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Armenian Church decides to end blessing mixed marriages

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/armenian-church-decides-to-end-blessing-mixed-marriages.aspx?pageID=238&nID=32147&NewsCatID=339 Armenian Church decides to end
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 15, 2012
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      http://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
      Armenian community

      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
      Armenian population.

      “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.

      Feeling restricted

      “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
      practice.

      “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,”
      she said.
      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

      October/11/2012
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