Haroutiun Arzoumanian was born on April 24, 1935 in Cairo to Yeghia and Srpouhi Arzoumanian, both of Everek ancestry, as the fourth of six children. He attended the Kalousdian Community School of Cairo, whose principal was then Dikran Babikian, and graduated its secondary school division in 1952. He studied chemistry at the American University in Cairo, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1956. Continuing his studies, he directly went to the Medical Faculty of the American University of Beirut, which he graduated in 1964.
As an adolescent, he attended Cairo’s Armenian Artistic Union [Hay Kegharuesdasirats Mioutiun] and played an active role in organizing its youth movement, under the watchful eyes of Avedis Yapujian. He came to know the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) leaders Alexander Saroukhan, Eugene Papazian, Hampartsoum Karayan and Dr. Nubar Berberian. He began making corrections and editing for the Arev newspaper with the encouragement of Dr. Berberian. In 1956, he took the oath and joined the ADL with Hampartsoum Karayan as his sponsor.
He also taught one year at the Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus, under the tutelage of Principal Piuzant Yeghiayan.
To the New World
In 1964, Dr. Arzoumanian moved to Philadelphia, where his elder brother Very Rev. Fr. Zaven Arzoumanian, served as a clergyman. He studied Internal Medicine for two years in two different hospitals, and in 1965 was married in a service conducted by his brother to Sima Kotchounian, a nurse. The newlyweds moved permanently to Montreal, Canada, in 1966, where Dr. Arzoumanian became involved in the new field of nuclear medicine. Their three children were born in Canada: Zaven (who became an astrophysicist with a doctorate from Princeton University), Anahid (who obtained an MBA), and Yervant (who also became a physician, specializing in radiology).
Despite his substantial professional and family responsibilities, Dr. Arzoumanian became fully committed to the development of the relatively new Canadian-Armenian community, and thanks to his calm temperament, unsullied character, modesty and conscientiousness, he won great respect from all quarters. He first joined St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Cathedral’s Parish Council as a member, and then became its chairman. Later he became a Diocesan delegate when the Canadian-Armenian churches were part of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. He joined his friend of many years, Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, in the latter’s efforts to form a Canadian Armenian diocese with its own bylaws. When Catholicos of All Armenians Vasken I in 1984 proclaimed the creation of this new diocese by appointing Bishop Vazken Keshishian as its first Primate, Arzoumanian formed a part of its Diocesan Council.