For the occasion of the 559th anniversary of the Turkish Armenian Patriarchate, Evening Prayers and Thanksgiving Prayers were held in Surp Asdvadzadzin (Virgin Mary) Patriarchate Central Church in Kumkapı on May 30, 2020, under the leadership of His Beatitude Patriarch Sahak II. Previously, Patriarch Sahak II delivered his speech for this special day and Prayers were broadcasted live on the Patriarchate’s Facebook page. His Beatitude Patriarch Sahak II, said in his speech, in Armenian:
There has always been an Armenian community in Istanbul.
As a result of the domination of the Greek churches during the Byzantine period, Armenians were not able to own a church in the old settlements of the city, and they were also deprived of the spiritual hierarchy of the church.
On May 29, 1453, Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul and put an end to the Byzantine Empire.
The Armenian community gains religious freedom in the days after the conquest.
Then, the Armenians had freely performed their religious duties according to their traditions. Armenian migration from Anatolia also began to this newly conquered city. Over time, the population of Armenians increased day by day.
Churches began to be built in various districts with charitable people and public donations.
After the conquest of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet II recognized the Bursa Metropolitan Bishop Hovakim as the patriarch of the Armenian and Eastern Orthodox Christian nationalities, Syriac and Coptic Churches in the Ottoman Empire in 1461.
The Sultan gave many rights and rewards to the Armenian Patriarch just like the Greek Patriarch. Patriarch Hovakim founded the patriarchate stand in 1461 in the Byzantine monastery in Samatya.
In 1641, Patriarch Tavit I. Areveltsi transferred the patriarchal stand to Kumkapı. Now here was the spiritual center of the Armenian community in Turkey.
Before World War I, the rights and law of the Patriarchate stand spread from Eastern Anatolia to North Africa, Thrace to Europe, and even further to the West, and it also affected the newly established communities.
The Istanbul Patriarchate is one of the 4 Stands of the Armenian Apostolic Churches.
Today’s Patriarchate is the spiritual center of the Armenian communities of Turkey and Crete. It continues its ties with the Istanbul Armenians living all over the world.
This year, we are celebrating the 559th year of the Patriarchate Stand.
These long years and the flow of centuries have determined the fate of our nation in many time focused regimes. We, the heirs of a magnificent past, continue to be an important religious and cultural center of the Armenian world.
We are in the service of meeting the religious needs of our noble nation and bringing solutions to all the important issues of our community.
This stand has always had loyal and tenacious sons and daughters. This loyalty is the virtue of all our past and present spirituals and our people.
Istanbul, the heart of Western Armenians, has created a rich platform in every stage of civilization with its famous and highly skilled children. They became a pioneer union with their patriotic stances in all cultural and sports branches such as literature, art and education.
As we pass the positive and negative conditions today, we continue our historical journey. First, we trust our belief in God and then the power and strength of our nation.
We celebrate the 559th anniversary of our Patriarchate Chair with limited conditions because of the pandemic. We have often experienced such troubled times in history, but we have never lost our hope in seeing the horizon.
May God protect the Istanbul Stand forever. We seek refuge in God with prayers for the hope of living long and abundant lives with Compassionate Spirituals and their loyal sons and daughters.
Long live Turkish Armenians. Long live Istanbul Armenians and the Armenian Patriarchate that forms the skeleton.