Istanbul Bids Final Farewell to Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II

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ISTANBUL (Public Radio of Armenia) — Archbishop Mesrob II Mutafyan, the 84th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, was laid to rest on Sunday, March 17, as many political and religious figures and Armenian nationals from overseas bid their final farewells to him, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The archbishop’s coffin was rested on a catafalque for mourning visitors to pay him their respects after the prayers and was referred to the Sisli Armenian cemetery in an area designated for patriarchs for burial.

Many senior officials from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) including the party’s spokesperson Omer Celik and its Istanbul mayoral candidate Binali Yildirım, along with the presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin attended the funeral service.

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.

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

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In Defense of Christians (IDC), a leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East, issued a plea to the Turkish Government not to interfere with the election of Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople.

IDC said in a statement  it mourns the passing of Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II in Istanbul, Turkey.

“The Turkish government has historically interfered in the election process of the Armenian Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople,” the IDC said.

“IDC is committed to full equality for Christians and Churches in the Middle East. Churches should be able to select their own leaders without state interference,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini.

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