The Very Reverend, Senior Archimandrite Yeghishe Mandjikian, former Catholicosal Vicar of the Armenian Prelature of Cyprus, passes away

By Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra

Ara Mandjikian was born in Karadouran, Kessab, Syria, on March 21, 1942. At a young age he and his family moved to Bourj Hammoud, Beirut. After graduating from the Holy Forty Martyrs Elementary School, he was admitted to the Theological Seminary in Antelias in 1956. On May 22, 1960 Archbishop Khoren Paroian ordained him a deacon, and on May 23, 1963 Bishop Hrant Khachadourian ordained him a celibate priest, called Hieromonk Yeghishe.

Between 1963-1965 he supervised the Library of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, and he also taught at the Seminary and the Mardigian School. Between 1965-1974 he served as a spiritual shepherd at the Armenian Diocese in Isfahan, Iran; he headed the Armenian studies chair at the University of Isfahan; and he also taught at the New Julfa Armenian schools. On October 10, 1965 he received the rank of Archimandrite by Archbishop Ardag Manougian. In 1974 he settled in California, and in 1976 he received his B.A. from the Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures Department of the University of Columbia.

From 1976-1983, he served in the United States (Western Prelacy) as a spiritual shepherd (1976-1977: Montebello, 1977-1980: Encino, 1980-1983: Fresno), and he also taught at the Mesrobian School in Montebello, the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian School in Encino and the Department of Armenian Studies at the University of Fresno. On November 16, 1980, he was bestowed the rank of Senior Archimandrite by Catholicos Khoren I Paroian.

In November 1983, he was appointed Catholicosal Vicar in Cyprus where he served until June 1997. During his long tenure, he continued publishing the “Gibrahay Deghegadou” newsletter until 1993; additionally, thanks to his efforts, the Armenian Genocide monument was erected in the courtyard of the Virgin Mary church in Nicosia (1990-1991).

He then served as a spiritual shepherd in Canada (1997-2000: Vancouver) and the United States (2000-2002: Troy, New York; 2002-2004: North Andover, Massachusetts). Returning to Lebanon, he taught at the Theological Seminary (2004-2007), and also served as Director of the Catholicosate’s Archives (2004-2008) and Museum (2006-2009), and Headmaster of the “Bird’s Nest” School (2007-2009). From 2010-2011, he served as Catholicosal Vicar in Tabriz, Iran (Aderbadagan Diocese).

He wrote and/or edited about 20 books. He resided in Antelias, facing serious health problems for about 12 years. The Very Reverend, Senior Archimandrite Yeghishe Mandjikian passed away on February 21, 2024. His funeral took place on February 22, 2024, at the Saint Gregory the Illuminator cathedral in Antelias.

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