Turkey’s Armenians have two candidates for co-patriarch

January 07, 2010, Thursday/ 15:49:00/ YASEMİN BUDAK
As the Armenian Patriarchate in İstanbul tries to designate a “co-patriarch” in light of the illness of Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan or Mesrob II, two religious leaders have announced their candidacy.

One candidate is Bishop Sebouh Chuljyan, the primate of the Gougark diocese in Armenia. Another is the German Armenians’ leader, Bishop Karekin Bekjyan. Both are qualified since they were born in Turkey as required and have impressive religious qualifications. Among six candidates, the two replied positively to the Armenian patriarchate’s letter asking whether or not they would put themselves forward as candidates.

Bishop Karekin is expected to meet the Armenian Orthodox community in İstanbul soon as he will travel to Turkey following the Armenian Church’s New Year on Jan. 6.

The Turkish Armenian community recognizes Mesrob Mutafyan as their community’s spiritual leader until the end of his life.

An announcement on the patriarchate’s Web site in December stated that they had submitted an application to the relevant authorities toward the selection of a co-patriarch. The statement noted that until the emergence of health problems, Patriarch Mesrob II had served in his position for 11 years and that on Dec. 24, 2008, the patriarchate decided that he would be the community’s spiritual leader until his death.

The application was accepted by İstanbul Governor Muammer Güler and has been forwarded as required to the Ministry of the Interior, the patriarchate added.

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