Community shares priestly dream in Virginia

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

March 10, 2004


By Jake Goshert

Tears came to the eyes of parishioners gathered at St. James Church of
Richmond, VA, on February 22, 2004. It was the second day of the two-day
ceremony, during which Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese
of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), ordained a new priest for the
Armenian Church: Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan.

“Fr. Hovsep has waited a long time for this moment,” the Primate said to
more than 180 parishioners and friends during the service. “He considered
carefully what road God was calling him to. And God’s plan for his life led
him here, to this moment. This is a lesson for us all, for God has a
purpose for each one of us.”


Fr. Hovsep, baptized as Tigran, was born in Armenia in 1972, to Ruben and
Tamar Karapetyan. His father was the athletics teacher at the seminary of
Holy Etchmiadzin, and that is where Fr. Hovsep first met and learned about
seminarians. From there he would study in Jerusalem, and then in New York,
after moving to the United States in 1997.

“My journey and longtime aspiration of becoming an ordained servant of God
has become fulfilled,” Fr. Hovsep said. “It is an incomprehensible joy for
me, as I finally and fully receive the call and accept the vow of the holy

When he was in New York, studying at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, he was
befriended by Mary Bahadurian, a member of the St. Vartan Cathedral
community. She stayed a constant supporter of his ministry when he moved to
Richmond in 2000, to become deacon-in-charge of the St. James Church. Ms.
Bahadurian served as godmother during the ordination service.

“I feel very special and happy to be his godmother,” she said. “He has
always been quiet, modest, and fun-loving. And as the years have passed he
has become more reflective and committed to his vocation. Tigran’s parents
as well as his young wife are equally pious and sacrificing in their love of

Also helping in the ordination were Fr. Arakel Aljalian and Fr. Mardiros
Chevian, who served as the sponsors of Fr. Hovsep. Bishop Vicken Aykazian,
diocesan legate, offered a prayer during the banquet following the


For most people in the Richmond parish, this was the first Armenian priestly
ordination they had ever witnessed. Yeretzgin Jennifer Karapetyan said the
emotion of the event brought tears to the eyes of many. And, she added, it
brought the Holy Spirit to the eyes of Fr. Hovsep.

“It was very moving. I had seen a tape of an ordination, but this was
incredible witnessing it. A lot of people came up and said they were moved
to tears,” she said. “And you could see something in his face. I saw a
difference, he had an expression of complete humility in the process he was
going through. I could tell he was very emotional.”

Now Fr. Hovsep is in seclusion — traditional for 40 days after an
ordination — at St. Nersess Seminary. He will celebrate his first Divine
Liturgy with the St. James parish on Palm Sunday, April 4, 2004. And when
he does return, Yn. Jennifer, whom he married last year, is ready to stand
by him in his ministry.

“I look forward to being a help to Der Hovsep. The Armenian Church has
become a spiritual light for me, and I feel very fortunate to be embraced by
the community and to be serving,” she said. “The community is excited, too,
to have its own, newly ordained priest.”

— 3/10/04

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable on the Eastern
Diocese’s website,

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, joined by Fr. Arakel
Aljalian and Fr. Mardiros Chevian, ordains Dn. Tigran Karapetyan as Fr.
Hovsep during a two-day ordination ceremony, February 21 and 22, 2004, at
St. James Church, Richmond, VA.

PHOTO CAPTION (2): Archbishop Barsamian anoints Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan
during his priestly ordination on February 22, 2004.

PHOTO CAPTION (3): Archbishop Barsamian ordains Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan at
the St. James Church in Richmond, VA.

PHOTO CAPTION (4): Mary Bahadurian, godmother of Fr. Hovsep’s ordination,
holds his new priestly vestments during the ordination ceremony on February
22, 2004.

PHOTO CAPTION (5): Archbishop Barsamian joins Fr. Hovsep and Yn. Jennifer
Karapetyan, and Fr. Hovsep’s parents, Tamar and Ruben.

PHOTO CAPTION (6): The Primate blesses Yn. Jennifer Karapetyan during the
ordination of her husband, Fr. Hovsep, at St. James Church in Richmond, VA,
on February 22, 2004.

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