Parish leaders focus on the Armenian faith

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]

August 2, 2004


With the help of experts and clergy, 10 parish leaders from throughout
the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) spent a week at
the Diocesan Center in New York City exploring a variety of aspects of
the Armenian Christian tradition.

The Diocesan run Sewny Armenian Studies seminar, titled “Light of Light:
The Armenian and His Faith”, ran in New York City from Sunday July 25,
2004, to Sunday, August 1, 2004.

The participants in the program discussed topics such as the Armenian
language, the badarak, the architecture of Armenian churches, and the
history of the sees and hierarchy of the church. They also discussed
such leadership topics as giving successful presentations and writing
press releases.

“We want to show people of all ages the important aspects of the
Armenian faith and also give them tools to teach others in their
parishes,” Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate, said. “Sending them
back to their parishes, ready to share their excitement with others, is
just one of the many ways in which we keep the Armenian heritage,
culture, faith, and traditions alive.”

Twenty-one lecturers at the session included several leading clergymen,
such as Archbishop Anania Arabajyan, Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian, Fr.
Haigazoun Najarian, Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Fr. Arakel Aljalian, Fr. Vahan
Hovhanessian, and Fr. Zenob Nalbandian. Other lecturers were renowned
academics in the fields of history, sociology, and linguistics.
Participants were eligible to earn college credit from St. Peter’s

The program was organized by Sylva der Stepanian, coordinator of
Armenian education at the Diocese. The major costs of the program —
transportation, lodging, food — were covered by endowments, allowing
smaller parishes to send representatives.

After several workshops on various topics, the participants were tested
by Professor James Jacobson, chairman of the education department at St.
Peter’s College. The participants had to deliver their own lecture on
one of the topics covered during the week’s session.

Participating in the program were:
Christine Babadjanian, St. Paul, MN
George Chahinian, Syosset, NY
Mher Dekmezian, Houston, TX
Amalia Rabbot, Bowling Green, KY
Noelle Sarkissian, Charlotte, NC
Benjamin Shahinian, Orlando, FL
John Shahinian, Orlando, FL
Ariel Strichartz, Northfield, MN
Hasmik Zamgochian, West Hartford, CT
Ida Zohrabian, Bayside, NY

— 8/2/04

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable in the News
and Events section of the Eastern Diocese’s website,

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Participants in the Light of Light seminar meet with
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, during
their week-long exploration of the Armenian faith and heritage at the
Diocesan Center in New York City.