Archbishop Khajag Barsamian

Pontifical Legate of Western Europe

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian (baptismal name Sarkis) was born in 1951 in Arabkir, Turkey.

He started his religious education at the age of thirteen at the Holy Cross Seminary of Istanbul.

From 1967 to 1971, he studied at the St. James Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

In 1971, he was ordained as a celibate priest by then Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Yeghishe Derderian.

In 1973, he received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet). 

He served as the Assistant Dean Jarangavorats Theological Seminary at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. His drive for education led him to various educational institutions in the United States and Europe: General Theological Seminary of New York, Saint John’s University of Minneapolis, Gregorian University of Rome and the Eastern Institution of Oxford. He delivered lectures in the US, Italy, England, Germany, Jerusalem and Armenia. He carried out research work at the Yerevan Matenadaran (the archives depository in Armenia where several thousand historical illuminated manuscripts are preserved), Mkhitarists of Venice, and the Gulbenkian Matenadaran in Jerusalem. His works have been published in different educational and academic periodicals. Together with his education he also assumed pastoral responsibilities in different districts of Istanbul, Jaffa, Haifa and Ramleh and the United States as in Worcester, Massachusetts, Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Minnesota as well as the St. Vartan Mother Cathedral in New York, New York where he served as Vicar General of the Eastern Diocese and Director of Interchurch Relations.

In May 1990, he was elected as a Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America.  

In 1990, he was consecrated as a Bishop by the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Vasken I, of Blessed Memory. 

Archbishop Khajag is a member of the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Church.

In October 1992, Bishop Khajag was elevated to the rank of Archbishop by Pontifical Encyclical of His Holiness Vasken I, of Blessed Memory. 

As the president of the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), he has led the effort to develop the free Republic of the Armenia, and bring humanitarian assistance to its citizens.

Archbishop Barsamian is involved in a number of religious and ecumenical organizations, including the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, Religion in American Life, and the American Bible Society.  He is an Honorary Professor of the Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts. 

In November 2018, by the Pontifical Order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; His Eminence Archbishop Khajak Barsamian was appointed to serve as a Pontifical Legate of Western Europe and Representative of the Catholicos of All Armenians in Vatican (residence in Rome).