Supreme Spiritual Council Issues Statement on the Patriarchate of Constantinople
From February 20 to 23, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; the Supreme Spiritual Council met at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Among the inter-church issues on the agenda, they discussed the recent year’s developments and process of organizing the Patriarchal elections in the life of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople.
As result of discussions, the Supreme Spiritual Council issued the following statement: “The Supreme Spiritual Council once again expresses its concern regarding the unwelcome developments in the life of the Patriarchate and Constantinople over the past ten years because of the illness of His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrop Moutafian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople. The situation surrounding the Patriarchal See has caused serious concern and anxiety for our people worldwide.
Facing the reality of the vacant position of the See, and the imperative to hold new patriarchal elections, changes were made in the Patriarchate in 2016, and for their disposal, at the exhortation of the Catholicos of All Armenians, Bishops of the See were invited to the Mother See and committed themselves to solving the existing problems. And as a result of which, the choice of the patriarchal vicar inspired new hope for having a new Patriarch of the See and to restore the normal life of the Armenians of Constantinople.
We regret to say that shortly afterwards, as a result of the irrational steps by the church officials and individuals, a situation was created, which allowed an opportunity for external influences and intervention by the Turkish authorities, leading to new frustrations and again failing in the efforts made to organize the Patriarchal elections.
The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has always welcomed the manifestation of will of the Armenians of Constantinople and has given support to the decisions made by the proper structures of the See.
Taking into account the decision of the Religious Council of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on February 9, 2018, we make an emerging call to the Members of the Brotherhood: His Eminence Archbishop Karekin Bekchian; His Eminence Archbishop Aram Ateshian; His Grace Bishop Sahak Mashalian and other clergy, to focus on the interests of the See of Constantinople above their own aspirations and interpersonal relationships; with all their wisdom and commitment to correct the noted wrong processes and to restore peace, unity, and solidarity in the unsettled life of Armenians of Constantinople.
The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin urges the members of the Religious Council and secular Armenians who have standing and authority in the community, to pursue the recognition of Patriarch Mesrop as inactive, who is into a heavy long illness, and the organization of patriarchal elections in accordance with the procedure established by the State; for the vibrancy of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and the consolation of our devout people.
Our expectation is that the Turkish authorities meet the just demand of the Armenian community in organizing the elections of the Armenian Patriarch.
We also appeal to our people worldwide, an invitation for calm, to give an opportunity to the See of Constantinople to overcome the current situation with humility and modesty.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you”, Corinthians 13:11”.