Istanbul Patriarch Takes Sick leave

ISTANBUL–The Patriarch of Istanbul, Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan has taken a six-month leave of absence following surgery on his thyroid gland, after he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this month.

“The Spiritual Council represented by archbishops Aram Ateshyan and Shahan Ayvazyan will assume his duties,” a source at the Istanbul Patriarchate said said.

Archbishop Mutafyan has headed the Istanbul Patriarchate since 1998.

According to the Turkish Constitution, if the head of the church is unable to perform his duties, a new leader should be elected, after names of candidates are forwarded for government approval.

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