Armenian Synod elects new Catholicos-Patriarch of Cilicia

The Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church, meeting this week in Rome, elected Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian as the 21st Catholicos-Patriarch.

By Vatican News reporter

A ringing of bells in the Patriarchal Convent of Bzommar, Lebanon, announced the election of the Catholicos-Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics: His Beatitude Raphael François Minassian.

He had served until now as titular Archbishop of Caesarea of ​​Cappadocia for Armenians and ordinary for the faithful Armenian Catholics of Eastern Europe.

The new Patriarch succeeds Grégory Peter XX Ghabroyan, who died last May, and took the name of Raphaël Bedros [Peter] XXI Minassian. The election took place during the Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchal Church of Cilicia of the Armenians, convened in Rome by Pope Francis.


Born on November 24, 1946 in Beirut, the new patriarch was educated at the Patriarchal Seminary of Bzommar and studied philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

At the Pontifical Salesian University, he specialized in educational psychology. On June 24, 1973, he was ordained a priest as a member of the Institute of Patriarchal Clergy in Bzommar.

From 1973 to 1982, he was parish priest of the Armenian Cathedral in Beirut, then secretary of Patriarch Hovannes Bedros XVIII Kasparian. From 1984 to 1989, he was in charge of the Sainte-Croix parish complex in Zalka, Beirut.

In 1989 he moved to the United States, where he served as the pastor of Armenian Catholics in California, Arizona and Nevada until 2003.

Since 2004 he has been running Telepace Armenia, which he helped found. In 2005, he was appointed Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Amman for the Armenians. Since June 2011, he has been the Ordinary of the Faithful Armenian Catholics of Eastern Europe.

Pope Francis appointed him to the titular see of Caesarea in Cappadocia for Armenians with the title of Archbishop ad personam. From June 24 to 26, 2016, he welcomed Pope Francis during his apostolic trip to Armenia.

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