Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Armenian patriarch enthroned in Constantinople

History is an interesting thing. There was no Armenian patriarch in Constantinople until the Ottomans conquered it, relocated Armenians into the city, and placed a leader for them there. Armenians - being non-Chalcedonians - were not permitted to operate in the Orthodox city before the sacking. So to have the EP at the enthronement is a turn-around that reflects the effect a few hundred years can have on relations.

According to the narration often repeated and generally accepted regarding how and when the Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate was established, the establishment coming with the conquest of Istanbul took place as follows: “When Mehmet the Conqueror was in Bursa before the conquest of Istanbul, he showed an intimacy and love for the Armenian people and Hovagim who was the spiritual leader of them there. When the Conqueror was talking with Hovagim one day, Hovagim prayed that “May God make your kingdom higher than the other kingdoms” and the Conqueror responded a promise which was “If I achieve to conquer Istanbul, I will take you and Armenian leaders to Istanbul and I will make you the leader of them.” The Conqueror who came to Bursa a few years after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453 remembered his promise and he brought many Armenian families and Episcopos Hovagim from Bursa to Istanbul. In this same period, he brought Armenian groups from other regions to Istanbul and placed them in the capital.

(Hurriyet) - Sahak Maşalyan (Mashalian), the 85th Patriarch of Turkey’s Armenians, was enthroned as Sahak II in a ceremony held at the Surp Asdvadzadzin Patriarchate Church in Istanbul on Jan 11.

Born in 1962 in Istanbul with the Turkish name Şahin Maşalı, he was ordained a priest in 1992, receiving the name Sahak.

On Dec. 11, Sahak II won the election held among Armenian Gregorian churches across the country after receiving 102 votes out of 119 against his rival Aram Ateşyan, who had served as acting patriarch during the absence of Mesrob II, the previous patriarch who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease from 2008 until his demise on March 8, 2019.

The congregation included Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, representatives of other Christian denominations in Turkey and foreign diplomatic missions in Istanbul.

Turkish Deputy Interior Minister Muhterem İnce and Chief Rabbi of Turkey Rav Isak Haleva also took part in the ceremony.

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