Istanbul Church Crisis: Catholicos Karekin II Calls Patriarchal Candidates to Echmiadzin


ISTANBUL (Agos) — The process of Istanbul Armenian patriarchal election has accelerated after the resignation of Sahak Mashalyan, the head of the Clerical Assembly of the Patriarchate. On February 16, 13 people including Vicar General Archbishop Aram Atesyan, Sahak Masalyan, Dikran Gülmezgil, Erol Ergan, Melkon Karaköse, Hayk Aslanyan, Vasken Barin, Cezo Tas, Efrim Bag, Kevork Okçu and Hrant Moskofyan, signed a protocol. It was announced that the election would be held on May 28 and that Ateshyan would continue to serve as the vicar throughout this process.

The secret meeting that was held before the meeting of VADIP (Cooperation and Consultation Platform for Foundations), foundation chairs and executives and the imposed protocol resulted in severe criticisms.

Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II reacted to the protocol that was signed during the secret meeting, stating that the item concerning the vicarship of Atesyan is against procedure and therefore he summoned Ateshyan and Mashalyan to Echmiadzin for consultations on February 21.

According to the protocol, the Clerical Assembly was supposed to choose a deghabah (trustee) today and the election of new Patriarch will be held on May 28, 2017 and the process is explained as follows.

“Recent developments concerning the patriarchal election lead our society to conflicts with unpredictable outcomes. Wise people of our society, Their Eminences Archbishop Aram Ateshyan and Bishop Sahak Mashalyan came together and issued a protocol that will bring peace until the election.

A deghabah (trustee) will be chosen among the esteemed clerics on February 17.

On February 18, Clerical Assembly and society leaders invited by the deghabah will assign the Enterprising Committee, which consists of 15 people, 2 of them being clerics.

On February 20, deghabah and the Enterprising Committee will write the proper letter and present it to the governor’s office.

His Eminence Aram will continue to be the general vicar until the election, but he won’t deal with and intervene in the election process.

May 28 is the day of our election.

People reacted against the protocol and the secret meeting, stating that Ateshyan should resign. Some people started to fight. Undercover police officers came to the meeting hall and riot police was brought to the yard.

More information will be available next week about the results of the meeting.