On June 26, 2015 in Washington DC, In Defense of Christians (IDC) Executive Director Kirsten Evans made the following statement:

“With deepest sympathy IDC unites itself to the Armenian Catholic Church as it mourns the loss of pastor and brother, Patriarch of Cilicia Nerses Bedros XIX.

Ordained a priest in 1965 at 25 years of age, ordained bishop of Alexandria in 1989 and named Patriarch of Cilicia in 1999, Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni was a beloved and tireless servant of the Armenian people. As leader of the Armenian Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX was responsible for the spiritual care of the church’s 376,000 members, including eparchies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and the United States. The patriarch traveled throughout the Middle East, Europe and the United States attending his flock. He sent missionaries to Russia to attend the Diaspora there. He promoted the promulgation of Armenian Catholic education abroad to maintain the heritage of faith and cultural identity among the global community. At Patriarch Nerses Bedros’ request, the archbishop of Mardine Ignace Maloyan, martyr of the Armenian genocide of 1915, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

The Armenian Catholic community has lost a great pastor and advocate with the passing of Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX. IDC stands in solidarity with the community in their time of suffering, joins them in their remembrance and thanksgiving for the gift of the life and service of this man, and assures them of our prayers for their brother and father as he reaps the eternal reward of a life of service and enjoys the vision of God.”

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