September 24, 2019 - 18:24 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Ahead of the election of the 85th Patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, the Ministry of Interior has laid down a condition that the candidates must be from Turkey. An HDP MP of Armenian descent, Garo Paylan has described the movie as "an attempt to usurp the right to be elected," bianet reports.
The Ministry has issued a directive to the Patriarchate and the Enterprising Council who prepare to elect the 85th Patriarch, stipulating the condition of "being part of the class of bishops of the Armenian Patriarchate of İstanbul" to be elected.
There are only two high cleric candidates who meet these requirements.
Paylan said there have been many patriarchal elections in Turkey and all of them were attended by Armenian clerics from around the world.
"The Armenian Patriarchate has the right to appeal the decision. In fact, when Mesrob Mutafyan was being elected 20 years ago there was a similar attempt but the enterprising committee of the time objected to the decision and the situation was corrected," the lawmaker said.
"Now the same objection must be made and this restriction must be removed by the ministry officials. Otherwise, it cannot be called an election.
Mutafyan, the late Patriarch, was elected as top religious leader of the Armenian community in Turkey in 1998.
Since 2008, Mutafyan suffered from health issues that prevented him to fulfill his duties. He died in March 2019.
Bishop Sahak Mashalian was recently elected a patriarchal locum tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul.
Mashalian is reportedly one of the candidates, including Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, the vicar, to succeed Mutafyan.