His Beatitude Archbishop
Torkom Manoogian - 96th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem
Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian was born on February 16, 1919, in
a refugee camp near the desert town of Baquba, north of Baghdad, Iraq.
After completing his elementary education at the Holy Translators Armenian
School in Baghdad, he entered the theological seminary of the Armenian
Patriarchate of St. James in Jerusalem as the youngest student of his class.
On August 2, 1936, he was ordained into the holy diaconate by his spiritual
father and favorite teacher, the late Patriarch, Archbishop Torkom Koushagian.
At his ordination as a priest on July 23, 1939, he was given the name Torkom.
From 1939-1946 he served in various
capacities in the Armenian Patriarchate: on the Board of the Patriarchate's
official gazette, Sion, and also as sub-dean at the seminary. In
July 1946 he traveled to the United States and took up the pastorate of
the Holy Trinity Armenian Church in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This
pastorate was interrupted in 1951 when he was named as Vicar General of
the Eastern Diocese of America, headquartered in New York, by the Primate
of the Diocese. After resuming his pastorate in North Philadelphia for
one year in 1954, Father Torkom returned to Jerusalem where as Dean of
the Seminary he assumed responsibility for the religious education of young
preparing for the priesthood. He also headed the Chancellery of the Patriarchate.
Returning to the United States in
1960, he entered the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
to follow a course of graduate study. This study was interrupted when in
1962 he was elected as Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church
located in Los Angeles. On October 14 of that same year he was consecrated
a bishop at the Holy See of Ejmiatsin, Armenia, by His Holiness Vazken
I, the late Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
After four years as Primate of the
Western Diocese, in April 1966, Bishop Torkom was elected Primate of the
Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. Two years later, on
the occasion of the consecration of St. Vartan Cathedral, the first Armenian
cathedral in America in whose construction he played a pivotal role, the
late Holiness Vazken I conferred upon Bishop Torkom the title of Archbishop.
Having served six consecutive terms
as Primate of the Eastern Diocese--24 years--Archbishop Torkom was elected
96th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem on March, 22. 1990.
When the late Catholicos Vazken I
entered into eternal rest on August 19, 1994, His Beatitude was chosen
to take responsibility for the Holy See of Ejmiatsin as the Catholical
Locum Tenens, a capacity in which he served until the election of Karekin
I, the new Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians in April 1995.
His Beatitude holds several academic
honors, 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
medals: the Statue of Liberty Medal, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
January 18, 1990 marked the 50th anniversary of his ordination, an event
celebrated nationwide in the United States. He was also chosen "Man of
the Year" by the "Religion in American Life." organization.
His Beatitude has played a vital
role in the promotion of international ecumenical relations. He has served
on the Board of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United
States, and was Chairman of the Board of "Religion in American Life ".
He has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the "Appeal of Conscience
In the aftermath of the devastating
earthquake which struck Armenia in December 1988, he was instrumental in
coordinating international efforts aimed at mobilizing and marshaling financial
and material support for the rehabilitation process, in which he is still
A musician, choral conductor, composer,
poet and writer, Archbishop Torkom has a wide range of personal interests
and pursuits. He has published some 20 books and monographs including three
books of poetry under the pen name "Shen Mah", original research on the
Armenian liturgy, books on the Armenian genocide, and a detailed guide
book of the holy places of Jerusalem. He has recently rendered into Armenian
the 154 sonnets of William Shakespeare.