Armenian patriarch to represent Catholics at Middle East Council of Churches

Patriarch Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian. Patriarch Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian. | Screenshot from MECC - The Middle East Council of Churches YouTube channel.

Patriarch Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian is the new representative of Catholics at the Middle East Council of Churches.

The Armenian Catholic leader was elected to represent “the Catholic family” at the closing session of the council’s general assembly, held on May 16-20 in Wadi El-Natrun, northern Egypt.

He succeeds Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako, the leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church, reported ACI Mena, CNA’s Arabic-language news partner.

The Middle East Council of Churches was founded in 1974 to bring together the region’s Evangelical, Oriental Orthodox, and Greek Orthodox Christians. Catholics joined the body in 1990. The council has four presidents, each representing one of its four constituent communions.

Patriarch Minassian, 75, became the 21st Catholicos-Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics in September 2021.

He succeeded Patriarch Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan, who died in May 2021 at the age of 86.

The Armenian Catholic Church is one of 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome. It has more than 700,000 members worldwide.

Before his election as patriarch, Minassian served as the bishop of Armenian Catholics in Eastern Europe since 2011.

He was born to an Armenian family in Lebanon on Oct. 24, 1946. He was ordained in 1973 in Beirut as a priest of the Patriarchal Congregation of Bzommar, an Armenian Catholic religious congregation of priests founded in 1750.

From 1990 to 2006, he served as a pastor in California, where he helped to create a foundation supporting humanitarian projects in Armenia. He also initiated the construction of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic Church in Glendale.

In 2005, he was appointed leader of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate of Jerusalem and Amman. In 2009, he established perpetual Eucharistic adoration at the church marking the Fourth Station of the Way of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.

In a statement at the end of their general assembly, members of the Middle East Council of Churches said that they were praying “for the stability of the Middle East, the end of wars and conflicts, the lifting of the epidemic and inflation, and the establishment of security and peace in the East and the world, so that everyone may explore the path of peace.”

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