ISTANBUL (Lraper)–His Beatitude Mesrob II–Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and all Turkey–paid a courtesy visit Tuesday to Turkish Islamic leader the Grand Mufti of Istanbul–His Excellency Necati Tayyar Tas.
Accompanied by the Chancellor of the Armenian Patriarchate–the Rev. Dr. Krikor Damadyan–and the Archpriest of the Holy Mother-of-God Patriarchal Church–the Rev. Fr. Myuron Ayvazian–His Beatitude’s visit was realized a week before the Moslem feast of Ramadan.
His Beatitude congratulated His Excellency Tas for his appointment as the Grand Mufti of Istanbul and greeted him on the occasion of the Moslem feast of Ramadan.
His Beatitude said that his early visit was due to his first official trip–next week–to Jerusalem–holy both for Jews–Christians and Moslems. The Grand Mufti thanked the Armenian Patriarch for his unprecedented visit and expressed his wish to visit the Armenian Patriarchate.
The meeting of the two religious leaders took place in a very cordial manner–while they exchanged views on inter-religious and spiritual matters.
Mutafyan is also scheduled to visit Jerusalem between January 15 to 20. The visit coincides with the Armenian Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem (January 18 and 19) and the Moslem feast of Ramadan (January 19 to 21).
This visit to Jerusalem–the Patriarch’s first oversees visit–is considered highly symbolic. The city is holy for the three monotheistic religions–and as the birthplace of Christianity will be a focal point during the Great Jubilee of the Birth of Jesus Christ in the year 2000.
While in Israel–the Patriarch will be hosted by His Beatitude Torkom II–Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul will be accompanied by an entourage of 6 clergymen and 50 pilgrims.