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Pope Makes Unexpected Stop Before Departing From Turkey

Francis Visits Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople in Istanbul Hospital

Just before departing from Turkey, Pope Francis made an unexpected stop when deciding to visit the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople in the hospital.

At the end of his three-day visit, shortly before leaving for the airport to fly back to Rome, the Holy Father paid a visit to the seriously ill Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Mesrob Mutafyan. The patriarch is being cared for at the San Salvatore Armenian hospital in Istanbul, Vatican Radio reported.

According to the Armenian Press Agency Armenpress, the patriarch is suffering from alzheimers. The news was announced in July 2008. Since that time, he has withdrawn from his duties and public life.

In spite of this, he still remains officially patriarch and archbishop, while Archbishop Aram Atesyan, runs the patriarchate’s day to day operations.

In January 2011, the source added, an official communque confirmed the patriarch was suffering from frontal temporal degenerative dementia. It also noted his mental and physical conditions were rapidly deteriorating.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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