On 9 February, the Turkish state intervened in the most rude way in the religious affairs of the Armenian community of Turkey and imposed its lige man, Archbishop Aram Atéshian, who had been dismissed from his office in March 2017. of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople. The event is unfortunately not a first in our history. It should be remembered that it was Sultan Mehemet II, the conqueror of Constantinople, who founded this seat in 1461.
It is still a little early to analyze the event in detail. A reality remains, Aeshian, is not the legitimate pastor and expected by the majority of Armenians in Turkey. The decision of the ecclesial assembly that had canonically elected Archbishop Karékine Békdjian, then the primate of the Armenians of Germany, was violated on the personal order of Mr. Erdogan. He has not hesitated to intervene directly in the religious affairs of the largest Christian community in Turkey while he tries to impose, the paradox is not the least, as the leader of the Muslim world, all claiming to lead a secular state. A fable that can only be believed by the naive “intellectuals” of the West.
After a meeting between Atéshian and the Turkish Minister of the Interior in Ankara last week, he traveled in person to Istanbul on 9 February to preside over a three-hour meeting at which a number of parish “leaders” and “benefactors”. The leader of this assembly of oligarchs was Bédros Shirinoglu, head of the hospital Saint-Sauveur, another Armenian close to RT Erdogan.
The details of this long session are not yet known – will they ever be? but on the same day, the Ecclesial Council of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople met and, in accordance with the orders of power, restored Aram Ateshian to office. With the exception of the newspaper “Agos” which headlined yesterday “Thank you for the interference of the State”, the two traditional dailies “Marmara” and “Jamanak” we chose a tone “to the Ottoman” to welcome the happy ending of the crisis and the salutary intervention of power. For his part, after a long statement published by the press, Aram Ateshian warmly thanked the Minister of the Interior and the Turkish President in whose name he did not fail to join obediently many qualifiers. And to add: “We must therefore remain faithful to the teachings of the Holy Bible. At this stage of things, we must remember the following quote: Let each one submit to the authorities that govern us, for all authority comes from God, and those that exist have been established by God. That is why the one who opposes the authority resists the order that God has established, and those who resist will attract a condemnation on themselves. Indeed, one does not have to fear the magistrates when one does good, but when one does evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do good and you will have his approval, because the magistrate is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be in fear. Indeed, it is not for nothing that he carries the sword, since he is a servant of God to manifest his anger by punishing the one who does the evil. It is therefore necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of this anger, but also for reasons of conscience. It is also for that reason that you pay taxes, because the magistrates are servants of God who fully apply to this function “ (Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans 13, 1-6).
The symbol is strong, because this “day of the dupes” took place the day when the Armenian people and his Church made remember the battle of Avarair in 451. This battle posed for the first time without doubt in our history the question of the legitimacy of war and resistance to the temporal power.
For the occasion, Ateshian and his followers could have been inspired by the response of the Armenians to the Persian king who wanted to force them to deny Christ by interfering in their spiritual life: “This faith, nobody can make us to change, neither the fire, nor the swords, nor the water, nor any other terrible torture. All our possessions, all our possessions are in your hands. Our bodies belong to you, dispose of us as you wish. If you leave us our faith, we will remain faithful to you, seeking no other Lord on Earth, and in the heavens no other god in the place of Jesus Christ. Because there is no other god than him “. A kind of secularity before the hour. They have loosely opted for this terrible precept inherited from the Ottoman period “Fuck and bring to your forehead the hand that you can not cut . “
Sunday, February 11th, begins the Great Lent – Medz Bahk – may we meditate on these events during the 50 days that separate us from Easter and hope that the Armenians of Constantinople, in spite of all these uncertainties, will one day be able to elect a Primate worthy of that name, a true successor bishop of the Apostles and Patriarchs Zaven Yeghiazarian, Karekin of Trabzon, Mesrop Naroyan, Chnorhk Kaloustian.
In the meantime, honors and recognition to Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian!