His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, and the Religious and Executive Councils of the Eastern Prelacy have learned with great sorrow of the passing of His Eminence Archbishop Suren Kataroyan, one of the oldest members of the Cilician Brotherhood, on December 17, in Montreal (Canada).
Archbishop Anoushavan traveled to Montreal for the final anointing of Archbishop Suren, which will be held on Thursday, December 21, at Sourp Hagop Church. His body will be laid to rest in the congregation’s “Zarehian” mausoleum at the Holy See in Antelias, Lebanon.
Archbishop Suren was born on June 21, 1939, in Aleppo, Syria. His lay name was Abraham. He received his elementary education at Oosoomnasirats and Haigazian Armenian schools in Aleppo. He was admitted to the seminary of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in 1954.
Following his graduation from the seminary, he was ordained a deacon in 1959 by Archbishop Dajad Urfalian, Vicar of the Armenian Prelacy of Jazeera, Syria. In 1962, Catholicos Zareh I ordained him a celibate priest, when he took the name of Fr. Suren. He received the priestly staff in 1963 from Archbishop Dajad, by then the Prelate of the Armenian Church in Lebanon. His graduation thesis was “The Evolution of Seven Sacraments of the Armenian Church according to the Bylaws of the Armenian Church.”
He was the pastor of the parish of Montreal in 1965-1973. It was during his tenure that the building of Sourp Hagop Church and the premises of the Armenian Community Center was undertaken.
In 1977, the Religious and Executive Councils of the Armenian Prelacy of Aleppo voted him for the position of vicar. On October 15 of that year, he was elected Prelate. That year too he was consecrated bishop by Karekin II, Catholicos Coadjutor of the Great House of Cilicia.
Many were the highlights of his tenure in Aleppo, including:
- The construction of two dozen residential buildings.
- Turning the church of the Holy Mother of God in the inner courtyard of the Forty Martyrs Cathedral into the Zarehian Museum, honoring the memory of His Holiness Catholicos Zareh I, of blessed memory, with the display of church ornaments as well as precious items of cultural and archeological relevance collected over five centuries
- The construction of the new Gulbenkian section at Karen Jeppe School; the purchase and renovation of a new building for Haigazian school, and the construction of a new kindergarten for Sahagian School.
- The enlargement of the headquarters of the Prelacy.
- The opening of the Aram Manoukian public center.
- The opening of the Simon Vratzian center.
- The opening of the clinic of the Armenian Relief Society in the district of Nor Kyugh.
- The opening of the Armenian Genocide Memorial complex in Der Zor and the Sourp Haroutyun (Holy Resurrection) Chapel in the desert of Margadeh, built over the ashes of Genocide martyrs.
- The Arevig school for children and teenagers requiring special education.
Archbishop Suren Kataroyan with His Holiness Aram I and Archbishop Anoushavan (Troy, November 15, 2023)
After completing his tenure in 2004, Archbishop Suren served as dean at Sourp Hagop Church in Montreal under the high auspices of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I.
Archbishop Suren has published the following books: the translation of the Book of Psalms into modern Armenian, in a bilingual version alongside the original classical Armenian (1996); the modern Armenian version of the Book of Proverbs, alongside the classical Armenian (1997); a hymnal of the Armenian liturgy, including an explanation of the liturgy (1998); the Gospel, in classical and modern Armenian (2013); a Calendar of Feasts of the Armenian Church (2013); Illustrated Liturgical Dictionary (2014); Along the Paths of Faith and Service (2015); The 90-year Harvest of the Seminary of the Great House of Cilicia (2020). His latest work was Explanation and Interpretation of the Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church.
In recognition for his service as Prelate of the Armenian Church in Aleppo, in 2011 the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, conferred on him the order of Movses Khorenatsi.
May God grant him eternal rest.