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  • Catholicos Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church Passes Away.

    The Catholicos-Patriarch of Armenian Catholics of Cilicia Nerses Bedros XIX passed away on 25 June 2015 from a heart attack in Beirut, Lebanon.

    26 June 2015


    The funeral of His Beatitude will take place in the Armenian Catholic Cathedral St. Gregory the Illuminator –St. Elijah, Beirut, at 16:00 on 30 June 2015. His body will be buried in the pantheon of patriarchs of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate.


    A Requiem Mass for His Beatitude will be served on 28 June, at 17:00 in Saint Virgin Annunciation Church, Beirut.


    Biographical features


    Born in Cairo, Egypt in 1940, His Beatitude completed his philosophical and theological studies in Rome and was ordained a diocesan priest for the Armenian Catholic Eparchy in Egypt on August 15, 1965.

     He served the parish of the Armenian Catholic Cathedral in Cairo from 1965 to 1968 with the R. Father Hovannes Kasparian who became Catholicos Patriarch under the name of Hovannes Bedros XVIII in 1982. From 1968 till 1990, he became pastor of the parish of Heliopolis (Cairo), where he encouraged the various religious movements. On Feb. 18, 1990, he was consecrated bishop of the Eparchy of Alexandria for the Armenian Catholics of Egypt and Sudan by His Beatitude Hovannes Bedros XVIII. From 1992 to 1997, as a member of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt, he occupied the position of Secretary General of the Pastoral Council of the Catholic Church of Egypt.


    On Oct. 7, 1999, he was elected Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholics by the Bishops of the Saint Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church, and was named Nerses Bedros XIX. He was enthroned on Oct. 24 the same year. He received the Ecclesiastical Communion from His Holiness Pope John Paul II on Dec. 13, 1999.



    During his 6 years of office, His Beatitude made pastoral visits to the following countries: Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, Poland, Sweden, Jordan, Ukraine, Iran, Kessab and Aleppo in Syria, Jerusalem, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentine in Latin America. He also boosted the Armenian catholic schools and encouraged the media, especially by reediting the monthly magazine “Massis” and by republishing the bulletin for the Sunday celebrations.


     On Oct. 7, 2001 on request of His Beatitude and on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of the Christening (Baptism) of Armenia, the archbishop of Mardine Ignace Maloyan, martyr of the Armenian genocide of 1915, was proclaimed Blessed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.


    In Feb. 2002, His Beatitude Catholicos Patriarch sent the first parish priest to Moscow in order to begin a new mission among the Armenian Catholics in Russia, following the opening in 1991 of missions in Armenia a nd Georgia.


    On Jamuary 2005, by the request of His Beatitude, the Holy Pontiff Jean Paul II gave his blessings on the opening ceremony of the statue of St. Gregory the Illuminator placed in one of the exterior niches of St. Peter basilica.


     In July 2006, His Beatitude visited Karabakh. This was a historical event because it was the first time in history that an Armenian Catholic Patriarch visited the Republic of Karabakh.


     In February 2008, by the initiative of His Beatitude, the Holy Pontiff Benedict XVI performed the opening ceremony and blessed the St. Gregory the Illuminator square in the presence of ecclesiastic and political figures that came from Rome as well as from all parts of the world.


    The apex of the activity of His Beatitude was the historical event of 12 April 2015, when by his initiative and request Pope Francis served a Mass for the memory of the 1,5 million deceased Armenians during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1916. During the Mass, again by the request and longtime preliminary work, the Pope proclaimed St. Gregory of Narek “Doctor Ecclesiae”-Doctor of the Church. Before the Mass the Pope spoke about the Armenian Mets Eghern (Great Massacre) using the international law term of “genocide”, referring to the Common Declaration of His Predecessor John Paul II and the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II. The effect of the Mass of 12 April were new basic documents adopted in the European Parliament and in parliaments of several countries, which was a  great step forward in the process of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.


    The contribution of his Beatitude to the Armenian Church and Armenian people must yet be valued properly in the near future.


    On the day of His Beatitude’s death the Holy Father sent a letter of condolences, in which it was stated:


    “I entrust to the merciful Father the soul of this devoted pastor who, as a priest dedicated himself tirelessly to the service of the communities for whom he was responsible, and later, as bishop, carried out his ministry with faith and zeal, first in Alexandria and then as Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians. I join in prayer with all those who are affected by his sudden passing and convey my apostolic blessing, in particular to the bishops of the Patriarchate of Cilicia of the Armenians, the family of the deceased and all those who are to attend his funeral”.


    Letters of condolences were sent also by the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II and the President of the Republic of Armenia Serj Sargsyan.