October 12, 2012 - 17:49 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian died at 93 after long illness on October 12.
Manoogian was born on Feb 16, 1919 in a refugee camp near the sand-enshrouded Iraqi town of Baqoubah. As a child, he attended a school in Baghdad, the capital that Armenians who had sought refuge from the Turkish massacres, had established.
He was ordained celibate priest in 1939 and remained in the city until 1946 when he traveled to the U.S., only to return a few years later.
He was elected patriarch of Jerusalem on March 22, 1990.
Throughout his life, Manoogian garnered numerous honors and tributes, both from religious and lay institutions, among them the U.S. Statue of Liberty Medal.
He was also chosen "Man of the Year" by "Religion in American Life." He nurtured a keen interest in ecumenical affairs and has been instrumental in helping maintain the spirit of brotherly relations between the various religious institutions in Jerusalem. (In the U.S., he had also served on the Board of the National Council of Churches of Christ).
A perennial diplomat, Manoogian meticulously maintained smooth relations with both sides of the political divide in the country. The aura of charisma that enveloped him and his standing in the Armenian world, could have very easily secured him the highest accolade the church could ever grant: Catholicos (supreme head) of All Armenians. But although he served as Locum Tenens following the death of Catholicos Vazken I, he felt he would never leave Jerusalem.
Manoogian will be buried on Oct 22, in the Armenian cemetery on Mount Zion, just outside the towering walls of the Old City, bare weeks after the Armenian church mourned another of its princes, Archbishop Aghan Baliozian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.
Manoogian will be remembered as a caring shepherd and reformer. Under his tenure, the Patriarchate workforce almost quadrupled: there were more employees within the confines of the Convent of St James, seat of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, than there were people living there.