VATICAN (Vatican Radio/Catholic Culture.org) — The Synod of Bishops of the Armenian Catholic Church has elected Bishop Gregory Ghabroyan, 80, as the 20th Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia.
The new patriarch, now known as Gregory Petros XX Ghabroyan, was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1934 and studied in Lebanon and at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1959, he was ordained a priest of the Patriarchal Congregation of Bzommar, an Armenian Catholic religious institute.
Pope Francis sent a message of congratulations to Ghabroyan.
The prelate succeeds Nerses Petros XIX Tarmouni, who died on June 25.
Ordained to the episcopate in 1977, he ministered to Armenian Catholics in France until his retirement in 2013, first as apostolic exarch and then as head of the Armenian Catholic Eparchy of Paris, which was established in 1986.
The new patriarch’s July 25 election followed a 10-day gathering of the Armenian Catholic Synod of Bishops. After his election, he requested ecclesial communion with Pope Francis.
In the message he expresses his joy at the patriarch’s election and the hope that his new ministry will bear many fruits. The pope in the congratulatory note also grants Ghabroyan the “ecclesiastical communion” which the patriarch requested in an earlier letter.
As Lydia O’Kane reports, the pope notes in the message that his election comes at a time when the Armenian church is confronted with various difficulties and challenges. Pope Francis refers to the terrible ordeals that some Armenian Catholics in the Middle East are facing.
But he adds that “illuminated by the light of faith in the risen Christ, our vision of the world is full of hope and mercy, because we are certain that the Cross of Jesus is the tree that gives life.”
Ghabroyan’s installation as patriarch will take place next month in Lebanon.