Patriarch Archbishop Torkom Manoogian Enters His Eternal Rest

Etchmiadzin, 12 October, 2012: On October 12, 2012 His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, was informed by His Eminence Archbishop Nourhan Manougian; Vicar General of the Patriarchate in Jerusalem, that His Beatitude Patriarch Archbishop Torkom Manoogian of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, entered his eternal rest in Jerusalem at the age of 93 years old after long years of illness.

His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; the members of the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Church; the Brotherhood of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin; and the entire class of clergy; deeply mourn the death of Patriarch Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, and pray that the Lord grant consolation of the Holy Spirit to all our believers, and keep the Armenian Catholicosate of Jerusalem and its Brotherhood in His blessings and care.

Blessed be the memory of the righteous.

His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian was born on 16 February 1919, in a refugee camp near the desert town of Baquba, north of Baghdad, Iraq. After completing his elementary education at the Holy Translators Armenian School in Baghdad, he entered the Jarangavoratz Theological Seminary at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem as the youngest student of his class. On 2 August 1936, he was ordained into diaconate by his spiritual father and favorite teacher, then Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Torkom Koushagian, thus becoming a member of the Brotherhood of St. James. He was ordained as a celibate priest on 23 July 1939, and given the priestly name of Torkom.

From 1939-1946 he served in various capacities at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem: on the Board of the Patriarchate's official gazette, Sion, and also as Vice Dean at the seminary. In July 1946 he traveled to the United States to serve as the spiritual pastor of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His pastorate was interrupted in 1951 when he was appointed to serve as the Vicar of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, headquartered in New York. After resuming to his pastorate in North Philadelphia for one year in 1954, Father Torkom returned to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem where he served as the as Dean of the Jarangavoratz Theological Seminary, assuming the responsibility of the religious education of young seminarians preparing for the priesthood. He also headed the Chancellery of the Patriarchate.

Returning to the United States in 1960, he entered the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to pursue his post-graduate degree. His studies were interrupted in 1962, when he was elected to serve as the Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, headquartered in Los Angeles, California. On 14 October of that same year he was consecrated as a bishop at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, by the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Vazken I, of Blessed Memory.

After serving as Primate of the Western Diocese four years, Bishop Torkom was elected in to serve as the Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America in April 1966. Two years later, on the occasion of the consecration of the St. Vartan Cathedral in New York, the first Armenian cathedral in America in whose construction he played a pivotal role, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop by the Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Vazken I.

On 22 March 1990, after having served six consecutive terms (24 years) as the Primate of the Eastern Diocese, Archbishop Torkom was elected to serve as the 96th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.

When His Holiness Vazken I entered into eternal rest on August 19, 1994, His Beatitude was chosen to take responsibility for the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin as the Catholical Locum Tenens, a capacity in which he served until the election of Karekin I, the new Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians in April 1995.

His Beatitude holds several academic honors, including an honorary doctorate granted to him by the General Theological Seminary in New York. In 1986 he was the recipient of two prestigious American medals: the Statue of Liberty Medal, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. 18 January 1990 marked the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, an event celebrated nationwide in the United States. He was also chosen as "Man of the Year" by the "Religion in American Life" organization.

His Beatitude has played a vital role in the promotion of international ecumenical relations. He has served on the Board of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States, and was Chairman of the Board of "Religion in American Life ". He has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the "Appeal of Conscience Foundation ".

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake which struck Armenia in December 1988, he was instrumental in coordinating international efforts aimed at mobilizing and marshaling financial and material support for the rehabilitation process, in which he is still active.

A musician, choral conductor, composer, poet and writer, Archbishop Torkom has a wide range of personal interests and pursuits. He has published some 20 books and monographs including three books of poetry under the pen name "Shen Mah", original research on the Armenian Divine Liturgy, books on the Armenian genocide, and a detailed guide book of the holy places of Jerusalem. He also rendered into Armenian the 154 sonnets of William Shakespeare.

He is considered a foremost expert and lecturer on the Armenian composer, Komitas, and was working on a book of Armenian liturgical music by the great musicologist.

Information Service of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

Funeral of His Beatitude Patriarch Archbishop Torkom Manoogian is to be held October 22nd at the Armenian Cemetery on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

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