Tiran Nersoyan; Ex-Armenian Church Leader

Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan, primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America from 1944 to 1954, has died of cancer at the age of 85.

During his 10 years as head of the diocese in the United States, 11 new churches were established and 21 priests were added. Nersoyan founded the St. Nersess Seminary in New Rochelle, N.Y., and served as its dean.

Nersoyan died Sept. 1 at St. Luke's Hospital in New York City where he lived.

The naturalized U.S. citizen was born Aug. 23, 1904, in Aintab, Turkey. He moved with his family to Syria in 1915 during the massacres of Armenians by the Ottoman rulers.

Trained at the Seminary at Jerusalem, he was ordained a priest in 1928.

In 1957, Nersoyan was elected Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem, but his tenure ended abruptly in August, 1958, when he was forcibly deported from Jordan.

He was seized by Jordan military authorities during a religious procession and placed immediately on a plane bound for Beirut. Nersoyan's supporters alleged that Jordanian authorities were influenced to deport him by the rival who succeeded him as patriarch.

Survivors include two sisters, Mariam Jebjian of Ft. Lee, N.J., and Teshkhouyn Nersoyan of Aleppo, Syria, and a brother, Hagop, of Dayton, Ohio.

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