Tourists in Church of the Nativity
Tourists in Church of the Nativity Israel news photo: Flash 90

Torkom Manoogian, the Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem is dead, Arutz Sheva has learned. He died on Friday at the age of 93. Manoogian had been in a coma since January after a stroke. The custodian of one of Christendom’s oldest sites, he helmed the Armenian Orthodox communities in Israel, the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories and Jordan.

Manoogian was born in a refugee camp for survivors of the Armenian genocide located near Baquba in the Iraqi desert, studied theology at the seminary of the Armenian patriarchate of Saint-Jacques in Jerusalem and was ordained in 1939.

He was transferred to the United States in 1946 where he served as New York's Armenian bishop and then-primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.

With a Jerusalem presence dating back to the fifth century AD, today there are 2,000 Armenians living in Jerusalem, however, in 1948 when the Jewish state of Israel was founded there were 16,000.

A funeral for Torkom Manoogian will be held on October 22 at the Armenian cemetery on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. “His successor will be elected in 40 days, an appointment which needs the approval of Israel and the king of Jordan,” according to the AFP.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)