“Ateşyan should clear the way for the election”

What does Armenian society think about the crisis in the patriarchal election?

The developments after the resignation of the Head of Clerical Assembly Bishop Sahak Maşalyan, and especially the secret protocol issued on February 16, caused reactions in Armenian society. We talked to people from Armenian society about the recent developments. Though Maşalyan's actions and behavior caused debates, majority of the people think that Ateşyan should resign and there shouldn't be any more tricks.

Mari Sıvacıoğlu (47, retired)

We should have an election already

I felt deeply sad by the resignation letter of His Eminence Sahak. He is an irreplaceable cleric. I think he is absolutely right; we should have an election already. Why do people try to prevent it? What is told about His Eminence Aram harmed his position. Armenian Church and our patriarchate haven't experienced such a thing before. I hope the darkness over our church is lifted as soon as possible and we find peace. However, I don't know if it is possible without the resignation of His Eminence Aram.

Ayda Danacıoğlu (54, Nurse)

He frustrated us, but he means well

I regard this matter in the light of the word of God. He [Sahak Maşalyan] praised the executives of whom he spoke ill before and this frustrated us. However, I know that he means well. He wants to serve his people, walk in the direction of the God and “live in peace with everybody if possible”, like it is said in Avedaran. Of course, this doesn't mean siding with sinners and being like the ones who don't stand up against them. We pray for him.

Meline Özacar Pulat (53, retired)

They should learn from this

I am so sorry... Unfortunately, we have no one to trust anymore. I respect and trust His Eminence Sahak. I believe in his spiritual emotion, knowledge and sincerity. I believe that he would be a great leader. I think that foundations and wannabe leaders should learn from this.

Rose Solome (62, preschool teacher)

Action must be taken

I condemn what happened. Our Armenian society should demand a more viable country in accordance with its violated rights. Armenians of Turkey can find salvation only if they don't keep silent and cower, they support the struggle for democratization, do whatever they can for being participants, act in solidarity with democratic institutions and demand their rights. We have not a minute to spare. Armenian society should come together with a spirit of mobilization, like it did in the case of Kamp Armen, and take action against foundation administrations that ignore their will and do something about the future of the patriarchate.

Tamar Nalcı (30, Deputy Adviser)

Men above certain age” is one of the problems

If writing a date down on a paper is the solution, what did we wait for in the last 8 years? Why is the date set now? Why did we wait for the “permission” of the state for years? These questions should be answered. I hope that they will make a reasonable agreement upon the call of Vehapar and a really impartial değabah will be chosen after the resignation of the vicar. Of course, we should ask why Vehapar waited for 8 years to step in.

We don't only elect a spiritual leader, we also elect a person who will represent the entire Armenian society. What happened on Thursday evening shows that a more participatory platform must be formed for solving the problems. The fact that that protocol was signed by “men above certain age” is one of the problems.

Garo Kaprielyan (70, businessman)

We should learn from February 16

Patriarchal election or chain of plots? The election is definitely the most important issue of our society, but is it the end of all problems? Unfortunately, no. Why weren't we able to hold an election for 9 years? Ambitious Aram Ateşyan, who usurped the seat as the general vicar, and some clerics and executives who sided with him for their interests. Patriarchal election is inevitable now. The die is cast.

On February 16, some people issued a protocol for guaranteeing their seats and tried to press the society to accept it. Of course, it backfired, because people became more interested in this issue. Our society should learn from February 16. If society demands something, it happens. Those elected people cannot discuss the issues concerning our society behind closed doors. People have the right to follow any meeting.

We could have a much better way of governing, if we act in solidarity.

Selin İlkaydın (40, manager)

Everyone feels disturbed

I have known His Eminence Sahak for years and I know that how humble and spiritual he is. I think that he must have good reasons for writing such a resignation letter. Church and foundations are not up to a single person; they should be managed by the society and executive boards. We should not have a vicar, but a real patriarch.

Harutyun Yardım (45, electronic engineer)

That evening, we were all there and witnessed what happened. We respect this decision which I believe our heads made for holding an election. After all, they tried to solve the problem peacefully and without hurting anybody. However, I think that it would have been better if other executives were involved. Besides, we were representing the people and our opinion should have been asked. From the beginning, I believed that His Eminence Sahak had good reasons for signing that protocol and I wasn't wrong. Let's forget what happened and start to act in solidarity. I hope we will have a fair election and eliminate the spiritual deterioration that haunts our church for years We hope to see His Eminence Sahak as our patriarch.

Ani Göcü (48, homemaker)

We are about to run out of patience

I support His Eminence Sahak. He reacted against the deadlock. He demands the election is held immediately. Foundation executives made some decisions without consulting the society. We want to have a patriarch and do away with the wrong decisions of the foundations. We love and support our church, but we are about to run out of patience.