Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian died at 93 after long illness on October 12.
Archbishop Torkom Manoogian was born February 16, 1919, in a refugee camp near the desert town of Baquba, north of Baghdad, Iraq. After completing his primary education at Holy Translators Armenian school in Baghdad, he entered the Theological Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate Jarangavoratz Jerusalem as the youngest student in his class. August 2, 1936, he was ordained deacon by his spiritual father and favorite teacher, then Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Torkom Koushagian, becoming a member of the Brotherhood of St. James. He was ordained priest celibacy July 23, 1939 and given the name priestly Torkom.
From 1939-1946, he held various positions in the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem on the board of the Patriarchate Official Gazette, Sion, and as dean of the seminary. In July 1946, he traveled to the United States to serve as spiritual pastor of Holy Trinity Armenian Church in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His pastorate was interrupted in 1951 when he was appointed Vicar of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, headquartered in New York. After regaining his pastorate in North Philadelphia for a year in 1954, Father Torkom returned to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, where he served as dean of the Theological Seminary Jarangavoratz, assuming responsibility for religious education young seminarians preparing for the priesthood. He also led the Chancellery of patriarchy.
Back 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 as Primate of the Diocese of Western Armenian Church of North America, headquartered in Los Angeles, California. On 14 October of that same year, he was consecrated bishop in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Vazgen I.
After serving four years as Primate of the Western Diocese, Bishop Torkom was elected to serve as 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 Cathedral of St. Vartan in New York, the first Armenian cathedral in America whose construction has played a central role, he was elevated to archbishop by the encyclical Pontifical His Holiness Vazgen I.
On 22 March 1990, after serving six consecutive terms (24 years) as Primate of the Diocese of Eastern Archbishop Torkom was elected to the position of 96th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Archbishop Torkom Manoogian holds several academic awards, 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 medal: the Statue of Medal of Liberty and Ellis Island Medal of Honor. January 18, 1990 marked the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, an event celebrated nationwide in the United States. It was also chosen as “Man of the Year” by the organization. “Religion in American life”
Archbishop Manoogian has played a key role in promoting international ecumenical relations. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States, and was Chairman of “Religion in American life.” He was also a member of the board of the “Appeal of Conscience Foundation.”
In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Armenia in December 1988, he played a key role in coordinating international efforts to mobilize and provide financial and material support to the rehabilitation process, in which he has always been active.
Musician, conductor, composer, poet and writer, Archbishop Manoogian has a wide range of interests. He has published some 20 books and monographs, including three collections of poems under the pseudonym “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 recently traveled to Armenia the 154 sonnets of William Shakespeare.
He is considered a leading expert and lecturer on the Armenian composer Komitas, and working on a book of liturgical music of the great Armenian musicologist.