Mutafyan, officially known as Mesrob II, stepped down from his duties as patriarch of Turkey's Armenian Orthodox Christian community because of ill health. He passed away on Friday in the city of his birth, Istanbul.

Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan passed away in Istanbul, age 62.
Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan passed away in Istanbul, age 62. (AA)

Armenian Orthodox Patriarch in Turkey Mesrob Mutafyan died on Friday at the Yedikule Holy Savior Armenian Hospital in Istanbul after a long battle with illness.

Mesrob II had been receiving treatment at the Yedikule Holy Savior Armenian Hospital in Istanbul since his diagnosis.

The top religious leader of Christian Armenians in Turkey was the 84th patriarch of Turkey's Armenian Orthodox community and succeeded Karekin II in 1998.

Archbishop Aram Atesyan was appointed to serve as Patriarchal Vicar after Mesrob II stepped down from his duties due to ill health. A new patriarch was not elected as Turkish law prohibits the election of a new patriarch while a standing patriarch is alive.

Istanbul-born Mesrob II studied sociology and philosophy in the United States before returning to Turkey.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1979 and appointed pastor to Kinaliada, an island near Istanbul where a small Armenian community lives.