Armenian man buried as Muslim to be reburied as Christian
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Hürriyet PhotoThe body of an Armenian-origin citizen, who was buried in a Muslim cemetery due to financial problems, will be transferred from the cemetery to an Armenian cemetery after the required procedures are completed.
On June 17, 85-year-old Harutyun Kamparisoğlu passed away while staying in a shelter, weekly Agos reported last week. Üsküdar Surp Garabed Church Foundation approved Kamparisoğlu’s burial with Islamic customs since the man’s daughter Anna Taşçıyan could not afford the 8,000-Turkish Lira funeral cost. Kambarisoğlu’s funeral prayer was performed in Göztepe Mosque on June 18, and his body was buried in Ümraniye Hekimbaşı Cemetery with Islamic prayers.
The Armenian Patriarchate said they did not know about the incident but added that if they had known, they would have paid for the funeral expenses.
“If we had known about the situation, we would have done whatever was necessary and would not have let such an incident occur. How the authorities conducted such a burial is another matter of interest,” Acting Patriarch Archishob Aram Ateşyan said.
“The family is well-known and prosperous, but they didn’t want to pay the funeral costs. If we had believed that they were really in need, we would have informed the Patriarchate with a petition and such a case would not have occurred. Of course, he could be buried free of charge, but his poverty must be proved to us first,” Surp Garabed Church Foundation official Oşin Mumcuyan said.
However, Ateşyan said the family of the deceased did not consult them.
“All members of our community are equal to us. Those having financial problems could declare this to the Patriarchate at anytime. We could have conducted the burial procedures by ourselves,” Ateşyan said.
He said that Kamparisoğlu’s daughter had given her consent for the funeral to be conducted according to the customs of the Armenian Apostolic Church and that Kamparisoğlu’s body would be transferred to the Armenian cemetery in a funeral after the required procedures are completed.
Taşçıyan said the necessary statement about the subject was made by the patriachate and that she would not make any personal statement.
Meanwhile, the Karacaahmet Cemetery Directorate, which approved Kamparisoğlu’s burial according to Islamic traditions, said non-Muslim people could be buried in Muslim cemeteries only if the mufti’s office declared the deceased to be a Muslim.
“Kamparisoğlu was also declared to be a Muslim. There are two people who witnessed his conversion to Islam by saying the Kelime-i Şahadet [Islamic confession of faith]. When two people witnessed it, his being a Muslim was [confirmed],” the directorate said.