ARMENIAN COMMUNITY OF TURKEY NEEDS ACTIVE CO-PATRIARCH
29.01.2010 15:10 GMT+04:00
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian community is the biggest in Turkey,
so the Turkish authorities are trying their best to destroy it,
an Armenian expert said.
"That’s why they don’t want the Constantinople Patriarchate to have
an initiative personality at the post," Ruben Melkonyan told a news
conference in Yerevan.
At that, he pointed out to several key problems faced by the Armenian
"The number of Armenian schools is decreasing year by year. Only 17
out of 32 schools operate at present, with a total number of 3000
students. The country has 42 Armenian churches, but some have closed
down because of not having pastors," he stressed.
The expert also touched upon the problems of mixed marriages (40%)
and Armenian language.
"About 90% of Istanbul Armenians speak Turkish, with only 7-10%
young people speaking Armenian," he noted.
"In 1920, there were 250-300 thousand Armenian Christians in Turkey.
Today their number has reduced to 50-60 thousand. If such tendency
persists, we’ll face a serious problem in a couple of years. The
community is now in need of an active religious leader," Melkonyan
According to him, there are now 3 candidates running for the post
of joint patriarch: primate of AAC Gugark Eparchy, Archbishop Sepuh
Chuldjyan, Bishop Garegin Bekchinyan, and Archbishop Aram Ateshyan,
with the latter having more chances for victory. Ateshyan has already
had met with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.
The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople also known as Armenian
Patriarch of Istanbul is the head of the Armenian Patriarchate of
Constantinople, one of the smallest Patriarchates of the Oriental
It recognizes the primacy of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of
All Armenians, in the spiritual and administrative headquarters of
the Armenian Church, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Vagharshapat,
Republic of Armenia, in matters that pertain to the worldwide Armenian
Church. In local matters, the Patriarchal See is autonomous.