ISTANBUL — Bishop Sahak Mashalian has been elected locum tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul during a closed door meeting held on Wednesday July 4th. Mashalian received 13 votes whereas Archbishop Aram Ateshyan received 11 votes.

The appointment of the new locum tenens signals the start of election processes of new patriarch after Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan passed away in Istanbul on March 8 after a prolonged period of illness.

Mashalian is set to manage the activities of the Patriarchate before a new patriarch is elected.

Bishop Sahak Mashalian spoke to media representatives thanking all who voted for him. “The Church Congregation-Assembly chose me as a locum tenens with majority of the votes. The placeholder should order the election process, the head all Church meetings, and he must ensure that the elections are held impartially. I am very grateful to have this confidence that my church brothers have given me. I should try to be worthy of the clergy and people’s trust, ” said Mashalian.

The Patriarchate will announce today’s election results to Turkish authorities and the Holy See of Etchmiadzin. Then a new Patriarch election commission will be formed. After receiving the privilege of holding a Patriarchal election in the coming months, the names of candidates running for the seat of the 85th Patriarch of Constantinople will be known, followed by the clarification of the lists of delegates entitled to vote. It is not known, however, whether a new patriarch will be elected by the end of the year.

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