ISTANBUL (Agos) — On April 19, Locum Tenens (Degabah) Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul Arch. Karekin Bekchian and Bishop Sahak Masalian held a meeting with the Coordination Committee of VADIP foundation. After the meeting, Arch. Bekchian released a written statement. Saying that “the process of election should start now”, the Locum Tenens criticized the attitude of the foundation executives, stating that he will launch meetings for forming the Electoral Committee and he criticized the current administration of the patriarchate.

Here are the highlights from the statement:

“In the last 5 weeks, I preferred to wait and hold some meetings meanwhile upon the opinions and recommendations of various authorities. There was a referendum ahead and the state advised us to be patient for a while. Though the patriarchal election is an internal matter of our church and society, we had to consider the recommendations and needs of the government. However, in my opinion, we should start the process for electing our 85th patriarch now.

After the Locum Tenens election, I expected civil society and foundation executives to respect and support this election. I also expected the current administration of the patriarchate to act in accordance with the result of degabah election. Unfortunately, I have to say that my expectations haven’t been met.

We held a meeting with Coordination Committee of VADIP and Bishop Masalyan accompanied me. I saw that the members of the committee respect the result of degabah election, but they hesitate over starting the process of patriarchal election and think that we have to wait for a while.

Nevertheless, the members of the committee stated that relations with the patriarchate and the process of election would normalize within 10-15 days. Relying on this statement, I will work for forming the Electoral Committee.

On the other hand, it is clear that clerics who held the degabah election are under serious pressure. As the elected degabah and a man of the cloth, I have to urge the current administration of the patriarchate to stop this unfair and improper behavior and act in accordance with the ecclesiastical ethics.”

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