The Patriarchate of Constantinople

In 1461 sultan Muhammad II Fatih established the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople by appointing Bishop Hovakim as Patriarch. Since the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the administrative center of the Armenian Church was under the authority of Persia, by establishing the Patriarchate, the Sultan intended to control the Armenians living within the boundaries of the Ottoman state through the Patriarch.

The Patriarch had full authority over the people in both spiritual and civic power, and for all practical purposes he was an ethnarch. That was the reason that both the Catholicosates of Akhthamar and Cilicia were subject to the Patriarchate of Constantinople in all administrative matters until World War I.

Up until the first World War the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople included 52 dioceses. The dioceses of Baghdad, Cyprus, Egypt, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece were among these dioceses.

Today the Patriarchate of Constantinople has jurisdiction over the Armenian Churches of Turkey and the island of Crete, Greece.