Bishop Sahak Maşalyan released a statement after the meeting at the governor's office concerning the patriarchal election.
On March 31, Archbishop
Ateşyan, Bishop Maşalyan and Priest Drtad Uzunyan came together
with the Deputy Governor Aziz Mercan, who signed the notice from the
Bishop Sahak Maşalyan
released a statement, sharing his observations of this meeting.
Maşalyan stated that he explained that the setback is caused by
Ateşyan. Maşalyan wrote, “We sensed that there is a determination
and authority guaranteeing that the election is close. They duly
granted the guarantee of the state.”
Here are the highlights of the statement:
“Deputy Governor Aziz Mercan hosted us in his office. During the friendly meeting, the deputy governor expressed the concerns of the state regarding the patriarchal election. They noted two points and our conversation revolved around those points.
1- The process of election was started despite the fact that our president promised that the election will be held as quickly as possible after the referendum.
2- State is always the
authority to be applied in patriarchal election. The patriarch was
superannuated and the seat is declared vacant, though the patriarch
is still alive. Then, değabah is elected without providing any
official explanation to the state. This was unacceptable for the
state and we warned your religious and civil authorities not to hold
an election on March 15, but this was ignored. We planned to send
this notice regardless of who is elected as the değabah.
I provided the necessary explanations for these concerns. I stated that these developments are the natural results of the internal dynamics of our church.
I said that the state is right in criticizing that an official explanation wasn't provided concerning the superannuation of the incumbent patriarch. I also said that a değabah should have been elected right after this development and the Electoral Committee should have applied to the state. Deputy Governor Aziz Mercan agreed that this was what should have been done. Then, I said that His Eminence Aram was the vicar at that time and he is the one who delayed this process.
I also stated that His Eminence Aram hasn't informed us about state's request for not electing a değabah on March 15. If he had informed us, we would have postponed the election and prevented this chaos. In this case, isn't is obvious who didn't act in accordance with the state's will?
Mercan asked whether we have another question. I responded that we have a değabah who is elected in accordance with the ecclesiastical law and this raises an authority problem. Mercan stated that the state cannot be involved in the internal debates of the church. He stated: 1) For the state, the process of election is not started. 2) Thus, His Eminence Aram is still the vicar. 3) Upon the promise, the problem of election will be dealt with after the referendum.
We expressed our gratefulness to the governor for this constructive meeting. He expressed that we are always welcome for discussing any problem we have.”