Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian praised the Catholicos-Patriarch’s efforts to strengthen Armenian identity.
“This is an extremely great loss for Armenian and all Armenians around the world because the Armenian people lost a loyal servant of the Armenian Catholic Church, a prominent and patriotic son of the nation who served the Church and the people with great dedication, endless vigor and faith,” he said.
“The Catholicos-Patriarch made significant efforts for preservation of the Armenian identity and the development of the comprehensive relations between Armenia and the Diaspora. His contributions to the deepening and expansion of inter-church relations are also invaluable.”
The Armenian Catholic Church is one of 23 autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the pope. It is the fifth-largest, with around 750,000 members based in Armenia and around the world.
The Catholicos-Patriarch was born in Aleppo, Syria, on Nov. 15, 1934, the sixth of 12 children. His parents had fled to Aleppo from Turkey, the site of the Armenian genocide in 1915–1917. The family settled in Lebanon in 1938.