Archive for October, 2012

The Proper Beginning of a Long Era

October 25th, 2012    |    No Comments »

(This is the first in a series of recollections of Archbishop Torkom’s years as Primate of the Eastern Diocese that we will feature on our blog in the coming weeks. The entries are excerpted from “The Torch Was Passed”—chronicling the history of the Armenian Church of America in its first hundred years.

Bishop Torkom Manoogian was in California when he received the news of his election. He was in the midst of completing his first term as primate of the western diocese, so he alerted his diocesan council that a successor would have to be chosen. …

[On August 24, 1966], Bishop Torkom stepped into the diocesan house in New York City, eager to begin his first term of office. As his first official act, the new primate expressed his gratitude to the Catholicos of All Armenians, and to all the men who had preceded him as chief bishop of the diocese. Before sunset, Manoogian was sitting down to his first meeting with the Diocesan Council.

Bishop Torkom Manoogian was forty-six years old when he took up residence in the diocesan house. He assumed the leadership of the Armenian Church of America at an auspicious moment. The previous seven decades had included some of the most trying episodes in the entire history of the Armenian people. While America had been a haven against the afflictions of the Old World, life in this adoptive home had hardly been devoid of struggle and sacrifice. These experiences would not diminish in the Armenian memory. But now, as the people of the diocese anticipated the completion of an Armenian cathedral on American soil, the difficulties of the past were cast into a somewhat different perspective. The cathedral would be a potent symbol that the Armenians had overcome adversity, that they had defied annihilation, and that they would persist into the future. This would be more than merely another achievement. It would be a victory.

All in all, quite a responsibility to place on the shoulders of the new primate. Even so, Bishop Torkom intuited that the deeper meaning of this victory lay in its promise of greater things to come. Far from being the culmination of the achievements of the Church in America, the cathedral was really only a beginning: a launching point, from which Armenians could make an even more profound impact on the surrounding society. This would become one of the guiding themes of Torkom Manoogian’s primacy, the rationale for his incessant striving for excellence within the Church. It would still be propelling him forward at the close of his tenure, nearly a quarter of a century later.

Archbishop Torkom Manoogian at the consecration of St. Vartan Cathedral in New York in 1968.

Archbishop Torkom Manoogian in office at the Diocesan Center in the 1970s.

Archbishop Torkom Manoogian Laid to Rest

October 22nd, 2012    |    No Comments »

On Monday, October 22, the funeral service was performed for His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, of blessed memory, the late 96th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, and former Primate of the Eastern Diocese, who passed away on October 12.

On the prior evening, the casket was carried in a procession from the Jaffa Gate to Sts. James Armenian Cathedral, where the Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Monday morning. The Patriarch was subsequently interred at the Holy Savior Monastery at the Zion Gate.

Archbishop Aris Shirvanian presided over the funeral, in his capacity as the newly elected Locum Tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. He was elected to that position last Friday, during a special meeting of the Patriarchate’s monastic brotherhood. He will lead the organization of a patriarchal election following the 40-day period of mourning for Patriarch Torkom.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, has been in Jerusalem this week, to pay his final respects to Patriarch Torkom. Click here to read Archbishop Barsamian’s reflection on the Patriarch’s life and ministry.

Archbishop Torkom Manoogian was also memorialized by the New York Times in its Sunday print edition. Click here to read the online obituary.

Locum Tenens Elected in Jerusalem

October 19th, 2012    |    No Comments »

Meeting in Jerusalem earlier today, the Brotherhood of St. James elected Archbishop Aris Shirvanian as the Locum Tenens of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Archbishop Shirvanian will preside over the funeral of Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the late Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, on Monday, October 22, and preside over the organization of a patriarchal election at the conclusion of the 40-day observance.

Archbishop Shirvanian most recently served as the director of ecumenical and foreign relations at the Patriarchate.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), is among the 29 members of the Brotherhood of St. James taking part in the meetings. He will join other clergy for the funeral service of Archbishop Torkom Manoogian.


On Sunday, October 21, the casket will be carried in a procession from the Jaffa Gate to Sts. James Armenian Cathedral, where a wake service will be held. On Monday, October 22, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at the cathedral. The funeral service and interment will follow at the Holy Savior Monastery at Zion Gate.