Bishop Guregh Kapikian, one of the pillars of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the Holy Land, has died following a long illness, his family said Wednesday. He was 82.
Kapikian died in a Jerusalem hospital on Tuesday, relatives said. He was born in Jerusalem in 1921 and became a leader of the city’s Armenian community when the British mandate ended and Israel was established in 1948.
In the 1980s he played a key role in the restoration of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which Christian tradition identifies as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection. He was widely known as an expert on Jerusalem’s ancient artifacts.
Kapikian was one of four bishops of the Armenian Apolistic Church in the Holy Land, serving a community of about 20,000. Worldwide there are about eight million Armenians, slightly less than half in Armenia itself.