Hundreds flocked to St. Mary’s Church in Istanbul Sunday to pay their final respects to the late Istanbul Patriarch Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, who died on March 8 ten years after being diagnosed with dementia, which incapacitated him from carrying out his duties.
Mutafian’s coffin laid in state at the church where a requiem service officiated by Bishop Arshak Khachatryan of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, one of three representatives of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians who attended the funeral service.
The funeral procession, with pall bearers carrying the casket, paused in front of the Istanbul Patriarchate building, where attorney Setrag Davoutian eulogized the late patriarch. The procession then headed toward Istanbul’s Sisli Armenian Cemetery, where the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Nouhan Manougian, blessed the grave.
Leading Catholicos Karekin II’s delegation was the representative of the Armenian Apostolic Church at the Vatican, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, who until recently was the Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the United States. Barsamian delivered the remarks from Catholicos Karekin II and was also joined by the Primate of the Gougarats Diocese, Archbishop Sepouh Chouldjyan.
A message from His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia was reach by the Prelate of Lebanon Archbishop Nareg Alemezian, who along with Bishop Magar Ashekian were representing the Great House of Cilicia.
Among those who attended the funeral was Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament representing the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
Many senior officials from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) including the party’s spokesperson Omer Celik and its Istanbul mayoral candidate Binali Yildirım, along with the presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin attended the funeral service, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Following the observance of a 40-day mourning period, Patriarchate officials will begin the process for the election of a new patriarch.