Istanbul - The health body appointed by the Turkish judiciary to check the health conditions of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Mesrob II, confirmed the status of dementia suffered by the Patriarch and the need to appoint an authorized guardian to make decisions in his stead. The health report issued by the Armenian hospital Yedikule Surp Pırgic - report Turkish sources consulted by Agenzia Fides - certifies that the Patriarch is absolutely not able to exercise his free will, and that no further health-related or legal verifications are needed to confirm the diagnosis.
In 2008, it was announced that Mesrob Mutafyan was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and has since withdrawn from all his duties and from public life. Since then, a debate has been opened within the Apostolic Armenian community of Turkey on the possible succession of the Patriarch. Since 2008 Archbishop Aram Ateshian, is running the day-to-day affairs of the Patriarchate after being appointed as Patriarchal Vicar of Constantinople. In recent years, senior members of the Armenian community in Turkey have begun to take into consideration the possibility of electing a Co-Patriarch with full functions. The proposal has to find the support of the leaders of the Patriarchate and then be subjected, in the form of request to the Ministry of the Interior. The regulations, dating back to Ottoman times, allow to elect a new Armenian Patriarch only when the office is vacant by the death of the titular. >>