Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - The Armenian apostolic community headed by the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, based in Istanbul, is preparing to elect the new Patriarch, and in recent days has launched its organizational work that will lead to the election of the successor of Mesrob II Mutafyan (in the photo, who died last March). A new patriarch will be elected by spiritual and secular delegates, who themselves are yet to be elected. The election of these delegates will take place on December 7 and 8. The patriarchate seeks to hold the election of a patriarch on December 11, and it has applied to the Ministry of Interior of Turkey through the Government of Istanbul Province with a request to confirm the dates.
The commission of delegates in charge of preparing the election was selected on 17 July. It is composed of 15 lay people and 2 ecclesiastics proposed by Archbishop Sahak Masalyan, in charge of coordinating the entire electoral process, with the title of "Degabah" (trustee). The mandate of the delegation is to "ensure that the elections take place correctly, collect the lists of voters, manage relations with Turkish state institutions and deal with any problems and protests that may emerge during the electoral process.
As already reported by Agenzia Fides (see Fides, 30/7/2019), at least 12 bishops of the Armenian Apostolic Church are eligible to be elected as Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, which remained vacant after the death of Mesrob II Mutafyan, who died on March 8. The main condition set by the 1961 Turkish decree regulating the patriarchal election requires that legitimate candidates for elections are born in Turkey or whose father is at least registered as a Turkish citizen. The bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, printed in Istanbul, published the list of potential candidates for the patriarchal seat, among which the names of Archbishop Sahak Masalyan - currently in charge of coordinating the entire electoral process, as “Degabah” (Trustee), and Archbishop Aram Athesyan, already “locum tenens” of the Patriarchate in the long years of Patriarch Mesrob's illness. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 9/8/2019)