Archbishop Aram Ateshian

Agreement Reached for Istanbul Patriarch Election, Ateshian to Resign on March 15


ECHMIADZIN — An agreement was hammered out at Holy Echmiadzin on February 24, clearing the way for new elections for the leadership of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The unusual standoff had resulted in the current locum tenens (vicar general), Archbishop Aram Ateshian, and Bishop Sahak Mashalian, chairman of the Religious Council of the Patriarchate of Istanbul, as well as Archbishop Karekin Bekchian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Germany, to be summoned to the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin by the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.

According to the terms of the agreement, the Clerical Assembly will hold elections for a locum tenens before March 15, at the invitation of the Patriarchal Religious Council. On that date, the current locum tenens, Ateshian, will resign from his duties.

The member Bishops of the Brotherhood of the Patriarchate of Constantinople have equal right to nominate their candidacy in the Locum Tenens elections, according to the agreement.

After the election of a new locum tenens, the Religious Council will create a commission composed of priests and laymen, as prescribed by law, to organize the transfer of power from the Patriarchal vicar general to the locum tenens. Following the locum tenens election, the elections of an Enterprising Committee is to be held within 10 days, according to the accepted procedures of the Patriarchate. In turn, the Enterprising Committee led by the locum tenens must organize and conduct within six months, the election of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople according to existing procedures,

The Enterprising Committee must present a monthly report to the Religious Council and the community, regarding the tasks completed in the organization of elections. If after a period of six months the Patriarchal elections have not been held, at the invitation of the Religious Council, the Patriarchal Clerical Assembly and the chairmen Assembly of the community institutions, are within their jurisdiction to hold a vote of confidence on the Locum Tenens and the Enterprising Committee,

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During the election period the Enterprising Committee will ensure equal conditions for the patriarchal candidates to carry out their electoral campaign.

The Initiating body shall ensure equal conditions the Patriarchal candidates for their election campaign.

In case a Patriarch is not elected within 6 months a motion of no confidence towards the locum tenens and the Initiating body can be tabled by the Church congress and the heads of community establishments.

Ahead of the meeting and led by the Catholicos of All Armenians, the three visited the Mother Cathedral, and offered a joint prayer at the Holy Altar of Descent, for the vibrancy of the centuries old Hierarchal See of Constantinople, and for guidance in overcoming the existing challenges and re-establishment of peace and solidarity in the Armenian-Constantinople community. A prayer was offered for Archbishop Mesrop Moutafian, Patriarch of the See, who is ill and remains under constant care in the Holy Savior National Hospital.


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