Ateshyan’s lessons

Ateshyan’s lessons

And so, the noise around the Patriarchy of Istanbul lasting for several months calmed down in favor of Aram Ateshian, Turkish authorities’ candidate. Although several months ago in Ejmiatsin Ateshyan promised to accept any result of the elections of the Vicar, and despite the fact that he lost in those elections by major difference, Turkish authorities insisted and exclaimed: “We want Ateshian and that’s it!”

Several dozens of thousands of Armenians live in Istanbul, I do not know how much the remaining 10 million of Armenians are interested in their issue. There is a noteworthy fact in that story, nevertheless: first and foremost, assuredly, that Armenians have a tendency of thinking they are nothing and putting their personal claims above the common interest. I am sure that even in a dictator country like Turkey, if the whole elite of the Armenians of Istanbul shared a single opinion, hardly would it be possible to impose an unacceptable decision on them. Istambul’s oligarch of Armenian descent, Petros Shirinoglu’s too close relations with the Turkish authorities played a negative role in this context. However, in a country like that, is there an oligarch that does not depend from the authorities wholly?

And the second noteworthy fact is that the authorities in Turkey or elsewhere prefer dealing with a local governor possessing limited intellectual abilities. It is clear that the Patriarch of Istanbul cannot announce publicly that Ottoman Empire conducted the genocide of Armenians. But the previous Patriarchs, including Mesrob Archbishop Mutafyan, who is the de jure Patriarch until now, found the flexible diplomatic way to escape from crashing with the that gentle question. And Aram Ateshian does not escape from addressing that painful issue, but supports the theses of the Turkish propaganda in a rather flattery way. It was purely evident when Germany’s Bundestag recognized Armenian Genocide and became the target of Ateshian’s criticisms, as well as in these days, when he greeted the invasion of Turkish forces of Afrin, Syria on behalf of the Armenian Community. In both cases the Bishop of the Armenian church could have simply remained silent.

When almost every day the media was speaking about this issue, I was giving myself a question: are the lives of the Armenians of Istanbul so much dependent upon the person of the Patriarch? Aram Ateshian is the puppet of Turkish authorities? Let him enjoy the position donated by his bosses. Does any Istanbul Armenian have to compulsorily have a business with the Patriarchate? If a person is a believer, s/he can organize his/her spiritual life without a connection with any bishop. S/he can find a decent, modest, a real believer-priest and realize his/her connection with the church and religion through that person. Suchlike priests exist in Istanbul, for sure. Overall, there are more decent priests than descent bishops. Turkey is not the sole case.

ARAM ABRAHAMYAN                            

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