The Istanbul Patriarchate Vicar General Archbishop Aram Ateshian and Bishop Sahak Mashalyan, the chairman of the Patriarchate’s religious council met with Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya to submit an official application to begin the process of electing a new patriarch, following the death of Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, who despite being incapacitated, was recognized as the patriarch by state officials.
After offering condolences on Mutafian’s passing Yerlikaya pledged to submit the application to Turkey’s Interior Ministry and provide a quick response to the Patriarchate leaders.
The Religious Council on Tuesday decided that the process will be organized under the leadership of Archbishop Ateshian.
Mutafian, who was elected Patriarch in 1998, was diagnosed with dementia in 2008 and was incapacitated to complete his duties. Ateshian was appointed as Vicar General. However, the Patriarchate’s religious council in 2017 began planning an election for a new patriarch, which was thwarted by Ateshian himself, as well as the local authorities who declared the council’s effort against the law.