Acting Armenian Patriarch Aram Ateşyan resigns, paving way for elections
ISTANBULAram Ateşyan, the acting patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, resigned on May 24, paving the way for patriarchal elections, Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos has reported.
Ateşyan, who had been appointed to the post by the state seven years ago when Archbishop Mesrob II Mutafyan fell ill and could no longer perform his duties, announced his resignation on May 24 during a meeting with foundation executives and benefactors, the daily quoted some participants as saying.
His resignation opens the way for the elections for a new patriarch as the post of acting patriarchy had to be abolished in order to initiate the election process, according to church traditions.
Mesrob II had to withdraw from his position in 2008 due to a deteriorating health condition, diagnosed as frontotemporal dementia (FTD). His seat remained vacant for two years as the Armenian community disagreed internally over how to proceed with the elections. Finally, in 2010 Ateşyan was appointed to the position through a letter from the Istanbul Governor’s Office.
Members of the community had previously express unease at the fact that patriarchal elections could not be held and that Karakin Bekçiyan, who was unanimously elected as the “değabah” (locum tenens) on March 15, had been prevented from taking office.
That unease sparked a campaign against Ateşyan on social media.