Patriarch Harutiun
Armenian Jerusalem
entrance to Armenian Patriarchate

Two of the supreme leaders of the Armenian church in the Holy

Land were kaghakatsis, members of the Mnatzaganian clan,

according to family sources. This, despite the fact that

an unwritten Patriarchate edict prohibits kaghakatsi

youth from joining the church as members of the

priestly Brotherhood of St James.

     Ardavazt Minassian, whose mother is a Mnatzaganian, and Apraham     Mnatzaganian     report     separately     that     their     common ancestral family included a son who later became Patriarch Giragos.                Giragos   was   born   in AD   1783   and   ordained   a   celibate   priest   in AD 1807.   He   was   consecrated   bishop   in   AD   1815   and   elected   Patriarch in AD 1847.                The   tales   our   two   clan   sources   tell   differ   differ   slightly   in   the details.   According   to   Ardavazt,   two   brothers   had   originally   come   to Jerusalem   in   the   early   AD   1800s   from   Persia.   Apraham   raises   the number to 4.                "The   story   I   was   told   in   my   childhood   was   that   there   were   4 brothers    that    arrived    in    Palestine    from    Tchoogha    (Djolfa    near Ispahan)," he says.                Ardavazt   reports   that   from   AD   1825   to   AD   1834,   Giragos   was posted    to    Egypt    before    returning    to    Jerusalem    in    AD    1847    as Patriarch.                While   in   Egypt,   he   fostered   a   Moslem   boy   and   converted   him   to Christianity, giving him the name Harutiun.                Harutiun,   born   AD   1819   (his   family   name   had   been   changed   to Vahabedian)   went   on   himself   to   become   the   Patriarch   of   Jerusalem,     from   AD   1886   to   AD   1889.   He   had   been   ordained   in   AD   1850   and bishop in AD 1860.                "He   was   very   successful   in   buying   a   lot   of   land   and   property   for   the   Armenian convent," Ardavazt says.                He   notes   that   Patriarch   Giragos   died   in   1850   under   suspicious   circumstances, possibly   having   been   poisoned,   a   fact   apparently   buttressed   by   an   incident   his   aunt Marianne relates.                It   seems   she   had   gone   to   pay   her   respects   to   her   distant   relative   the   Patriarch, and   when   she   came   back,   she   remarked   that   as   she   ran   her   hand   along   his   face, the hair from his beard came out in her hand.      She said they "have poisoned him!"                Apraham   says   he   had   requested   a   search   among   the   Jerusalem   Patriarchate records,   but   had   been   told   "there   was   no   entry   of   Giragos   as   a   Mnatzaganian   - which I thought was curious at the time."                     The   Patriarchate's   official   chronological   list   of   patriarchs   lists   a   "Giragos   of Jerusalem"    and    a    "Harutiun    Vehabedian."    But    research    conducted    by    Haig    A. Krikorian    (April,    2005)    does    mention    a    "Giragos    Mnatzaganian    Yerusghameatzi (1847-1850)" and a "Harutiun Vehabedian Yekibdatzi" (1885-1910).                According   to   Apraham's   account,   of   the   three   other   brothers   who   came   to Jerusalem,   one   established   the   family   line   to   which   he   belongs,   another   settled   in Jerusalem   as   well   and   became   scion   of   the   family   line   that   Berge   and   Giragos Mnatzaganian belonged to.      "The 4th disappeared, probably went West," Apraham says.                He   concedes   that   he   has   "been   intrigued   by   this   story   for   some   60   years,   and perhaps   the   time   has   come   now,   through   the   kaghakatsi   Armenian   family   tree project, for me to explore this line of my genealogy."
This project has been supported by the Gulbenkian philanthropic Foundation, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and members of the worldwide Armenian community. Reproductions of the genealogical documents [domar’s] are courtesy Photo Garo, Jerusalem. Copyright © 2007 Arthur Hagopian
Patriarch Vehabedian