Cambridge honors decade of priestly service

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]

November 10, 2004


By Jake Goshert

It’s not the big things that necessarily take up his day. It’s the
little ways he can help people that makes Fr. Vasken Kouzouian glad he
became a priest.

“Every day you talk with people, and meet with people, and counsel
people, and you realize you’re doing something good in the lives of
people. You go to bed comfortable that you made an impact on another
person’s life. That is a joy I wish everyone would share,” said Fr.
Vasken, the pastor at the Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA, who
celebrated the 10th anniversary of his ordination on Sunday, October 10,

“It’s just doing good for someone else. It is hard to comprehend, but
not once you experience it. Once we experience it, we all understand
and we can then change our corner of the world. That’s what Christ
wants us to do,” he said.


Though the son of a priest, Fr. Mampre Kouzouian, Fr. Vasken’s path to
the priesthood wasn’t direct. After studying political science at
Boston College he headed to law school.

“My father encouraged me to pursue other avenues first, and if I chose
to go back to the priesthood that door would always be there. He was
encouraging but wanted me to be open-minded about it, and to go and find
what it is I wanted to be in life,” Fr. Vasken said.

But after his first year of law school, he decided to enter the
seminary. He went to study at the seminary at Holy Etchmiadzin from
1988 to 1990, before coming back to finish his studies at St. Nersess
Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, NY.

But that was just the beginning of a journey that would take him from
being seminarian to becoming pastor.

“When I left the seminary I was very much interested in the theology of
the church. But my interest is now more in the pastoral side of it,”
Fr. Vasken said.

Previous to becoming pastor at Cambridge, Fr. Vasken served the St. Mark
Church of Springfield, MA, before he and his wife, Yn. Arpi, took on a
job with the Diocesan Center in New York City: revitalizing the youth
ministry effort.

Jennifer Morris, Central Council chair of the Armenian Church Youth
Organization of America (ACYOA) and a long-time friend who has gotten to
know Fr. Vasken and his wife through their youth ministry work, spoke
during the reception honoring Fr. Vasken’s anniversary. She told of the
first time she met them during their visit to her home parish, the St.
John Church in Southfield, MI, and how through the years their witness
has moved her.

“Between 1999 and 2000 my involvement in the Armenian Church became an
integral part of who I was and who I was becoming, and it was all
because of that initial visit to Detroit and the encouragement I
received to get involved,” she said. “It took only one priest and his
yeretzgin to help lead me down the right path.”

“While my interactions with Der Vasken have not been as frequent over
the last few years, his ministry and passion for the youth and support
of the ACYOA has not wavered,” she added. “I feel blessed to have been
one of the many young adults that have been personally and spiritually
touched by Der Vasken. I thank him for giving of himself so unselfishly
day after day, year after year and for his love and guidance over the


Though many credit his skills and devotion for making him a successful
priest, Fr. Vasken shares his successes with Yn. Arpi and their toddler,
Alina. From pitching-in at church functions, to quietly sitting in the
sanctuary for worship each Sunday, their commitment only strengthens Fr.
Vasken’s dedication to his faith.

“I’ve never experienced not having a family like that, since I grew up
in a priest’s family, where the rhythm of the family is centered around
the church,” Fr. Vasken said. “Still today we live at home and at the
church equally. It’s certainly part of our everyday mind and I was
blessed to meet the right person to pick up where my original family
left off.”

— 11/10/04

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

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern
Diocese, presents Fr. Vasken Kouzouian with a pectoral cross during the
celebration on October 10, 2004, marking the 10th anniversary of his

PHOTO CAPTION (2): Archbishop Barsamian blesses vestments donated by
Joyce Kolligian, Michael Kolligian III, Valerie and Harvey Thayer, and
Caroline and Olivia Thayer, during a special service honoring the 10th
anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Vasken Kouzouian, pastor of the
Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA.

PHOTO CAPTION (3): Fr. Vasken Kouzouian and his wife Yn. Arpi, gather
with family and Archbishop Barsamian during a celebration on October 10,
2004, commemorating the 10th anniversary of Fr. Vasken’s ordination to
the priesthood.

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