Istanbul Patriarch Karekin II Passes Away

ISTANBUL (Marmara)–Archbishop Karekin Kazandjian–83rd Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul passed away at 2 am on Tuesday–at the Holy Savior Armenian National Hospital. He had served as Armenian Patriarch of Turkey for nearly eight years.

Archbishop Kazandjian had entered a coma on Sunday. His condition was deemed irreversible on Monday. The Patriarch’s health had begun declining following a 1996 lung surgery in France.

At 7 am on Tuesday–the religious service of the Patriarchate offered a memorial sermon at his bedside–after which Archbishop Kazandjian’s coffin was taken to the Holy Cathedral at Koumkapou where a short prayer and memorial service was held. At the door of the Holy Cathedral–Vicar General Mesrob Moutafian offered a few words of farewell to the Archbishop and asked the public to be patient until further arrangemen’s are made by the religious and executive councils.

At a meeting held at the Patriarchate–the religious and executive councils with representatives of community public organizations appointed a Steering Committee–led by members of the Koumkampou Executive Council–to take charge of all memorial arrangemen’s.

Public viewing will be held from 2 pm to 6 pm starting Wednesday. The church bells will rings for a minute every two hours.

Security measures have been taken to protect the wealth stored in the Patriarch’s room.

A service of last rites and consecration for the late Prelate will take place on Sunday–March 15–at 10 am–at the Patriarchal St. Mary’s Church.

The internment will take place at the Armenian cemetery in Shishli–Istanbul.

Among those offering condolences were Archbishop Khajag Barsamian–Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America–and His Holiness Karekin I–Catholicos of All Armenia’s.

Archbishop Karekin Kazandjian–was born Bedros in Istanbul in 1927 to Vagharshag and Shoghagat Kazandjian. He received his elementary education at Bezazian and Central Schools–and in 1940 entered Jerusalem’s Dzharankavoradz School.

In 1945 he became a deacon and in 1950 a celibate priest.

Bishop Kazandjian was Vice-Principal of the Dzharankavoradz School from 1946 to 1949–and was a teacher at Dzharankavoradz and St. Tarmantchadz School until 1951.

Honoring Patriarch Karekin Khachadourian’s invitation–he returned to Istanbul in December of 1951 to become principal of the not yet opened seminary. Until the seminary’s opening in January of 1954 he taught at the Central and Bezdjian Secondary Schools and served as teacher-principal at the Patriarchate’s school for reverends.

At the January 24–1954 grand opening of the Holy Cross Seminary Patriarch Khachadourian bestowed upon Bishop Kazandjian the title of Very Right Reverend. Very Right Reverend Kazandjian was principal of and lectured at the seminary until July of that year.

In September of 1959 he traveled to the United States and in January of 1960 became the parish priest of Washington’s St. Mary’s Church.

In October of 1967–His Holiness Vazgen I–Catholicos of All Armenia’s–bestowed upon him the title of Bishop.

After serving as Australia’s primate–he was assigned as Administrator at St. James Seminary in Jerusalem. Bishop Kazandjian was assigned Patriarch of Constantinople when Patriarch Shnork passed away in September of 1990.

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