17024Armenian Church decides to end blessing mixed marriages
- Oct 15, 2012http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/armenian-church-decides-to-end-blessing-mixed-marriages.aspx?pageID=238&nID=32147&NewsCatID=339
Armenian Church decides to end blessing mixed marriages
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Armenian Patriarchate restarts regulations which nix the blessing and
the church wedding for the mixed marriages. Decision stirs debate in the
Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@...
The Armenian Patriarchate in Turkey has restarted implementing
regulations in regards to mixed marriages, under which Armenians
marrying a person of a different religion will no longer receive a
blessing or be permitted to conduct a church wedding.
The permission for a church wedding for mixed marriages started in 2000
with Patriarch Mesrop Mutafyan’s approval, but the move sparked debate
within the community.
“We are putting into practice a law that already exists in our church. I
do not want to make any other statement than this,” acting Patriarch
Aram Ateşyan told the Hürriyet Daily News regarding the latest move.
The new regulation went into effect Oct. 1.
Armenians in mixed marriages, as well as those from the community
engaged to non-Armenians, gave partial support to the patriarchate but
also expressed criticism on the matter.
Murat Kaspar, a 36-year-old design editor at daily Dünya who married a
Muslim Turk last month, said the church’s decision stemmed from a desire
to protect the community and its traditions amid the country’s shrinking
“I do not think this decision is right. To have a church wedding is a
tradition. If those couples who will get married respect each other’s
beliefs, then this should not be prevented. I oppose conservatism,” he said.
Zakarya Mildanoğlu, a prominent member of the Armenian community,
married a Muslim Turkish woman 35 years ago. “We had to go through
extreme difficulties. Even though my wife converted to my religion, our
children were not baptized,” he said.
“Despite all the difficulties, I have not even for one moment thought
about taking a step back. Fortunately, I married my wife. If I had
married an Armenian, I don’t know if I would have been this happy. It
was my mother, not us, who experienced sadness. She was very sad that
the church refused to baptize the children,” Mildanoğlu said.
‘I feel restricted’
Kristin, 33, who did not want to disclose her last name, is set to marry
a Muslim Turk. While she said she understood that the measures were
designed to protect the community, she also said she was against the
“The decision the patriarchate made seems wrong to me; I feel like I am
restricted. I even want to hide my last name while I’m talking to you
because my family and some of my close friends do not know about my
relationship,” she said. “I’m afraid of community pressure.”
Kristin said the choice of two people and their respect for each other
were more important than anything else, while criticizing the failure to
bless the Muslim spouse in the church.
“Couples cannot get married the way they wish to. Their marriages are
not accepted but their children are baptized. This is a controversy,”
But Anahid, 28, said she agreed with the patriarchate. “The regulations
of the Armenian Church and the community are definite and they should be
respected. The patriarchate is not inventing a new practice. They are
putting into practice one that already exists. There is a serious
increase in mixed marriages. The population, traditions and the culture
should be protected.” k HDN