YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The final list of candidates for Catholicos of All Armenia’s will be specified at the first meeting of the National Church Council on October 26–announced Hovhannissian Hovhannissian–member of the National Church Council Organizing Committee–Vicar of the Ukrainian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
He said that all 53 bishops of the Armenian Apostolic Church are candidates for Catholicos–however–some of them will announce the withdrawal of their candidacies at the grand assembly and the most likely candidates will remain on the slate.
According to Hovhannissian–451 delegates representing all the dioceses spread all over the globe will participate in the Council. His Grace said the increase in number from the previous election’s 398 is caused by the increase in population. He said that specifying of the number of delegates in Armenia was easier because the Ministry of Statistics and State Register provided the exact strength of the population as of January 1999. The number of refugees living in each region was presented in a special list. The number of delegates from each diocese was therefore very easy to calculate. Asked which figure could be viewed as exact given the last census of the population was taken as far back as 1989–when the republic was having hard times on top of everything–the bishop said they have no reasons to doubt the official data provided by the government.
Hovhannissian said that nine of the 30 diocese are in Armenia–four in the CIS countries–three in the East–six in America and eight in Europe. There are two patriarchal delegations to Central and Western Europe–and one more to India and the Far East. All of these dioceses have already submitted lists of their delegates.