Today's Zaman
07 January 2010, Thursday
YASEMIN BUDAK Ä°STANBUL


Turkey's Armenians have two candidates for co-patriarch
As the Armenian Patriarchate in Ä°stanbul tries to designate a
`co-patriarch' in light of the illness of Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan or
Mesrob II, two religious leaders have announced their candidacy.

Sebouh Chuljyan, the primate of the Gougark diocese in
Armenia. Another is the German Armenians' leader, Bishop Karekin
Bekjyan. Both are qualified since they were born in Turkey as required
and have impressive religious qualifications. Among six candidates,
the two replied positively to the Armenian patriarchate's letter
asking whether or not they would put themselves forward as candidates.

Bishop Karekin is expected to meet the Armenian Orthodox community in
Ä°stanbul soon as he will travel to Turkey following the
Armenian Church's New Year on Jan. 6.

The Turkish Armenian community recognizes Mesrob Mutafyan as their
community's spiritual leader until the end of his life.

An announcement on the patriarchate's Web site in December stated that
they had submitted an application to the relevant authorities toward
the selection of a co-patriarch. The statement noted 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.

The application was accepted by Ä°stanbul Governor Muammer
Güler and has been forwarded as required to the Ministry of the
Interior, the patriarchate added.