By Edmond Y. Azadian
After seven years of uncertainty, it looks like the election of a new Armenian Patriarch is in the offing. In 2008, Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan was incapacitated because of an incurable disease. He was reduced to a shell of his former self, having lost his mental faculties completely. On June 30, 2010, Archbishop Aram Ateshian was assigned as vicar general by the clergy council. During the intervening years, confusion has reigned in the Istanbul Armenian community, which has been divided into two camps: one seeking the election of a new Patriarch, and the other opting for a co-adjutor Patriarch.
Such a situation was indeed unprecedented in the history of the Patriarchate nor had the Armenian Church canons foreseen or addressed such a case.
The Turkish government responded to neither camp, thus letting the community languish in confusion.
On October 6, 2016, the General Clerical Assembly convened under the presidency of Archbishop Sahak Mashalyan and pronounced Archbishop Mutafyan retired, thus paving the way for a new election.
Archbishop Mutafyan was the 84th Patriarch and now the community is awaiting the election of the 85th.