Jerusalem Armenian Patriarch to Have Co-Adjutor

JERUSALEM, November 22nd, 2010 — It was announced that the Armenian Church in Jerusalem is to have a co-adjutor patriarch to assist His Beatitude Patriarch Torkom (Manoogian), the 96th Patriarch of Jerusalem.

This was proposed by Patriarch Torkom himself, during the four-day 19th general Assembly of the monastic Brotherhood of St. James, whose members administer the Patriarchate. Patriarch Torkom, who is 94, has been in declining health for some time although he co-chaired the Assembly with Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, the primate of Diocese of Armenian Church of America (Eastern).

Born in an Iraqui refugee camp in 1919 Patriarch Torkom studied at the Armenian Seminary in Jerusalem before becoming its Assistant Dean. Following his episcopal consecration in 1962 he served in the USA as Primate of the Western diocese and for a short period of the Eastern diocese, being elected Patriarch in 19990. Following the death of Catholicos Vazgen he served as locum tenens of Etchmiadzin 1994-5. He has tried hard to reinforce the Armenian presence in the Holy Land through administrative reforms, refurbishing the dilapidated residences of the priests, renovating churches and upgrading the educational standards of the theological seminary.

His insistence on accountability and transparency and imbuing the Armenian Church with his vision of a revived Jerusalem, has earned him universal respect from all Armenians and brought a measure of much-needed stability to the Armenian community but the strains have taken a heavy toll on his health.

Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem Issues Communiqué Following General Assembly of the St. James Brotherhood


Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem Issues Communiqué Following General Assembly of the St. James Brotherhood

18 November 2010

What follows is an English-language translation of the official Armenian-language communiqué issued by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, following the General Assembly of the Patriarchate's St. James Brotherhood, which convened November 15-18, 2010.


The 19th session of the General Assembly of the Brotherhood of St. James in Jerusalem was convened in the tahlidj of the Patriarchate from November 15 to 18, with His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Patriarch, presiding and 28 members of the Brotherhood participating.

His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, was elected as Co-Chairman of the General Assembly, a task that he carried out capably.

The General Assembly was presented with the Financial Report of 2010 and the Proposed Budget for 2011. The Brotherhood carefully reviewed the Financial Report, and accepted and approved the Proposed Budget for 2011 by majority vote.

During the course of 2009-2010, the Executive Council [Dnoren Zhoghov] had held 40 routine sessions, during which the members had discussed issues concerning education, real estate, finances, the Dominical sites, public relations, ecumenical relations, local departments and others, about which the General Assembly received a report and appreciatively accepted it with an absolute majority vote.

During the meeting various issues and proposals of interest to the Brotherhood concerning real estate, finances, Bylaws were taken into consideration, and a partial election was held to replace the members of the Executive Council whose terms had expired.

The General Assembly heard reports and explanations concering Soorp Nikoghayos [Nicholas] Monastery of Jaffa, Soorp George Monastery of Ramle, Soorp Hreshdagabedats [Archangels] Monastery of Jerusalem, Soorp Hagop Church in the Armenian Monastery in Bethlehem and the basic renovations in Soorp Tarkmanchats [Translators] School. Mr. Yossi Avner, the attorney of the Monastery, presented explanations about various real estate related issues connected with Soorp Krikor Loosavorich Church in New Jerusalem and clarified all the concerns that the members of the Brotherhood had. The status of Soorp Krikor Loosavorich Church in New Jerusalem remains unchanged under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Patriarchate.

The Very Rev. Fr. Pakrad Bourjekian, the Dean of real possessions, presented the report for the Real Estate Department of the Patriarchate and answered questions from all the members of the Brotherhood. The General Assembly accepted with appreciation the explanations of the Dean of Real Estate Possessions.

During the meeting His Beatitude the Patriarch presented a memorandum to the officers of the Assembly and the Chairman read His Beatitude's wish: taking into consideration the situation of his health and the future of the Monastery, he proposes to the General Assembly of the Brotherhood to consider the issue of electing a coadjutor Patriarch and towards that end articles fulfilling the stipulations of the Bylaws to be prepared. He also advised that the Chairman, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, chair the committee of this segment of the Bylaws Committee. It is the wish of His Beatitude that approval of the articles to be added to the Bylaws be given in March of 2011.

Besides this, the General Assembly of the Brotherhood elected a new Bylaws Committee in order to amend the Bylaws of the Holy See during the course of next year.

After examining the plan to construct an income generating guest house on a plot of land on the Mount of Ascension that belongs to the Monastery, the General Assembly of the Brotherhood gave its consent.

The General Assembly of the Brotherhood expresses its appreciation to His Beatitude the Patriarch, to His Eminence Archbishop Nourhan Manoogian, Grand Sacristan, and to the Co-Chairman of the General Assembly of the Brotherhood, and the secretaries.

The General Assembly of the Brotherhood expresses its appreciation to the members of the past Executive Council and to its Chairman Archbishop Aris Shirvanian for services rendered.

The General Assembly of the Brotherhood congratulates the newly elected members of the Executive Council, wishing them success in their endeavors.

The General Assembly of the Brotherhood noted with appreciation the activities of the Education, Holy Sites, Real Estate and Finance Departments and thanked all those that gave their best for the benefit of the Holy See.

The General Assembly of the Brotherhood prays to God to keep the Holy See of St. Etchmiadzin unshaken, and give a long life to His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.

The General Assembly of the Brotherhood prays to God to always keep under his shadow the Holy See and give good health to His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian.

The General Assembly of the Brotherhood thanks all the members of the Brotherhood who have turned their immediate concern to the welfare and prosperity of the Holy See.

St. James Brotherhood with its Presiding head thanks all those who have contributed to the prosperity of the Holy See by means of material and moral assistance.

The General Assembly of the Brotherhood ended with a positive and constructive spirit. The General Assembly of the Brotherhood's 19th session ended with the Holy See's anthem being chanted in standing position and after the Dismissal prayer of the Patriarch.

November 18, 2010
Divan of the Holy See [of Jerusalem]



115th Catholicos of the East Baselios Marthoma Paulose II installed

PARUMALA, (KERALA,INDIA): Nov 1 : Baselios Marthoma Paulose II was enthroned as Catholicos of the East, supreme head of the Orthodox Church of the East and Malankara Metropolitan at a special ceremony held at St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s Church (Parumala Pally) at Parumala in Kerala, southern India, on November 1, 2010.

The 64-year-old Catholicos, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Poulose I (Former Paulose Mar Milithios), was consecrated after his predecessor His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Didymus I decided to step down on his 90th birthday on Oct. 29.

Former Catholicos His Holiness Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Didymus I was the chief celebrant at the consecration ceremony. The Newly consecrated Catholicos, Baselios Marthoma Paulose II is the eighth Catholicos since the Catholicate of the East was relocated to India and 115th Catholicos in the lineage of Catholicoi of the East in the apostolic throne of St. Thomas. He is also the 21st Malankara Metropolitan (Major Arch Bishop of India) of the Malankara (Indian) Church.

“The consecration ceremony was conducted under the rich traditions of the church. We are happy the church is getting a new head who dedicated his life in prayers,” said Orthodox seminary principal Father K. M. George.

Father George believes the new Catholicos is a great shepherd. “He prioritizes prayers and spirituality,” the priest added.

Starting with a procession, the major part of the consecration ceremony was held at the Pontifical Mass. During the consecration, the former Catholicos handed over the throne and all its designations to his successor.

The consecration ceremony

At 6.30 am all Metropolitans have ceremoniously accompanied His Holiness Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Didymus I into the Church and the day’s event began. Arch Bishop of Chengannur Diocese Thomas Mar Athanasius celebrated the Holy Qurbana. Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Didymus I was the chief celebrant for the consecration ceremony.

New Catholicos readout and put his signature on his confession of faith (Amalogia), which the new Pontiff himself piously submitted to the Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Paulose II.

Thereafter the reigning Catholicos declared that the new Pontiff is worthy to be elevated to the Catholicosate and to the throne of St. Thomas. This led to reading of the Gospel, with Metropolitans carrying the throne, on which the new Catholicos was sitting. This was to symbolize the authority of the new Catholicos over the Church of God. Staff for the new Catholicos was also handed over in a similar fashion, where nine Metropolitans held their hands below the hand of the New Catholicos, which was guided to the top by the reigning Catholicose.

Concluding the ceremony, litanies were read out, which were prayers for and divine felicitations to the new Pontiff.

Newly installed Catholicose Baselios Marthoma Paulose II completed the Holy Qurbana to mark the end of ceremony.

Priest Trustee Fr. Dr. Johns Abraham Konattu was the Master of Ceremony. Fr. M.P. George led the melodious choir.

Around 25 Metropolitans attended the event. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, Thomas Mar Athanasius,Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, Kuriakose Mar Cleemis, Zachariah Mar Anthonios, Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius, Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Paulose Mar Pachomius, Dr. Mathews Mar Severius, Dr. Yakoob Mar Irenaeus, Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Dr. Zachariah Mar Theophilos, Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos, Yuhanon Mar Policarpos, Mathews Mar Theodosius, Joseph Mar Dionysius, Abraham Mar Ephiphanios, Dr. Mathews Mar Timothios, Dr. Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros, Dr. Youhanon Mar Dimitrios, Dr. Yuhanon Mar Theodoros, Yakob Mar Elias, Joshua Mar Nicodemus, Dr. Zachariah Mar Aprem, Dr. Geevarghese Mar Julius and Dr. Abraham Mar Seraphim participated the consecration ceremony. A number of priests and thousands of faithful witnessed the historical ceremony.

Kerala Finance Minster T.M. Thomas Isaac, Jose K. Mani, and Anto Antony, MPs, K.M. Mani, P.J. Joseph, Joseph M. Puthussery, Raju Abraham, Mons Joseph, K. Sivadasan Nair, and Mathew T. Thomas, MLAs, Mar Joseph Powathil, Joseph Perunthottm, Archbishops, and Philipose Mar Chrysostum, Senior Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church, were among those who turned up to felicitate the new Catholicos.

With the consecration of His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, three Catholicoi had been consecrated at Parumala Pally. His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews II was consecrated as Catholicos of the East in 1991 and His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Didymus I in 2005.


His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II was born on August 30, 1946 in the ancient Syrian Christian family of Kollannur to K I Ipe and Kunjeetty at Thalappally Taluk in Thrissur District. His mother, Kunjeetty hails from the famous family of Pulikkottil and he was baptized at St Mary's Orthodox Church Pazhani.

He was ordained for the first stage of deaconate in Parumala Seminary in 1972 and as Priest on June 2, 1973. He was ordained as Ramban (monk) on May 3, 1983. Ramban Paul was ordained as Bishop with title Paulose Mar Milithios on May 15, 1985 by Baselios Mar Thoma Mathew I. He is the first metropolitan after Parumala Thirumeni who was ordained Bishop below age of 40. He was appointed as the first Arch Bishop of the newly formed Kunnamkulam diocese of the church on August 1, 1985.

He was unanimously elected as Catholicos designate by Malankara Syrian Christian Association on October 12, 2006.

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of the East traces its origins to Saint Thomas the Apostle who evangelized India. The Orthodox Church of the East, also known as the Indian Orthodox Church, is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church, with thirty million faithful worldwide. The church is most influential in Kerala.

H.H. Baselios Marthoma Didymus I, The Catholicos of the East Abdicates

DEVALOKAM (KERALA,INDIA): The great shepherd of the East, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Didymus I decided to step down.

It is in a special session of the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Orthodox Church of the East that was convened at the Catholicosate Palace, Devalokam, Kottayam, on 29th October 2010 that the supreme Pontiff decided to disclose on his abdication.

“The Almighty allowed me to lead the Church for the last five years. Looking back, I consider everything as grace of God. I love the Church and the people of God. I also thank all of you, who stood as strong support to me during these years”, said the Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan to the members of the Holy Episcopal Synod in the preface of his speech.

“For the rest of my life, I want to retreat in prayer and wish to set aside myself from all administrative responsibilities”, carried on the Catholicos.

Twenty Metropolitans including Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios attended the meeting.

A meeting of the Holy Episcopal Synod will officially convene on 30th October. Details of the abdication will be released to the media thereafter.

His Holiness The Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Didymus I was enthroned at St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s Church (Parumala Pally) at Parumala on October 31, 2005.

Historians will depict this father as the great skipper, who depended on the power of prayer than secular administrative skills to lead the children of God. Great meeting at Kottayam and two flawless Malankara Associations bear witness to the above said fact.

PHOTO: H.H. Baselios Marthoma Didymus I (right), 114th Catholicos of the East with H.H. Pope Shenouda III, 117th Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, on 6th May 2006. — CC-BY-SA image from the official Malankara Church Magazine