Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church

200 Lexington St
Belmont MA 02478
  tel: 617 / 489.2280    fax: 617 / 484.0218
  eMail: sbxa@bellatlantic.net     web: http://fmwww.bc.edu/ecclarm/sbxa.html (this page)

Apostolic Exarch
(US & Canada, retired):
Most Rev Fr Hovhannes Tertzakian, OMech
--deceased Monday, 28 January 2002
Pastor: Very Rev Fr Raphaël Andonian, OMech andonr@bellatlantic.net
Supplying priest: Rev Fr Paul J. O'Connor AA (Boston College) pauloc@worldnet.att.net
Archdeacon: Rev Dcn M.J. Connolly (Boston College) cnnmj@bc.edu

In memory of our beloved
Bishop and former Apostolic Exarch
for Armenian Catholics in the United States and Canada
Hovhannes Terzakian, OM
deceased 28 January 2002, aet. 78

On Monday, 28 January 2002, our beloved former Bishop and Apostolic Exarch for Armenian Catholics in the United States and Canada, Most Rev Hovhannes Tertzakian OM, a religious of the Mekhitarist Order died, at the age of seventy-eight, immediately from injuries incurred in a pedestrian traffic accident while walking near where His Grace was residing at Holy Cross in Belmont.

Presently the Parish has held
--a wake from noontime on Friday, 01 February, in the Church hall,
--a solemn vigil (Dan gark) in the Church beginning at 6.30pm on Friday evening, 01 Fenruary,
--and a Requiem Mass (Yegeghets'vo gark) on Saturday, 02 February, at 11.30.

We shall be holding a forty-day requiem service (k'arrasunk') in March on a Sunday to be announced.

Bishop Hovhannes' earthly remains will repose in Venice at the Monastery of San Lazzaro, among the brethren of his order.

"Our friend Lazarus has died." (cf John 11.11)

The Most Reverend Hovhannes Tertzakian, a priest and bishop of the Armenian Catholic Church, former Exarch of the Apostolic Exarchate for Armenian Catholics in the United States of America and Canada and former Abbot General of the Mekhitarist Order, died in a pedestrian accident on January 29, 2002. The funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, February 2nd, at 11:30 AM, in Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church, Belmont, Mass.

Bishop Hovhannes Tertzakian was born in Aleppo, Syria, on January 3, 1924 and was christened Edouard. He attended the Marist Brothers' Grammar School in Aleppo, and on November 20, 1935 he went to the Mekhitarist Monastery of San Lazzaro in Venice, Italy. On September 17, 1939 he entered the novitiate and on October 24, 1940 he took monastic vows and became a member of the Order. In October 1942 he began graduate studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Ordained a priest at San Lazzaro on September 8, 1948, Fr. Tertzakian completed his studies in philosophy and theology in 1949 with high honors. That same year he began his career in education as a teacher in the Mekhitarist School of Alexandria, Egypt, where he later became Dean of Studies. In 1956 he was transferred to the Mekhitarist School in Aleppo as Dean of Studies and Administrator, and in 1960 he was appointed Principal of the school and Superior of the Order's Middle Eastern Province.

Fr. Tertzakian was elected to the General Council, the governing body of the Order, in 1970, and was appointed Rector of the Mourat-Raphael College in Venice. In 1976 the General Assembly of the Order elected him as General Administrator. In 1979 and 1980 he was in the Middle East as Provincial Superior and Administrator. From 1980 to 1982 he was Rector at the Order's Samuel-Mourat College in Sèvres, France.

He was elected Abbot General of the Mekhitarist Order on July 16, 1982, but resigned the office on January 4, 1984 in order to go to the United States with the mission of establishing a school network to benefit children of Armenian heritage.

The Most Rev. Nerses M. Setian, Apostolic Exarch for Armenian Catholics in the United States of America and in Canada, asked Msgr. Tertzakian to become Rector of St. Ann's Cathedral in New York City, and on July 1, 1986 he accepted this invitation. On February 9, 1989 Bishop Setian appointed him Pro-exarch and, in July 1990, Chancellor of the Exarchate .

On January 6, 1995, the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, a papal bull nominated Msgr. Tertzakian as the successor to Bishop Setian as Apostolic Exarch for Armenian Catholics in the United States of America and Canada. With the same bull, the Holy Father elevated Msgr. Tertzakian to the episcopacy, nominating him to the see of Trebizond of the Armenians. On April 29, 1995 Catholicos-Patriarch Hovhannes Bedros XVIII Kasparian, assisted by Bishops Nerses M. Setian, former Exarch, and Krikor Ghabroyan, Ordinary of the Armenian Catholic Diocese of the Holy Cross in France, conferred episcopal orders on the Most Rev. Hovhannes Tertzakian in the Catholic church of the Holy Family in Glendale, California. His canonical installation in the Cathedral of St. Ann in New York City took place on May 7th. In keeping with canonical practice, the Most Rev. Tertzakian submitted his resignation on his 75th birthday.

During his tenure, Bishop Tertzakian single-handedly oversaw the renovation of the interior of St. Ann's Cathedral in New York. Under his vigilant care and guidance, the Exarchate's periodical The Eternal Flame aimed at promoting the development of spiritual growth in a life of prayer, and he supported the establishment of St. Nersès Lambronac'i Catechetical Institute, with the hope that it will enable Armenians of all ages to grow in both the unique spirituality of their Church and in the upright teachings of the Catholic Faith. In 2001 Bishop Tertzakian became resident at Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church, where he assisted as needed at divine services and where he found himself surrounded by an appreciative coterie of followers who remembered him fondly from his years in Aleppo and other stationings. He also attracted great admiration from youngsters in the parish, whom his avuncular manner put very much at ease in his presence.

And now Bishop Hovhannes greets the heavenly Bridegroom with his lamp trimmed; he has always been ready for the coming of the Lord. He served his flock without pursuing personal gain or comfort. He was obedient to a heroic degree; he chose this path even when human judgment suggested different ways out.

We will remember him with great respect and fondness. May his memory be our blessing.

Hovhannes Khosdeghian and Dcn M.J. Connolly

Armenian obituary (PDF file)
Boston Globe article
Boston Globe death notice

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