Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX passed away today, Thursday, June 25, at Jeetawi hospital in Beirut, where he had been taken following a cardiac arrest. He was 75 years old.
Boutros Taza was born in Cairo in January 1940, fifth in a family of eight children. He received primary and secondary education in the institutes of the Brothers of Christian Schools. In 1958 he moved to Rome, where he studied philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest on August 15, 1965, he carried out his priestly ministry in the Armenian Catholic parishes in Cairo, and was ordained Bishop of the Eparchy of Iskanderiya in February 1990. He was elected Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church on 7 October 1999, assuming the name of Nerses Bedros XIX.
Recently, after the Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica on April 12 by Pope Francis for the faithful of Armenian rite, Patriarch Nerses Bedros, in an interview with Agenzia Fides (see Fides 13/04/2015) expressed wise and enlightening considerations, even with respect to the frantic reactions by leading Turkish politicians at the words uttered on that occasion by the Bishop of Rome on the Armenian Genocide. "The Pope - said among other things Patriarch Nerses – is not sided 'with' Armenians 'against' the Turks. He is not against anyone. (...). His gaze embraces the world, he expresses the sense of humanity that we should all share. The memory and the condemnation of the horrors of the past can serve to prevent those things to happen again, as unfortunately is happening in many parts of the world, starting from the Middle East". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 25/06/2015)