Armenian Jerusalem
Home | Disclaimer | Access

is 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 seminarians 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 Foundation ".      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 active.      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.      He is considered a foremost expert and lecturer on the Armenian composer, Komitas, and is currently working on a book of Armenian liturgical music by the great musicologist.