Istanbul’s Armenian patriarch Mutafyan to be laid to rest on March 17

Istanbul’s Armenian patriarch Mutafyan to be laid to rest on March 17

Istanbul’s Armenian patriarch Mutafyan to be laid to rest on March 17

The funeral service for the late Armenian Patriarch in Turkey Mesrob Mutafyan will be held on March 17 at the time of Sunday service (10 a.m.) at the St. Mary Armenian Church in Istanbul’s Kumkapı neighborhood in Fatih district.

Mutafyan will be later buried at the Şişli Armenian cemetery in an area designated for patriarchs.

His coffin will rest on a catafalque between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on March 14 and March 15 at the St. Mary Church for mourning visitors to pay him their respects.

Many church officials from Armenia, Lebanon, Jerusalem, Vatican and Turkey’s churches, along with representatives of diplomatic missions, are expected to attend the funeral ceremony commemorating the archbishop.

Archbishop Mesrob II Mutafyan died at age 62 in the Surp Pirgic Armenian Hospital in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district on March 8 where he was receiving treatment.

He had been incapacitated since 2008 with an early onset of dementia.

Mutafyan was born in Istanbul in 1956. He was ordained in 1979 following studies in Germany and the United States. He was elected a patriarch in 1998, replacing the late Karekin II.

In 2008, Archbishop Aram Ateşyan was appointed to fulfill Mutafyan’s duties as the acting patriarch for the Turkish Armenian community which numbers an estimated 70,000.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other Turkish officials called Ateşyan to offer their condolences.

Garo Paylan, a member of Turkey’s Armenian community and an MP from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said on Twitter: “Patriarch Mutafyan will remain in our minds as a memorable spiritual leader.”

Preparations for the election of a new patriarch for Turkey are expected to begin after a 40-day mourning period.