Yesterday The Armenian Orthodox Church of Jerusalem has elected Archbishop Nourhan Manougian as its 97th patriarch. Patriarch-elect Manougian, 64, replaces Torkom Manougian (no relation), who died aged 93 in October last year after falling into a coma following a stroke.
(Milan/e.p.) - Yesterday, Jan. 24th, the Armenian Orthodox Church of Jerusalem has elected Archbishop Nourhan Manougian as its 97th patriarch.
Patriarch-elect Manougian, 64, replaces Torkom Manougian (no relation), who died aged 93 in October last year after falling into a coma following a stroke.
The new patriarch, who follows a direct line of succession from Abraham, the first Armenian patriarch of the Holy City, will lead the small Armenian Orthodox communities in Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan. He will also take responsibility for parts of holy sites including the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The Armenian Orthodox Church is one of three custodians of Christian religious sites in the Holy Land, the other two being the Greek Orthodox Church and the Franciscan Custody.
Electors had come from various parts of the world to cast their votes over two days of prayer and deliberation, eventually shortlisting the candidates to two. Archbishop Manougian won the election with 17 votes, two more than Archbishop Aris Shirvanian, who had been serving as interim patriarch, AFP reported.
The election result must now be approved by Israel and King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Born in Aleppo, Syria, in on July 22nd 1948, Manougian was ordained in Jerusalem in 1971. In 1961 he entered the Theological Seminary of Antelias, Lebanon and in 1966 he attended the Jarangavortz seminary that belongs to the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. In 1971 he was ordained a priest by the then-Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Yeghishe Derderian, and took the name of Nourhan. For two years, he was vice-rector of the seminary Jarangavortz. In 1975 he became rector.
In 1972-73 Fr. Nourhan was also made chaplain of the Armenians in Geneva. In 1973 he was awarded the title of Archimandrite. From 1974 to 1980 he had pastoral responsibility for the Armenian community in Haifa, Israel.
Between 1980 and 1983 Patriarch Torkom Manougian sent him to New York to further his theological studies and remained at the service of the North American Armenian community until 1998. Over the past four years he has been responsible for the church of St. Gevork in Houston, Texas. On 14 December 1999 he was ordained bishop by the Catholicos of All Armenians, Patriarch Karekin II, who raised him to the rank of archbishop a year later. It is 2009, Archbishop Manougian was appointed patriarchal vicar.
He is expected to face many challenges as patriarch, both as pastor of his flock and being one of the three custodians of the Holy Places.
But Manougian, who is said to have a “no-nonsense” attitude, is expected to be a stout defender of his church and defy any threats to the Armenian presence in Jerusalem. Armenian Orthodox also believe he will bring a strong measure of stability to an institution that has seen a fair amount of turbulence in recent years.
Armenians all over the world look upon Jerusalem as their second most significant source of spiritual rejuvenation and reinforcement, and its patriarchs have traditionally held more sway in universal church affairs than the relatively small number of their fold merited.
An estimated 2,000 Armenians live in Jerusalem today, down from around 16,000 in 1948 when the state of Israel was created.
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