ISTANBUL (Today’s Zaman) — Turkey’s Armenian citizens have two candidates for the position of co-patriarch, as the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul tries to appoint an assistant to Patriarch of Constantinople Mesrob Mutafian, in light of his debilitating illness.
Two clerics have announced their candidacy: Sebouh Chuljyan, the primate of the Gougark Diocese in Armenia, and the leader of the Armenian Church in Germany, Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian. Both meet the requirement for the Patriarchate, as both were born in Turkey.
The Turkish-Armenian community recognizes Mutafian as their spiritual leader until the end of his life. The Patriarchate’s statement noted that until the emergence of health problems, Mutafian had served for 11 years and that on December 24, 2008, the Patriarchate voted that he would be the community’s spiritual leader until his death.