Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia Nerses Bedros XIXpassed away Thursday after suffering from a heart attack, The Daily Star reports.
The renowned Egyptian patriarch, who resides in Lebanon, is widely known for serving the Armenian community and promoting its interests. The patriarch had visited Armenian communities in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. to boost Armenian catholic schools.
At his request, the archbishop of Mardine Ignace Maloyan, martyr of the Armenian genocide of 1915, was proclaimed blessed by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
The Catholicos Patriarch also sent the first parish priest to Moscow in 2002 in an attempt to begin a new mission among the Armenian Catholics in Russia, following the opening in 1991 of missions inArmenia and Georgia.
Bedros XIX was ordained as a priest in Cairo in 1965. He was known to his perish in Heliopolis as Father Pierre Taza.
In 1999, the 75-year-old succeeded Hovhannes Bedros XVIII Kasparian as the Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics and took the name Nerses Bedros XIX after Bishops of the Holy Synod of the Catholic Armenian Synod elected him.
In the same year, the patriarch was enthroned and received the Ecclesiastical Communion from Pope John Paul II.