Exarch Tertzakian Dies in Auto Accident

Exarch Hovhannes Tertzakian, Apostolic Exarch Emeritus of Armenian Catholics in the United States, was killed on 28 January when he was hit by an automobile as he was crossing the street near his residence in Belmont, Mass. He was 78 years old.

Hovhannes Tertzakian was born in Aleppo, Syria, on 3 January 1924. He studied at the Mekhitarist Monastery of St. Lazarus in Venice, Italy. After taking vows in 1940, he studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained in 1948.

Following ordination he taught in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1956 he was transferred to a school in Aleppo, Syria, and was named headmaster in 1960. Ten years later, Father Tertzakian was appointed rector of the Moorat-Raphael College in Venice. He was elected General Administrator of the Mekhitarists in 1976, then returned to the Middle East in 1979 as Provincial Superior and Administrator.From 1980 to 1982, he was Rector of the order’s college in Sevres, France. He was elected Abbot General of the Mekhitarists in 1982 and resigned in 1984 to establish a school network in the United States.

He became Rector of St. Ann’s Armenian Catholic Cathedral in New York City in 1986. In 1989 he was appointed Pro-Exarch and in 1990, Exarchate Chancellor. Pope John Paul II named him Apostolic Exarch for Armenian Catholics in the United States and Canada on 6 January 1995. He was ordained a bishop on 29 April, as Titular Bishop of Trebizonda of the Armenians. He resigned in 2000, upon reaching retirement age and had been living in Belmont.

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