The 112th Diocesan Assembly was preceded by a clergy conference, held April 28 to April 30, at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, N.Y. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), presided at the event where members of the clergy gathered for prayer, services, and a series of presentations on various aspects of the ministry. In a written message, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, encouraged clergy of the Eastern Diocese to remain firm in their calling and to continue their service to the Armenian people.
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
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Contact: Chris Zakian
Tel: (212) 686-0710 or (973) 943-8697
May 14, 2014
CLERGY GATHER FOR ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The 112th Diocesan Assembly was preceded by a clergy conference, held April 28 to April 30, at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, N.Y. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), presided at the event where members of the clergy gathered for prayer, services, and a series of presentations on various aspects of the ministry.
In a written message, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, encouraged clergy of the Eastern Diocese to remain firm in their calling and to continue their service to the Armenian people.
Among the first presenters at the meeting were visiting priests from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Rev. Fr. Hovel Kamaghelyan and Rev. Fr. Markos Mankasaryan. Fr. Kamaghelyan explained how the church in Armenia is working to establish orphanages, soup kitchens, and other social services. Fr. Mankasaryan spoke about youth programs offered by Holy Etchmiadzin.
Dr. Robert Gunn, director of the program in pastoral care and counseling at the Blanton Peale Institute and Counseling Center in New York City, gave a presentation titled “Love and Loss: Counseling with the Bereaved and the Divorcing.” He explained the experience of loss, and stressed the importance of the priest’s role in the healing process.
The Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar, and Very Rev. Fr. Aren Jebejian led a discussion on how the Women’s Guild Central Council can continue to reach out to parish guilds. Clergy offered suggestions, which were later presented to the Central Council.
Presentations followed on Christian education programs at various parishes. Clergy spoke about activities they have offered and shared ideas and advice on how to strengthen the faith of their parishioners. Among other topics discussed were liturgical matters, the requirements for ordination to the diaconate and sub-diaconate, the distribution of holy communion during Lent, and Diocesan youth programs.
On April 29, the Rev. Fr. Ghevond Ajamian celebrated the Divine Liturgy. A requiem service was offered for the souls of the Very Rev. Fr. Shnork Kasparian, Very Rev. Fr. Varujan Kabarajian, and Rev. Fr. Garen Gdanian.
In his message to the clergy, Archbishop Barsamian reflected on the strength of the Armenian Church in America and commended the clergy for upholding the values of Christian brotherhood. He went on to speak about the importance of St. Nersess Seminary in preparing the next generation of priests for the Armenian Church in America, and noted the seminary’s collaboration with seminaries in Jerusalem and Armenia.
He also encouraged the clergy to continue supporting the Armenian Patriarchates of Constantinople and Jerusalem by organizing parish pilgrimages to historic Armenia and the Holy Land. Turning to Holy Etchmiadzin, Archbishop Barsamian said, “When Holy Etchmiadzin, our Mother See, is strong, we, too, are strengthened because we all belong to one body—the Armenian Church. Holy Etchmiadzin is the stronghold of our faith, and a source of spiritual nourishment for every Armenian.”
Vahan Janjigian presented the Diocese’s new strategic plan, which was developed by the Diocesan Council to benefit parishes across the Diocese. The plan focuses on six key areas: enhancing worship, offering continuing education opportunities for clergy, strengthening youth ministry, developing Christian and Armenian education programs, creating outreach initiatives to prospective members, and cultivating stewards.
Another highlight was a presentation by Dr. Lynn Cetin who introduced the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization (AAHPO) and invited its members to speak about what the organization offers to the Armenian communities in the United States and Armenia.
Leslie Aslanian Williams, coordinator of scholarships at AGBU, outlined scholarship opportunities available to clergy and lay leaders of the Armenian Church. Shaké Derderian of SIMA Tours spoke about tours of Armenia, historic Armenia, and Jerusalem, which are available to parishes wishing to organize pilgrimages.
The Clergy Conference was chaired by the Rev. Fr. Untzag Nalbandian. Rev. Fr. Vartan Joulfayan served as vice chair, Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan served as the Armenian secretary, and Rev. Fr. Ghevond Ajamian served as the English secretary. The conference was hosted by Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, N.Y., under the leadership of its pastor, Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan.
Photo 1: Dr. Robert Gunn speaks to clergy about counseling the bereaved.
Photo 2: Clergy pose for a group photo at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception.
Photo 3: Very Rev. Fr. Mamigon Kiledjian leads the clergy in singing the hymns of the Divine Liturgy.