Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople

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Coordinates: 41°00′16″N 28°57′40″E / 41.0045°N 28.9612°E / 41.0045; 28.9612

Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople
Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople - P1040052.JPG
Coat-of-arms of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople
Founder The Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus
Independence Apostolic Era
Primate Mesrob II Mutafyan of Constantinople
Headquarters Istanbul, Turkey
Territory Turkey
Language Armenian
Members 95,000
The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople in 1878.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople (Armenian: Պատրիարքութիւն Հայոց Կոստանդնուպոլսոյ) is one of the smallest Patriarchates of the Oriental Orthodox Church.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople recognizes the primacy of the Catholicos of All Armenians, in the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Armenian Church, Etchmiadzin, Republic of Armenia, in matters that pertain to the worldwide Armenian Apostolic Church. In local matters, the Patriarchal See is autonomous.

The seat of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople is the Surp Asdvadzadzin Patriarchal Church (Holy Mother of God Patriarchal Church) in the Kumkapı neighborhood of Istanbul. The current patriarch is Mesrob II (Mutafyan) (Մեսրոպ Բ. Մութաֆեան), who has been in office since 1998.

The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople also known as Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul is today head of The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Establishment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1461[edit]

Armenian Church adjacent to the patriarchal residence in Istanbul
Interior view of Holy Mother-of-God Patriarchal Church

During the Byzantine period, the Armenian Apostolic Church had not been allowed to operate in Constantinople because the two churches mutually regarded each other as heretical. The schism was rooted in the rejection of the Council of Chalcedon by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, of which the Armenian Church is a part, while the Byzantine Church and the rest of Eastern Orthodoxy had accepted.

After conquering Constantinople, the Ottoman Empire allowed the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople to stay in the city. But Sultan Mehmed II asked the Armenians to establish their own church in the new Ottoman capital, as part of the Millet system. From then on the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople acted as superior religious institution in the Ottman Empire, even standing over the Armenian Catholicos. For a short period, the Syriac Orthodox Church was also placed under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Patriarchate.[citation needed]

The first Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople was Hovakim I, who was at the time the Metropolitan of Bursa. In 1461, he was brought to Constantinople by Sultan Mehmed II and established as the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople. Hovakim I was recognized as the religious and secular leader of all Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, and carried the title of milletbaşı or ethnarch as well as patriarch.

There have been 84 individual Patriarchs since establishment of the Patriarchate:

Patriarch Nerses Varjabedyan (1837–1884)

Ottoman Period 1461-1908[edit]

The Armenian Patriarchate served the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire with a line of Patriarchs in Constantinople.

However like the Greek Patriarchate, the Armenians suffered severely from intervention by the state in their internal affairs.

Although there have been 115 pontificates since 1461, there have only been 84 individual Patriarchs.

In 1861, a national constitution (Sahmanadrootiun in Armenian) was granted to Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire by Sultan Abdülaziz.

In 1896 Patriarch Madteos III (Izmirlian) was deposed and exiled to Jerusalem by Sultan Abdülhamid II for boldly denouncing the 1896 massacre[clarification needed]. The constitution governing the Armenians was suspended by the Sultan.

Young Turks Period 1908 - 1922[edit]

The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople Madteos III (Izmirlian) was permitted to return to Istanbul in 1908 when Sultan Abdulhamid II was deposed by the Young Turks.

The new Turkish administration also restored the constitution. In the initial period of the reign of the Young Turks, the Armenians enjoyed a brief period of restoration of civil liberties between 1908 and 1915.

However starting 1915, the Armenians suffered great hardship under the Young Turk administration and the Armenian community of Turkey was decimated by mass deportations of its Armenian population and the Armenian Genocide.

In this critical period, the post of the Patriarch remained vacant from 1915 to 1919 to be restored for a brief period from 1919 to 1922 with Patriarch Zaven I Der Yeghiayan residing.

Four Armenian Patriarchs served under the rule of the Young Turks.

Republic of Turkey; Secularism, 1923-Present[edit]

Despite a huge diminution in the number of its faithful during the Armenian Genocide, the patriarchate remains the spiritual head of the largest Christian community presently living in Turkey.

Today, the Armenian Patriarchs are recognized as the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Turkey and he is invited to state ceremonies.

Five Armenian Patriarchs have served after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. The religious council of the Patriarchate has designated, with the votes of 25 of its 26 members,[1] Aram Ateşyan as Patrik Genel Vekili (Turkish for Acting Patriarch) in 2010. Some members of the Armenian community of Turkey criticised this move and asked for the election of a new Patriarch by universal suffering instead. (It is estimated that some 20 thousand members of the community are eligible to vote in such an election.)[2]

Publications[edit]

The Patriarchate publishes an annual review in Armenian called Shoghagat (Rays from Above), containing theological, liturgical, historical and cultural articles.

A small, illustrated bulletin Lraper is published weekly (monthly in the summer months). The bilingual Lraper is in Armenian and Turkish.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]