08/11/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – The Armenian apostolic church in Turkey has officially requested permission from Turkey to hold a patriarchal election on December 11. This would follow the election of delegates on December 7 and 8.
According to Turkish law, the Armenian church is not allowed to elect a spiritual head without permission from the government. This has created a situation where the church has lacked leadership for over a decade. Their patriarch was in a coma, but the government refused the church’s petitions to elect a new leader. The patriarch died this past March, and the church petitioned the government again that they may elect a new leader. The government delayed the election in June, and the church picked new dates in December.
It is not yet clear whether the government will grant the church’s request. However, the government has a long history of interfering in internal church affairs—not just of the Armenian church. Orthodox Christians frequently complain that Turkey is slowly strangling their churches by interfering and delaying church leadership elections. Such uncertainty impacts every aspect of the life of the church.