Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni dies
· Pope Francis sends his condolences ·
Deep sadness at the sudden death of the Patriarch of Cilicia for Armenians, His Beatitude Nersès Bédros XIX Tarmouni, was expressed by Pope Francis in a telegram addressed to the Patriarchal Synod. Joining the prayers of the ecclesial community, the Pontiff recalled the close collaboration instituted by the Patriarch, pointing to the “recent declaration of St Gregory of Narek as Doctor of the Church” as a highlight of this collaboration.
H.B. Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni died on Thursday, 25 June in Beirut. He recently underwent a knee operation and on Wednesday he celebrated Mass for the Order of Malta in the Cathedral of the capital of Lebanon. Born in Cairo on 17 January 1940, he was ordained a priest on 15 August 1965. He was elected Eparchial Bishop of Alexandria for Catholic Armenians in Egypt and Sudan on 21 August 1989 and received his episcopal ordination on 18 February 1990 from Patriarch Kasparian. From 1992-97 he served as general secretary of the Pastoral Council of the Catholic Church of Egypt and from 1993-95 as a member of the Council of Armenian Bishops of the Patriarchal Curia. He also headed the commission for vocations.
On 7 October 1999 the Synod of the Armenian Church elected him Patriarch of Cilicia and he took the name Nerses Bedros XIX. Enthroned the following 24 October seguente, he received ecclesiastical communion from John Paul II on 13 December. He took part in Pope Wojtyła's visits in Egypt (February 2000), Jordan (March 2000), Syria (May 2001) and Armenia (September 2001); as well as Benedict XVI's pilgrimage in Jordan (May 2009) and his visit to Cyprus (2009).
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