Patriarchate of Constantinople of the Armenian Apostolic Church

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Patriarchy logo
Interior of the Frauenkirche (Patriarchal Church of the Holy Mother of God)

The Patriarchate of Constantinople is the Archdiocese of Constantinople (now Istanbul ) of the Armenian Apostolic Church and, alongside the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, one of the two patriarchates of that church.


An Armenian church building in Constantinople ( today : Istanbul ) already existed at the beginning of the 14th century. A bishop of Chalcedonian Armenians in Constantinople is attested for 1330/31 . In 1461 the Armenian bishop of Bursa , Hovakim, allegedly took over the leadership of the Armenian community in Constantinople, which was conquered by the Turks in 1453, at the request of the sultan . The Armenian bishop there obtained in the 15th / 16th. Century the title of patriarch , but only in the 17th / 18th centuries . In the 19th century, jurisdiction gradually over other prelates in the Ottoman Empire. He then acted as the officially recognized head of the Armenian and (until 1830) all other non-Byzantine Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire . His political area of ​​responsibility also included the Armenian Catholics in Sis and Aghtamar and the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as well as the West and East Syrian churches and the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria .

Ecclesiastically, Constantinople was under the Catholic of Cilicia with its seat in Sis until the 16th century (Ottoman since 1517). About immigrants from the East ( Greater Armenia ) intensified in the wake of the influence of the Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin , which fell temporarily even under Ottoman rule. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Constantinople Patriarchate actually achieved the leading position in the Armenian Apostolic Church. At that time, Constantinople was home to the Christian Armenian community with the largest number of members in the world.

The status of the patriarch under state church law made the occupation of the Constantinople Cathedral highly dependent on the changing political situation. The total of 115 pontificates (terms of office) were filled out by only 84 officials (persons). Patriarch Karapet II officiated five times (1676–1679, 1680–1681, 1681–1684, 1686–1687 and 1688–1689). Because of protests against the persecution of the Armenians in 1896 , Patriarch Matheos III. Izmirlian deposed and exiled to Jerusalem . He was only allowed to return in 1908, after the removal of Sultan Abdülhamid II .

In 1914 the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople headed 55 Armenian Apostolic dioceses or ecclesiastical administrative units with 1778 parishes, 1634 churches and around 1,390,000 believers. The Armenian dioceses of Cyprus , Bulgaria , Romania and Greece were included . The patriarchate itself and bishops for various areas in and around Istanbul have remained . The Catholic of Aghtamar , which was occupied until 1895, became part of the Constantinople Patriarchate.

During the First World War , the Patriarchate of Constantinople was temporarily dissolved. A state law of August 1, 1916 created a short-lived " Catholic of Jerusalem " as the head of all Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. For the first Jerusalem Catholicos-Patriarch was Sahag II. Khabayan appointed the exiled Catholicos of Cilicia . The ousted Patriarch Zaven Der Yeghiayan of Constantinople (1913–1922) was assigned to Baghdad as his place of residence. In 1919 he returned to office from exile, resigned under pressure in 1922 and fled to Bulgaria .


At present, only a Turkish citizen can be elected as the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople. In fact, his election must also be acceptable to the government. Officially, it is only reported to her and the new patriarch is granted the right to wear his official attire in public by a cabinet decision, as is only permitted to heads of religious communities in Turkey.

Today, the patriarchate hardly has more than a diocese and around 70,000 believers, 60,000 of whom live in Turkey. This makes the Armenian Apostolic Church the largest Christian community in Turkey today. 45,000 of the church members live in Istanbul and the surrounding area and own around 35 churches. There are also parishes in Kayseri , Diyarbakır , İskenderun and Vakif ( Hatay ).

The seat and cathedral of the Patriarch are located in the Kumkapı district of Istanbul's Eminönü district .

The last patriarch, SS Mesrop Mutafyan , was unable to exercise his office for years for health reasons before his death in March 2019. In December 2019, Bishop Sahag II. Maschalian was elected as his successor and the 85th Patriarch of Constantinople of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

See also


  • Markus Rahn: The emergence of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople (= Studies on Oriental Church History. Vol. 20). Lit, Münster et al. 2002, ISBN 3-8258-6207-0 (At the same time: Marburg, Universität, Dissertation, 2001), (Review by Hubert Kaufhold in: Oriens Christianus. Vol. 87, 2003, ISSN  0340-6407 , p. 262 -271).
  • Hacik Rafi Gazer : Forays into the 555-year history of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople. In: Eastern Church Studies. Vol. 61, 2012, ISSN  0030-6487 , pp. 84-95.

Web links

Commons : Patriarchate of Constantinople of the Armenian Apostolic Church  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Turkish "Foreign Ministry: 89,000 minorities live in Turkey" "Containing detailed statistics about the minority groups in Turkey, the report reveals that 45,000 of approximately 60,000 Armenians reside in İstanbul ( Memento from May 1, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Bishop Sahak Mashalian Elected New Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople , accessed on 14 December of 2019.