ISTANBUL (Marmara)–The Istanbul Governor’s Office returned a letter of application filed by the Patriarchal Locum Tenens Archbishop Mesrob Mutafayan–stating that the Governor’s Office does not recognize Archbishop’s title as Locum Tenens–reported the Turkiye newspaper Saturday.
The Governor’s Office stated that–"according to the law," the post of Patriarchal Locum Tenens should have been transferred to the oldest and most senior clergyman–Archbishop Shahan Svadjian–thus prompting the Turkiye newspaper to announce that Arch. Mutafayan would no longer be able to use the title of Locum Tenens.
Marmara reported that that the TGRT TV channel reported the same information during its 10 p.m. newscast. The television channel televised Svadjian’s photograph and announced that as of now he must be the Patriarchal Locum Tenens.
The patriarchal elections were already in a stalemate due to government and local press intervention. This new and surprising development has thrown a monkey wrench in the entire electoral process–Marmara reported.
Svadjian told Marmara that he had received a letter from the Governor’s Office stating that he would replace Mutafayan as Locum Tenens.
Mutafayan–reportedly told the elder clergyman that he has filed a protest letter with the proper authorities.
This latest effort by the Turkish government to interfere in the patriarchal elections in Istanbul has stirred emotions in the Armenian community. Below is an article in the Istanbul-based Jamanak newspaper addressing the situation:
The Turkiye daily–with its "childish" views–continues to show close interest in the internal affairs of the Armenian community. A noteworthy and interesting piece of "news" appeared in the Turkiye daily this [Saturday] morning as well.
It is known that The Turkiye newspaper recently published unfounded accusations against the Patriarchal Locum Tenens–His Grace Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan. In today’s [Saturday’s] issue–the paper has found a new invention and has reported that His Grace will no longer be able to use the Patriarchal Locum Tenens title.
According to the paper–following the death of Patriarch Karekin Kazanjian–His Grace has personally assumed the title of Patriarchal Locum Tenens. The article goes on to claim that a letter of application was returned to His Grace by the Istanbul Governor’s office.
The report further misinforms that the post of Patriarchal Locum Tenens of our church will now be carried on by the older clergyman His Grace Archbishop Shahan Svadjian.
We had a telephone conversation with Archbishop Shahan Svadjian who told us that he had no information about the article in the Turkiye daily.