Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – 18/1/17
Archbishop Mesrob Krikorian was one of the prominent delegates of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox joint theological commission for dialogue and unity.
It is with deep regret that we inform our faithful that on the evening of 14 January, His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Krikorian, entered his eternal rest. His Eminence was 85 years old. Archbishop Mesrop was a devoted servant and a senior member of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin
The death of the distinguished Archbishop is a great loss for the Armenian Church.
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Church and the clergy deeply mourn the loss of Archbishop Mesrob Krikorian, and pray for the repose of his soul.
Blessed be the Memory of the Righteous.
Archbishop Mesrob Krikorian
His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Krikorian (baptismal name Gevork) was born on 25 October 1932, in Aleppo, Syria. He is the son of Krikor and Yeranuhi Krikorian. He received his elementary education at the local Haykazyan Armenian College from 1939 to 1946.
From 1946 to 1947 he studied at the Bethel College in Aleppo. After graduating college in 1947, he entered the seminary in Antelias. In 1952 he was ordained a deacon by His Brace Bishop Derenik Poladyan.
In 1952 he wrote a comprehensive study about Archbishop Stephen Syunetsi, which was published in 1958 in Beirut.
He graduated from seminary in June 1953 and was ordained as a celibate priest by His Brace Bishop Derenik Poladyan and given the priestly name of Mesrop.
From October 1953 to the summer of 1956 he taught Armenian history, Old Armenian and bibliography in the Seminary, at the same time having the position as deputy director of the library, responsible for the manuscript collection, and director of the printing house.
In 1956 he defended his Archimandrite thesis titled “Extensive descriptions of the manuscripts of Antelias, Catholicosate of Cilicia” and during the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, received a doctoral degree by His Eminence Archbisop Khad Ajapahyan.
In 1956, along with 10 members of the Brotherhood of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, transferred to the Catholicosate of All Armenians.
From 1955 to 1956 he produced and published textbooks on religion in 6 volumes. The first 3 are the History of the Holy Book, the 4th volume is Ecclesiastical Science, the 5th is Christianity and the 6th is Armenian Church History. In 1956, when Catholicos of All Armenian, His Holiness Vazgen I, of Blessed Memory; was visiting Antelias, upon seeing the books, he advised the Archbishop to visit the Homeland and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
On October 10 in 1957, Catholicos Vasken I sends a letter, dated 557, for the publication of Volume 6.
Father Mesrop was Dean of the Independent Congregation Seminary from 1956 to 1957. During that time, together with the students, they were forcibly removed from Bivka, then he was established in Beit Mery village, and with the sponsorship of Armenian nationalities continued his seminary classes for one more year.
In autumn 1957, the majority of students were moved to the Zharangavorats Seminary in Jerusalem.
From 1957 to December 1958, he lectured Religion, Old Armenian and bibliographies in the Hovakimyan-Manoukian Secondary School of Beirut, at the same time has shepherd the faithful people of Etchmiadzin.
He was one of the founders and publishers of the “Diaspora” magazine from 1957 to 1958.
In 1959 through the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation awards-scholarship, he left for Durham University in England, to study in Oriental Studies and Theology courses.
In the summer of 1959 he left for Vienna, and became acquainted with the Armenian community. During his years of study, from 1959 to 1961, he was the visiting spiritual pastor of Vienna.
In December 1961 he graduated from the University of Durham Oriental Studies Department and started work on his doctoral thesis: “Participation of the Armenian nation in the Ottoman public life in the Eastern Anatolia and Syria in 1860-1908”.
He was appointed to serve as the spiritual pastor of Vienna in January 1962.
In June 1964 he received an academic degree of Doctor of Oriental Studies. And in July he organized the Ground Blessings service of the St. Hripsime Church in Vienna.
In 1964, Cardinal Franz Kyonig established the “Pro Oriente” organization, and from the very beginning Father Mesrop has been an active member.
In Autumn 1964 in the Mother See, he received the rank of Senior Archimandrite (Tsayraguyn Vardapet) by Catholicos Vasken I.
From 1964 to 1974 he was the official representative of Mother See in the World Council of Churches.
In 1968, during his years of pastorship in Vienna, the St. Hripsime Church of Vienna was consecrated by Catholicos Vasken I, and with the participation of Patriarch Shnorhk Kaloustian of Constantinople.
In 1969 he was officially appointed as the “Pro Oriente” theological consultant and representative of the Mother See.
In 1970 together with the “Pro Orinete” advisory body, he organized an informal dialogue between the Oriental Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, and the first conference was held in September, 1971. During the conference a Christological formula was adopted, through which the Heads of the Church later were guided, by composing joint statements and memoranda. The meetings have also been held in 1973, 1976, 1978 and 1988. During those years, Archbishop Mesrop was appointed as the honorary member of the “Pro Oriente” Kuratorium.
In 1979 Archbishop Mesrop was appointed and in January 1980, by to the Pontifical Encyclical, was established as the Pontifical Legate for Central Europe and Sweden. In 1991 when Germany was declared as a separate province, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary were included in his jurisdiction.
He was appointed to serve as a Supreme Spiritual Council member by Catholicos Vasken I in 1980. And in 1996 he was again invited to serve as a Supreme Spiritual Council member by Catholicos of All Armenian, His Holiness Karekin I, of Blessed Memory.
On September 21, 1986, he was ordained a bishop by Catholicos Vasken I.
In 1992, on the occasion of his 60th birthday, he received the honor of Archbishop. In October of the same year, the “Pro Oriente” published the Shnorhagirk (Festschrift) dedicated to the Archbishop.
In 2002, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, he was awarded the Nerses the Graceful medal by Catholicos of All Armenian, His Holiness Karekin II.
On October 5 in October, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination, he was granted the St. Mesrop-St. Sahak medal.
On the occasion of his 70th birthday, the staff of the Academy and Matenadaran, organized a conference in the Pontifical Administration, as appreciation for the scientific activities of Archbishop Mesrop.
Archbishop Mesrop is author of several books, selected researches and articles.
In 1958, in Beirut, he published a study about Archbishop Stephen Syunetsi.
In 1999, he published the “Franz Werfel and Komitas” book in German, studying and presenting the great writer, as well as unpublished materials on the Armenian Genocide.
In 2003 “The Armenian Church” study was published in German.
For many years, he cooperated with the “Handes Amsorea” magazine. Among the National Matenadaran series he has published the following studies: “Publisher the Vanandetsis” and “The recovery of Sebeos the historian book”.
Since October 1981 till present, he lectures “Armenian nation’s political history,” Grabar in the Department of Byzantine of the University of Vienna. He also lectures on these following themes: “”Armenian medieval literature” and “Christological disputes in the Byzantine Empire”.
In 1986, the University of Vienna granted Archbishop Mesrob the title of professor.
In 2010 Archbishop Mesrop retired as Primate of the Armenian Church Diocese of Germany.