Armenian Diocese of Cyprus

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Diocese of Cyprus

Կիպրոսի Թեմ
Armenian compound-Nicosia.jpg
Holy Mother of God Cathedral, Nicosia
- Total
(as of 2010 est.)
DenominationArmenian Apostolic Church
RiteArmenian Rite
CathedralHoly Mother of God Cathedral, Nicosia
Current leadership
PatriarchAram I
Pontifical vicarArchbishop Khoren Doghramadjian

Armenian Diocese of Cyprus (Armenian: Կիպրոսի հայոց Թեմ Kiprosi Hayots Tem), is one of the oldest dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church outside the historic Armenian territories, covering the Republic of Cyprus. It has been founded during the 12th century and currently has around 3,500 followers, comprising around 95% of the Armenians in Cyprus. The diocese is under the jurisdiction of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Church.

The seat of the diocese is the Holy Mother of God Cathedral of Nicosia. The prelacy building is situated near the cathedral, on 47 Armenia Avenue, Strovolos, Nicosia.[1] Archbishop Khoren Doghramadjian is currently the primate vicar of the diocese, serving since March 2017.[2][3]


The building of the Armenian Prelature of Cyprus in Strovolos, Nicosia

The Armenian Diocese of Cyprus was established in 973 by Catholicos Khatchig I and ever since it has maintained a continuous presence on the island. In the years that followed, some of its Prelates participated in important church synods, such as Tateos (who participated in the Council of Hromkla in 1179), Nigoghaos (who participated in the Synod of Sis in 1307) and Krikor (who participated in a conference of Greek Orthodox Bishops in Cyprus in 1340). The antiquity of the Armenian Church in Cyprus was confirmed by a bull of Pope Leo X, which was issued in 1519 after multiple discords, according to which the Armenian Prelate would be senior to and take precedence over the Maronite, Jacobite and Coptic Prelates.[4]

Historically, the Prelature has been under the jurisdiction of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, while today it is the oldest theme that falls under its jurisdiction. In the past, for various reasons, it was at times under the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem (1775–1799, 1812–1837, 1848–1861, 1865–1877, 1888–1897, 1898–1908), the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople (1799–1812, 1861–1864, 1877–1888, 1897–1898, 1908–1921), even the Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin (1864–1865). Cyprus was the place of refuge for two exile Patriarchs of Constantinople, Archbishop Tavit Areveltsi (1644-1648) and Senior Archimandrite Krikor Basmadjian (1773-1775). The current Prelate, a Catholicosal Vicar General, is as of March 2017 Archbishop Khoren Doghramadjian. The parish priest in Nicosia is Fr. Momik Habeshian (since 2000), while the parish priest in Larnaca and Limassol is Fr. Mashdots Ashkarian (since 1992).

For centuries, the Prelature building was located within the Armenian compound in Victoria street in walled Nicosia; when that area was taken over by Turkish-Cypriot extremists in 1963–1964, the Prelature was temporarily housed in Aram Ouzounian street (1964–1968) and, later on, in Kyriakos Matsis street in Ayios Dhometios (1968–1984). Thanks to the efforts of Bishop Zareh Aznavorian and with financial aid from the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, the new Prelature building was erected in 1983, next to the Virgin Mary church and the Nareg school in Nicosia, by architects Athos Dikaios & Alkis Dikaios; it was officially inaugurated on 4 March 1984, during the pastoral visit of Catholicos Karekin II. By initiative of Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian, in 1998 the basement of the building was renovated and the “Vahram Utidjian” Hall was formed; previously a store room, it became a reality from the proceeds of the auction in 1994 of the art collection that Vahram Utidjian had donated to the Prelature in 1954. It was inaugurated on 3 February 1999 by Catholicos Aram I; numerous charity, communal and cultural events take place there. The Prelature’s consistory houses a collection of ecclesiastical relics, some of which were previously in the old Virgin Mary church or the Magaravank.

The Armenian Ethnarchy of Cyprus with Catholicos Aram I (2008)

The current Charter of the Prelature, first drafted in 1945 and ratified in 1950, consists of 102 articles and, in its present form, applies as of 3 September 2010. The administration is exercised by the Armenian Ethnarchy (Ազգային Իշխանութիւն) through the Diocesan Council [Թեմական Ժողով (Temagan Joghov), consisting of the Prelate, two priests and twelve elected lay persons - 7 for Nicosia, 3 for Larnaca, 1 for Limassol and 1 for Famagusta] and the Administrative Council [Վարչական Ժողով (Varchagan Joghov), presided by the Prelate and consisting of seven lay persons appointed by the Temagan], currently chaired by Sebouh Tavitian (as of 2007) and John Guevherian (as of 2011), respectively. As of 1998, the elected Representative is ex officio a member of the Diocesan Council. There are also the local parish committees (թաղական հոգաբարձութիւններ, one in Nicosia, one in Larnaca and one in Limassol), the committee for Christian instruction (Քրիստոնէական դաստիարակութեան յանձնախումբ) and the Ladies’ committee (Տիկնանց յանձնախումբ). Under the committee for Christian instruction are the Sunday schools (Կիրակնօրեայ վարժարաններ) and the youth committee (երիտասարդական յանձնախումբ).

According to the Decision of the Council of Ministers 66.589/19–12–2007, the Armenian Prelature of Cyprus receives an annual grant of €59,800 by the Republic of Cyprus; the Republic also pays the salaries of the Prelature's clergy and covers their medical and health care (Decision of the Council of Ministers 48.166/22–07–1998). The same arrangements apply for the Maronite Archbishopric of Cyprus and the Latin Vicariate of Cyprus (the latter, however, receives an annual grant of €51,260).

List of Prelates[edit]

Below is the list of Prelates of the Armenian Prelature of Cyprus, according to available information. Unfortunately, there are some gaps:

Year Prelate Year Prelate Year Prelate Year Prelate Year Prelate
... 1179 ... Bishop Tateos 1679 Archimandrite Vartan 1822 Archimandrite Kapriel 1874–1876 Archimandrite Mesrob Ghaltakhdjian 1936–1940 Archimandrite Barouyr Minassian
... 1307 ... Bishop Nigoghaos 1704–1705 Archimandrite Minas 1827–1833 Archimandrite Haroutiun 1876–1877 Archimandrite Garabed Pakradouni 1940–1946 archpriest Khoren Kouligian
... 1340 ... Bishop Krikor 1715 Archimandrite Tavit 1837–... Bishop Hovhannes 1878–1880 archpriest Hovhannes Hunkiarbeyendian 1946–1957 Bishop Ghevont Chebeyan
1421–1425 Bishop Levon 1715–1735 Archimandrite Haroutiun 1842–1843 Patriarch Zakaria Gopetsi 1880–1881 Archimandrite Zakaria Yeghissian 1957–1958 archpriest Khoren Kouligian
1446–1467 Bishop Sarkis 1718 Archimandrite Tateos 1844 Archimandrite Tateos 1881–1883 Archimandrite Movses Geomrukdjian 1958–1967 Senior Archimandrite Yervant Apelian
1504–1515 Bishop Tavit 1736 Archimandrite Mardiros 1846–1848 Archbishop Hovhannes 1884 priest Hovhannes Papazian 1967–1968 priest Vazken Sandrouni
1553–1567 Bishop Ghougas 1744–1745 Bishop Tavit 1848 Bishop Hovhannes Yetessian 1885–1889 priest Hovhannes Shahinian 1968–1973 Senior Archimandrite Arsen Avedikian
1567 Bishop Hovhannes 1751–1753 Archimandrite Hovsep 1851 Archimandrite Kevork 1889–1896 Archimandrite Khoren Portoukalian 1974–1977 Bishop Nerses Pakhdigian
1568 Bishop Hovhannes 1773–1775 Senior Archimandrite Krikor Basmadjian 1854 Bishop Hovhannes Mamigonian 1896–1897 priest Ghevont Der Nahabedian 1977–1983 Bishop Zareh Aznavorian
1581 hieromonk Sdepanos 1779 Bishop Mardiros 1856 Bishop Apraham Bulbul 1897–1899 priest Hovhannes Shahinian 1983–1997 Senior Archimandrite Yeghishe Mandjikian
1618 monk Vartan 1783–1789 Bishop Hagop 1857–1859 Archimandrite Boghos 1899–1905 Archimandrite Bedros Saradjian 1997–2014 Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian
1642 Archimandrite Mesrob 1799–1812 Archbishop Hovhannes 1859–1861 Archimandrite Atanas 1906–1909 Archimandrite Yeremia Liforian 2014-2017 Archbishop Nareg Alemezian
1644-1647 Archbishop Tavit 1812 Archimandrite Bedros ...–1865 Archimandrite Tateos Yeretsian 1910–1912 priest Ghevont Der Nahabedian 2017- Archbishop Khoren Doghramadjian
1665 Abbot Sahag 1814 Archimandrite Sdepanos 1865–1867 Archimandrite Ghougas Khanigian 1912–1917 priest Sahag Minassian
1668 Archimandrite Hovhannes 1816 Archimandrite Teotoros 1870–1872 Archimandrite Vartan Mamigonian 1918–1919 Senior Archimandrite Yervant Perdahdjian
1670 Bishop Melidon 1817–1819 Bishop Tionesios Garabedian 1872–1873 Archimandrite Movses Geomrukdjian 1920 Archbishop Taniel Hagopian
1675–1695 Archimandrite Sarkis 1821 Archimandrite Sdepanos 1873–1874 Archimandrite Maghakia Derounian 1921–1936 Archbishop Bedros Saradjian


See also[edit]