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Turkey's Armenian patriarch prevented from naming new archbishop

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkey8217s-armenians-seek-solution-to-patriarchate-issue-2010-12-31 Turkey s Armenian patriarch prevented from naming
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2011

      Turkey's Armenian patriarch prevented from naming new archbishop

      STANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News


      Confusion over the leadership of Turkey’s
      Armenian Patriarchate is continuing to create
      problems for the community as the church’s
      spiritual center has ignored a request by the
      acting patriarch to appoint a new archbishop.

      Archbishop Aram Ates,yan, the acting patriarch,
      recently applied to the Mother See of Holy
      Etchmiadzin in Armenia to elevate Bishop Tatoul
      Anoushian to the position of archbishop but
      church authorities said the move was a contravention of canon law.

      “The rules are clear and all Armenian Apostolic
      churches and clerics in the world know them,”
      Bishop Sebouh Chouldjian recently told the
      Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on behalf
      of the Armenian Apostolic Church Diocese of
      Gougark and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
      “As a cleric, [Ates,yan] knows very well the rules of our holy house.”

      According to the Armenian Apostolic Church rules,
      a request for higher clerical positions must be
      made in written by the patriarch himself.
      Etchmiadzin has not responded to the request
      because it was not in accordance to Church
      regulations, according to Chouldjian.

      Current Patriarch Mesrob II suffers from dementia
      and is unable to perform his duties.

      The bishop said the Turkish Armenian Patriarchate
      abides by the same canon law, which states that
      the patriarch must directly apply to the
      Etchmiadzin office by writing a formal letter.
      After this, the letter is submitted to the
      Spiritual Committee and the decision is made there.

      The Patriarchate in Turkey said it would not make any statement for the moment.

      Cracks in the community

      The core reason for the problem is the prevention
      of an election in the Patriarchate.

      After it became clear that Mesrob II’s illness
      would not allow him to fulfill his duties as
      patriarch, an initiating committee composed of
      the community’s lay leaders and representatives
      of the Patriarchate found themselves in disagreement.

      The Patriarchate said that under Armenian Church
      rules, as long as Mesrob II remains alive, there
      can be no election for a new patriarch, adding
      that the holy house could only choose a co-patriarch.

      However, the lay committee opted to vote for a
      new spiritual leader. When negotiations fell
      apart, the Turkish Interior Ministry surprisingly
      intervened, appointing the Spiritual Committee’s
      president, Archbishop Ates,yan, as acting patriarch.

      “According to Armenian Apostolic Church rules,
      the post [of acting patriarch] does not exist,”
      Bishop Chouldjian told the Daily News.
      “Unfortunately, the Patriarchate did not manage
      the process well and now it has turned into a Gordian knot.”
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