Karekin II Summons Istanbul Patriarchate Leaders to Etchmiadzin to Untangle Crisis

Bishop Mashalian (left) and Archbishop Ateshian “set their differences aside” after a secret meeting Thursday

ISTANBUL—His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of the All Armenians, has summoned the key actors of the upcoming Istanbul Patriarchate elections to Etchmiadzin in an effort to untangle the crisis there, which stemmed from the resignation this week of the chairman of the Patriarchate’s religious council, in protest over the current Vicar General, reported the Agos newspaper.

On Monday, Chairman of the Religious Council of the Istanbul Patriarchate Bishop Sahak Mashalian announced his resignation claiming that Vicar General Archbishop Aram Ateshian was hampering the process of a Patriarchal Elections to fill the seat left vacant by former Patricarch Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan who stepped due to illness.

A scene from Thursday "Secret Meeting" at the Istanbul Patriarchate

A scene from Thursday “Secret Meeting” at the Istanbul Patriarchate

Mashalian’s resignation has accelerated the election process for a new patriarch. On Thursday, 13 cleric and lay members of the patriarchate, among them Ateshian and Mashalian, held a secret meeting and agreed on a protocol based on which the patriarchal elections are to be held on May 28.

The Istanbul-based Jamanak newspaper reported that during the secret meeting, which convened prior to a scheduled board of trustees meeting, Ateshian and Mashalian “set their differences aside” and advanced a protocol, which called for the election of a Locum Tenens to the Vicar General on Friday and the appointing of an executive body to manage the election process.

Catholicos Karekin II expressed his objections to the protocols signed at the secret meeting saying that the process outlined in the document was in violation of the church’s standard operating procedures. He has summoned Ateshian and Mashalian to Etchmiadzin for consultations over the patriarchal elections.

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