Born in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 17, 1940, he is the 5th of a family of 8 children.
He has done his primary and secondary studies in “Les Collèges des Frères des Ecoles Chrétiennes” in Cairo. Feeling very early the vocation for priesthood, he was sent to “Collège Pontifical Léonien Arménien de Rome” in 1958, where he studied Philosophy and Theology at the very famous Gregorian University in Rome. He was fluent in Arabic, French, Italian, English and Armenian.
His was ordained priest in Cairo on Aug. 15, 1965 by His Excellency Msgr. Raphael Bayan. He served the parish of the Armenian Catholic Cathedral in Cairo from 1965 to 1968 with the R. Father Hovannes Kasparian who became Catholicos Patriarch under the name of John XVIII in 1982. From 1968 till 1990, he became pastor of the parish of Heliopolis (Cairo), where he encouraged the various religious movements. On Feb. 18, 1990, he was consecrated bishop of the Eparchy of Alexandria for the Armenian Catholics of Egypt and Sudan by His Beatitude John Peter XVIII. From 1992 to 1997, as a member of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt, he occupied the position of Secretary General of the Pastoral Council of the Catholic Church of Egypt. On Oct. 7, 1999, he was elected Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholics by the Bishops of the Saint Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church, and was named Nerses Peter XIX. He was enthroned on Oct. 24 the same year and resided in Lebanon. He received the Ecclesiastical Communion from His Holiness Pope John Paul II on Dec. 13, 1999.
As a member of the Synod of the Bishops of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Church, he became successively: Member of the Council of the Bishops of the Patriarchal Curia from 1993 to 1995, President of the Patriarchal Commission for the Vocations from 1993 to 1995, Member of the Permanent Synod from 1994 to 1999.
He lived in Lebanon for 16 year. He received the Lebanese citizenship and from day one he loved Lebanon and he was respected by all the communities in Lebanon for his integrity and loyalty.
Few month ago, at his request, Pope Francis celebrated the Pontifical Mass at the Basilica of St. Peter to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. On the same day (April 12, 2015), The Catholic Church declared St. Gregory of Narek (10th c.) Doctor of the Universal Church. It was a tremendous achievement of Patriarch Nerses.