Three young men at St. Gregory the Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY, began a new journey in their service to the Armenian Church when they were ordained to the diaconate on Sunday, June 22.rchbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), visited St. Gregory the Enlightener Church, where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy and performed the ordination service this month. The Primate was assisted by the Rev. Fr. Karekin Kasparian, the longtime pastor of the White Plains parish.
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
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June 30, 2014
YOUNG DEACONS ORDAINED IN WHITE PLAINS
Three young men at St. Gregory the Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY, began a new journey in their service to the Armenian Church when they were ordained to the diaconate on Sunday, June 22.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), visited St. Gregory the Enlightener Church, where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy and performed the ordination service this month. The Primate was assisted by the Rev. Fr. Karekin Kasparian, the longtime pastor of the White Plains parish.
The ordination service began with the three candidates—Peter Derderian, Michael Givelekian, and Gregory Guroian—kneeling in prayer before the holy altar. Fr. Kasparian then led the young men up to the altar and formally presented them to Archbishop Barsamian.
The Primate placed his right hand upon each candidate, and bestowed each with a stole signifying their elevation from the sub-diaconate and their new role as first assistants to the priest. The newly ordained deacons then served on the altar during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
“Today, as we observe the Feast of Holy Etchmiadzin, we commemorate St. Gregory the Illuminator’s vision in which Christ struck the ground with a golden hammer and instructed Gregory to erect a church on the site,” said Archbishop Barsamian. “The Armenian Church has faced many trials since St. Gregory’s time, but it has endured because of the commitment of countless clergy and lay people.”
“Here in America,” the Primate went on, “this legacy has been passed from generation to generation since the earliest Armenian immigrants arrived here in the late 19th century. And today we are witness to this ‘passing of the torch’ as these fine young men step forward to serve our church.”
Following services, the Women’s Guild hosted a brunch in the church’s Tutak Hall. The entire parish gathered to congratulate Peter, Michael, and Gregory on their accomplishment. Also present were members of the ACYOA Central Council, as well as the deacons’ friends and family members.
“I am very proud of our new deacons,” said Fr. Kasparian. “They are hard-working and dedicated, and they serve their church with love and joy. Peter, Michael, and Greg set an example for our Sunday School and Armenian School students, and I know how much our community respects them and appreciates their commitment.”
Peter, Michael, and Greg have been involved in the life of the Armenian Church since childhood. All three are graduates of Sunday School, and have been active in the ACYOA, attended summer camps, and participated in St. Nersess Seminary summer conferences, among other Diocesan programs.
“I have been preparing to serve on the altar for as long as I can remember,” said Peter Derderian. “It is an honor to be trusted with such a responsibility, and I pray that I am able to continue to serve the church to the best of my ability.”
The deacons credit Fr. Kasparian for inspiring them and guiding them in their path to the diaconate.
“Der Karekin has been with all three of us on our entire spiritual journey, and it is only fitting that he is here with us today,” said Gregory Guroian in remarks at the luncheon. “He has been working in the foreground and in the background to help teach the three of us everything that we know today. He has spent countless hours encouraging us, lecturing us, mentoring us, and laughing with us.”
The young men say they are also grateful to other clergy, family members, and experienced deacons at St. Gregory the Enlightener Church for their patience and encouragement.
“I am thankful for this community and everyone in it,” Gregory added. “We are excited and eager to begin our new roles, and we look forward to continuing to serve the Armenian Church and the St. Gregory community, so that future generations can share in the same love and fellowship that we have been fortunate enough to share in.”
Michael points out that there is still much for the new deacons to absorb. “The preparation of becoming a deacon has been very long and it still continues,” he said. “One can never stop learning.”
Archbishop Barsamian expressed his appreciation to Fr. Kasparian and the St. Gregory community for instilling Armenian Christian values in the young generation of parishioners.
“Der Karekin is a tireless servant of the Lord, who has inspired so many young people across our Diocese,” Archbishop Barsamian said. “We are blessed to have such leaders in our midst. It is thanks to Der Karekin—and to all of you—that the light of St. Gregory will continue to shine brightly in this blessed land of America.”
Photo 1: From left: Gregory Guroian, Peter Derderian, and Michael Givelekian kneel on the altar during the ordination service.
Photo 2: Fr. Karekin Kasparian leads the candidates to the altar.
Photo 3: The candidates face the congregation during the ordination service.
Photo 4: Altar servers pose for a group photo with Archbishop Barsamian and Fr. Kasparian.