Rome (Agenzia Fides) - The Armenian Catholic Synod of Bishops, convened by the Holy Father in Rome on September 22nd, 2021, elected the new Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians on Thursday, September 23rd. It is Raphaël François Minassian, currently titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia and bishop for the Armenian Catholic faithful of Eastern Europe. The newly elected has adopted the name Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian.
The new Armenian Catholic Patriarch was born in Beirut on November 24, 1946. He completed his studies at the Patriarchal Seminary of Bzommar (1958-1967) and studied Philosophy and Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University (1967-1973). At the Pontifical University of the Salesians, he completed a specialization course in psycho-pedagogy. He was ordained a priest on June 24, 1973. From 1973 to 1982 he was parish priest of the Armenian Cathedral of Beirut, from 1982 to 1984 Secretary to Patriarch Hovannes Bedros XVIII Kasparian, and from 1984 to 1989 responsible for the establishment of the parish complex of the Holy Cross of Zalka, Beirut.
From 1975 to 1989, Raphaël François Minassian 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 was transferred to the United States of America, where he worked as a parish priest in New York for a year. He then worked as parish priest for the Catholic Armenians in California, Arizona and Nevada until 2003. Since 2004, Minassian has been running Telepace Armenia, of which he is the founder. In 2005 he was appointed Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem and Amman for the Armenians. On 24 June 2011 he was appointed Ordinary for the Catholic Armenian Faithful of Eastern Europe. The Holy Father gave him the titular seat of Cesarea in Cappadocia for the Armenians and the title of Archbishop ad personam. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 24/9/2021)