YEREVAN(Noyan Tapan)–The Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul organized several events this year for the 1700th anniversary of Armenia’s adoption of Christianity. During his interview with reporters–the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan–discussed three pilgrimages that were the main commemorative activities of the Istanbul Patriarchate
Mutafian stated that in accordance with the Turkish law–the Patriarchate does not have the right to help preserve Armenian churches–which are considered to be historical or cultural monumen’s. The Archbishop was not pleased and added that if given the chance–the Patriarchate would like to restore the significant historical monumen’s like the Church in Ani and the St. Khach Church of Akhtamar. According to another Turkish law of 1936–the Armenia’s–Greeks and Jews who live in Turkey are not allowed to acquire new territories or buildings for their religious institutions–but can only make monetary donations. The Archbishop concluded that although they are continuously appealing to the government on such issues–they have not yet succeeded.
Armenia’s have lived in Istanbul from the 4th century–since Rev. Nerses was exiled to Istanbul. The Istanbul Patriarchate of Armenian Apostolic Church was established in 1461–which is to this day the principal institution which tries to preserve the Armenian identity–and hence–the majority of the Armenia’s residing in Turkey live nearby.