ISTANBUL (Agos) — The Clerical Assembly of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul elected Archbishop Karekin Bekjian, Primate of the German Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church as Locum Tenens —a patriarchal alternate on March 15.
The voting was seen as the first step of patriarchal elections.
Thirty members of the Clerical Assembly participated in the elections. Elected by clerics, the Locum Tenens is responsible for managing the process of electing the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul.
Vicar General Aram Ateshyan, Bishop Sahak Mashalyan and Archbishop Karekin Bekjian were initially named as candidates. However, Mashalyan, in a statement before the election, declared that would withdraw and supported Bekjian. Still, Ateshyan is not stepping down as Vicar General.
The Clerical Assembly is expected to form a commission comprising clergymen and secular figures to organize the transfer of power from the General Vicar to the Locum Tenens.
The elections of the initiative group will be organized within 10 days after the election of the Locum Tenens. The group will, in turn, organize the elections of the Patriarch of Istanbul within a six-month period.