New Armenian patriarch Maşalyan enthroned in Istanbul

The new patriarch of Turkey’s Armenian community was enthroned in a ceremony held in Istanbul on Saturday.

Sahak Maşalyan was formally seated as the 85th Patriarch of Turkey’s Armenians in a ceremony held at the Surp Asdvadzadzin Patriarchate Church in Istanbul, Hürriyet newspaper reported.

Maşalyan replaces Mesrop Mutafyan, who died in March of last year after suffering health problems since 2008. 

Maşalyan received 102 votes out of 119 in the election held among Armenian Gregorian churches across Turkey, beating rival Aram Ateşyan, who had served as acting patriarch during Mutafyan’s extended absence. 

Archbishop Ateşyan had been installed to the position by the Turkish government in 2010. 

The 58-year-old patriarch was born in Istanbul with the Turkish name of Şahin Maşalı and was ordained priesthood in 1992.