Bishop Sahak Mashalian Elected As 85th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople.

Bishop Sahak Mashalian has been elected the 85th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople.

If he chooses to retain his name he will be proclaimed Patriarch Sahak II. (In 1707, the Patriarch was Sahak I).

Mashalian was elected by special delegates composed of representatives of both the clergy and secular circles, who in turn were elected by the patriarchate’s synod and the local Armenian community of Istanbul respectively.

According to earlier reports delegates endorsing Mashalian had received more votes, and the Bishop was expected to win in the election, defeating his only opponent – Archbishop Aram Ateshian, the former general vicar of the patriarchate.

The position of the Patriarch was vacant after Mesrob II passed away in March, 2019. Mesrob Mutafyan was elected the 84th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople on 14 October, 1998. In 2008, the patriarchate announced that Mesrob II was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He withdrew from all his duties and public life, but formally remained the Patriarch. Mesrob II was incapacitated and appeared in a comatose state, which led to the synod retiring him in an effort to hold new elections, something Turkish authorities were not in favor of.

Shortly after being elected 85th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Bishop Sahak Mashalian addressed the Armenian community of Istanbul at the Armenian church near the patriarchate headquarters, noting that they will shape a new community with the patriarchate’s new composition, new programs and initiatives.

“We need something new, both in our spirits and minds. Our establishments need to be renovated, and my election must be the first step. We have an example of leadership before us – Jesus Christ, who washed the feet of his disciples, showed how to be a good shepherd. Today, you did not elect a patriarch, you elected the first servant of God and nation,” Marashlian said.

The Bishop said he will make his first pontifical address as 85th Patriarch after the inauguration and enthronement. “But now I have to ask you to pray for me”.

“The fact that we elected a patriarch in peace happened thanks to the prayers of thousands of people”, he said. The Bishop thanked the clergy, the delegates, and his opponent in the election, Aram Ateshian.

H/T ArmenPress

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