Archbishop Torkum Manoogian, the 96thArmenian Patriarch in Jerusalem, and the long-serving former Primate of the Armenian Church in America, died on October 12. In 1984 General Seminary was proud to confer upon him an honorary doctorate, our highest honor. For a number of years, Prof. J. Robert Wright organized group visits for our seminarians to see Saint Vartan Cathedral and to sit at the Primate’s feet and learn about the Armenian Church and its faith and its history. He recalls Patriarch Manoogian as a friend who was “in a very true sense the living tradition that still animates the Armenian Church and its people.”
Prior to his election as Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Torkom served for a quarter-century as Primate of the Eastern Diocese. He was a vigorous, compassionate, and always impressive face of the Armenian Church of America, advocating in a principled and forceful way for their concerns and aspirations, while embodying the civilization that had bestowed works of profound art and spirituality on world culture.
Alongside his pastoral, administrative, and ecumenical duties, Archbishop Manoogian was well known as one of the world’s leading authorities on Armenian sacred music, and on its guiding spirit, the great 19th century musician-priest Gomidas Vartabed. He was a poet of considerable distinction, writing under the pen name Shen Mah, who in addition to his own meditative poems completed an Armenian translation of the sonnets of Shakespeare.
His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian will be interred at the Patriarcal cemetery in Jerusalem, among the great Armenian churchmen of past ages, on October 22, 2012.