ISTANBUL — The Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul Mesrob Mutafyan II passed away in Istanbul on March 8, He was 62 years old.
Patriarch Mutafyan has been under treatment for a long time at Yedikule Surp Pirgiç Hospital. He had been incapacitated since 2008 with an early onset of dementia. The funeral is expected to take place next Sunday. All the churches in Istanbul are playing the drum every 15 minutes.
Born Minas Mutafyan in Istanbul in 1956. He was ordained in 1979 following studies in Germany and the United States.
Patriarch Mutafyan graduated from the American High School in Kornwestheim near Stuttgart, Germany. From 1974 to 1979, he studied philosophy and sociology in Memphis, Tennessee, United States.
On 13 May 1979, he was ordained to priesthood and was commissioned pastor of Kinaliada, one of the Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul with a small Armenian community. Between 1979 and 1981, he continued his theological studies in Jerusalem.
On 21 September 1986, Mesrob Mutafyan was elevated to the rank of a Bishop in Etchmiadzin, Armenia. From 1982 to 1990, he coordinated the ecumenical relationships of the Patriarchate. He attended the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy in 1988-1989.
In 1993, he was elevated to the rank of archbishop to serve the diocese of Prince Islands. From 1997, Mutafyan acted as the vicar general of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Following the death of Patriarch Karekin II Kazanjian of Constantinople, Mesrob Mutafyan was elected locum tenens on 16 March 1998 to serve as the temporary leader of the Church until an election is held. Even though the Turkish local authorities demanded Archbishop of Üsküdar Sahan Sivaciyan, the retired longest-serving archbishop, should succeed, Mesrob Mutafyan was finally elected the 84th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople on 14 October, 1998 and could take office. During his apostolic journey to Turkey, Pope Benedict XVI visited also the Surp Asdvadzadzin Patriarchal Church in Kumkapi, Istanbul, where he attended a religious ceremony and held later talks with Patriarch Mesrob II on 30 November 2006. He was also a member of the Elijah Interfaith Institute Board of World Religious Leaders.
In 2008, Archbishop Aram Atesyan was appointed the Locum tenens to fulfill Mutafyans duties as the acting patriarch.
Garo Paylan, a member of the Armenian community and a legislator in Turkey’s parliament said on Twitter: “Patriarch Mutafyan will remain in our minds as a memorable spiritual leader.”