What happened in the patriarchate yesterday?

Istanbul Governor’s Office interfered in the patriarchal election. During the election of değabah, a notice signed by the deputy governor was sent to the patriarchate, claiming that starting the election process is “legally” impossible. Ateşyan and Maşalyan will try to meet with the governor and explain the process.

As planned, the meeting for electing a değabah was started on March 15 at 3 pm. Armenian Primate of Germany Archbishop Karekin Bekçiyan was elected as the değabah by getting 23 votes out of 34. 

However, an unexpected development followed the election.

Ateşyan left the room angrily, saying “His Eminence Bekçiyan is elected.” A few minutes later, Ateşyan came back and revealed a notice from the governor’s office to the press.

In the notice sent to the patriarchate by deputy governor, it is stated that it is “legally” impossible to start the process.

The official notice signed by the Deputy Governor Aziz Mercan is as follows:

“Given the reports in the media, it is understood that the procedure of patriarchal election is intended to be started virtually by electing a değabah on March 15.

Considering the unfavorable developments that took place during the meeting on February 16 at the patriarchate, it is determined that starting the election process is legally impossible given the facts that this process might cause disturbance and divisions in the society, that there is already an incumbent vicar and that your society knows the basic proceedings and practices concerning the patriarchal election.”

Yells in the second meeting

After the notice was revealed, Ateşyan, Maşalyan, elected değabah Bekçiyan and other clerics went to another meeting. Yells were heard from the meeting room. During the meeting, Maşalyan told Ateşyan, “They step in our religious life. This is interference. This election happened. We have to go to the governor’s office and tell that Bekçiyan is our değabah. You are the one who should do it.” Reportedly, Ateşyan said that he will go when an appointment is set. Reacting against Ateşyan, Maşalyan said that they shouldn’t wait for an appointment. Ateşyan said, “I am holding my seat until the state gives permission.”

After that meeting, clerics left and Bekçiyan, Maşalyan and Ateşyan started to talk in Ateşyan’s office. No statement was made after this talk. Elected değabah Bekçiyan said that Ateşyan and Maşalyan will go to the governor’s office.

Later, it was reported that Ateşyan and Maşalyan will demand an appointment on March 16.

Meeting on Tuesday night

It is also reported that General Vicar Ateşyan invited a group of foundation executives to a meeting on March 14, a day before the election. Reportedly, Ateşyan said, “It seems that the governor’s office won’t give permission.” However, foundation executives stated that the election should be held no matter what.


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Miran Manukyan