Jerusalem, January 24, 2013(PanARMENIAN.Net) - Archbishop Nourhan Manoogian, the current Grand Sacristan of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, has been elected 97th Armenian Patriarch, gaining 18 out of 33 votes, in the second round of the solemn election that took place Thursday, Jan 24.
Meeting in conclave, the members of the priestly Brotherhood of St James, have cast their crucial votes on Jan 23 in the first round of elections for a successor to the throne of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
The first day's voting has now narrowed down the field of contenders to 5, with the current Grand Sacristan of the Patriarchate, Archbishop Nourhan Manoogian, in the lead with 21 votes in his favor.
Archbishop Aris Shirvanian, the Patriarchate's Director of Ecumenical Affairs, and the second favorite, has receded down the list with 16 votes.
But the Dioceses of the Armenian Church in South America seemed to have garnered a hefty chunk of voting confidence, putting in a strong performance with Archbishop Datev Gharibian, the Primate of the church in Brazil, a close second with 18 votes.
Gharibian was born in 1937 in Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, ordained a priest in 1963 and elevated to the rank of bishop in 1984.
The relatively younger Archbishop Kissag Mouradian, Primate of Argentina, and a compatriot of Gharibian, gained 15 votes. He was born in 1951, ordained at the age of 20, and consecrated bishop in 1990.
The fifth nominee, with the same number of votes, was Archbishop Sevan Gharibian, who is in charge of the financial bureau of the Jerusalem Patriarchate.
Newly-elected Jerusalem Patriarch Archbishop H.B. Nourhan Manoogian was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1948 and was ordained a celibate priest at the age of 23 in Jerusalem in 1971. He was consecrated a bishop in 1999. He was appointed as the bishop of the church in the United States. In January, 2009, H.E. Nourhan Manoogian was elected as Grand Sacristan of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the post that ranks as the second most important in the Jerusalem church.
The new Patriarch replaces Archbishop Torkom Manoogian (no relation) who passed away in October. His election must be approved by Israel and the Jordanian king.
There are an estimated 2,000 Armenians living in Jerusalem today, down from an estimated 16,000 in 1948 when the state of Israel was created.