Portrait of Raphael Minassian, Archbishop for the Catholic Armenians of Armenia, former USSR and Central Europe, in his office in Yerevan. Yerevan, Armenia, January 10, 2021. Portrait de Raphael Minassian, archeveque pour les Armeniens catholiques d’Armenie, d’ex-URSS et d’Europe centrale, dans son bureau a Erevan. Erevan, Armenie, 10 janvier 2021.

Armenian Bishops Elect Former U.S. Pastor as Patriarch


ROME (Vatican News) — The Synod of Bishops of the Patriarchal Church of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon, convoked by the Holy Father in Rome on 22 and 23 September 2021, has elected Archbishop Raphaël François Minassian, titular of Caesaria in Cappadocia of the Armenians and ordinary for Armenian Catholic faithful of Eastern Europe, as Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians.

The patriarch-elect has taken the name Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian.

Minassian was born in 1946 in Beirut. He studied at the Patriarchal Seminary of Bzommar (1958-1967) and at the Pontifical Gregorian University (1967-1973), where he also studied philosophy and theology. He attended a specialization course in psycho-pedagogy at the Salesian Pontifical University.

On 24 June 1973 he was ordained a priest as a member of the Patriarchal Clergy Institute in Bzommar. From 1973 to 1982 he served as parish priest of the Armenian Cathedral in Beirut, and from 1982 to 1984, secretary to Patriarch Hovannes Bedros XVIII Kasparian. From 1984 to 1989 he was in charge of founding the parish complex of the Holy Cross in Zalka, Beirut.

From 1975 to 1989 he was a judge at the ecclesiastical tribunal of the Armenian Church in Beirut. He taught Armenian liturgy at the Pontifical University of Kaslik from 1985 to 1989, and in 1989 he was transferred to the United States of America, where he worked for a year as a parish priest in New York. Subsequently, until 2003, he was pastor for Armenian Catholics in California, Arizona and Nevada.

Since 2004 he has directed Telepace Armenia, of which he is founder. In 2005 he was appointed as Patriarchal exarch of Jerusalem and Amman for the Armenians. On June 24, 2011, the Holy Father appointed him ordinary for the Armenian Catholic faithful of Eastern Europe, assigning him the titular see of Caesarea in Cappadocia of the Armenians and the title of archbishop ad personam.

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From June 24 to 26, 2016, he received Pope Francis during his Apostolic Journey in Armenia.

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