From the Dec. 10 issue of Today’s Zaman:
Turkey’s Armenian Orthodox community seeks co-patriarch
The Armenian Patriarchate in İstanbul is seeking permission to designate a “co-patriarch” in light of the illness of Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan, whom they recognize as their community’s spiritual leader until the end of his life.
An announcement on the patriarchate’s Web site announced that they have submitted an application to the relevant authorities toward the selection of a co-patriarch. The statement recalled that until the emergence of health problems, Patriarch Mesrob II had served in his position for 11 years and that on Dec. 24, 2008, the patriarchate decided that he would be the community’s spiritual leader until his death. “As is known, Turkey’s Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II is unfortunately ill. As we’ve written before, doctors are not positive about his medical condition. … On March 2, 2009, the decision was made that the necessity existed for a co-patriarch to be chosen, as our tradition provides for,” the statement added. While the exact nature of the patriarch’s illness has not been disclosed to the public, known issues include memory difficulty and other problems that emerged after the 53-year-old underwent surgery to remove a goiter.
The spiritual council of the Orthodox community decided during a Nov. 13 meeting to announce its decision to submit the necessary application to make it possible to select a co-patriarch, the statement said. The application has been accepted by İstanbul Governor Muammer Güler and will be forwarded as is required to the Ministry of the Interior, the patriarchate added.