patriarchate announced that Mutafyan required a lengthy period of recuperation, as he was suffering from extreme fatigue.

However, it became clear soon that it was not simply fatigue that afflicted the patriarch. Visitors suggested that he had difficulty in communicating with visitors.

As a result of the patriarch’s illness, many official activities of the patriarch have been suspended, as has the publication of the patriarchate’s bulletin, Lraper.

The patriarchate’s Grand Sacristan Archbishop Aram Ateshian and Locum Tenens Archbishop Shahan Svazlian are taking over Mutafyan’s functions on a dayto- day basis. Ateshian represented the patriarchate at the meeting of Pope Benedict XVI and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II in the Vatican last month.

The arrangement will remain in effect through the year 2008.

Various neurologists examining the patriarch suggested that he is suffering from a neurological disorder, yet did not specify the illness.

Mutafyan has been patriarch since 1998.