Abp. Barsamian Ordains 27 Priests In Armenia


T hursday July 30, 2009

Yerevan – Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of
the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), ordained 27 deacons into
the priesthood on Sunday, July 19, at St. Gregory the Illuminator
Cathedral in Yerevan.

The archbishop performed the ordination at the invitation of Karekin
II, the Catholicos of All Armenians, who presided over the Divine
Liturgy on that day.

A total of 18 deacons were ordained as married priests, and nine
deacons were ordained as celibate priests in what was the largest
ordination in the recent history of the Armenian Church. The day also
marked the Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

More than 1,500 people attended the inspiring service, including
Tigran Sarkisian, prime minister of the Republic of Armenia, government
officials, and other dignitaries.

Garbed in blue deacons’ vestments, the candidates approached the
altar as a group, on their knees. With the deacons kneeling with
hands raised parallel to their heads, Archbishop Barsamian asked the
congregation if they deemed the candidates worthy to serve as priests
of the Armenian Church.

This ritual – one of the most memorable parts of an ordination service
– invites the participation of the faithful. Many left their pews to
get a closer look at the special ceremony, lifting up small children
and reaching over the crowd to snap the occasional photograph.

Archbishop Barsamian next placed his hands on each deacon’s head –
performing the "laying on of hands" which binds all priests of the
Armenian Church into the "apostolic succession" that links priests
through the generations back to the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew,
who brought Christianity to Armenia in the first century.

Archbishop Barsamian then removed the deacons’ stoles and placed
these around their necks, symbolically bestowing on them the
responsibilities of the priesthood. As the deacons stepped forward
one by one, Archbishop Barsamian consecrated their foreheads and
their right and left hands with Holy Chrism (Muron). In the course
of this consecration, each deacon was assigned a new priestly name.

"We believe that you who are the loyal and faithful servants of God are
ready to dedicate yourselves to the Armenian people, to the Armenian
Church, to our homeland, and to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin,"
Archbishop Barsamian said during his sermon.

The new priests are ready to carry out Christ’s mission, Archbishop
Barsamian said, reminding them of Christ’s commission to the Apostles:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching
them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember,
I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)

"The role of the Armenian priest is very important," Archbishop
Barsamian added. "With his words, with his preaching, with his
ministry, the priest shares Christ’s message – the message of peace,
the message of love, the message of friendship."

Archbishop Barsamian also congratulated Karekin II and expressed his
wish for the continuing renewal and prosperity of the Armenian Church.

"It is moving for both the clergy and the laity to witness 27 deacons
committing themselves to the service of God," Archbishop Barsamian
said. "We are grateful to God, and we pray that He may grant these
new priests the blessings of the Holy Spirit, and guide and inspire
them in their ministry."

The newly ordained priests gave their first blessings to the faithful
at the St. Gregory Cathedral. Following the service, they lined up at
the foot of the altar, greeting friends and family and again offering
their blessings. The Catholicos and the members of the Brotherhood
of Holy Etchmiadzin congratulated the new priests, kissing their
foreheads and hands.

The day’s Divine Liturgy and ordination service were broadcast live
on Armenian Public Television with assistance from Holy Etchmiadzin
and the Shoghakat TV Company.

An oath of fidelity

In the evening, Archbishop Barsamian granted the nine celibate priests
the veghar – the monastic cowl, or hood – during a service at the
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Upon taking the oath of celibacy and
signing the oath of fidelity, the nine priests became members of the
Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin.

Following a traditional 40-day seclusion period of fasting, mediation,
and prayer, the new priests will be appointed to serve in different
dioceses of the Armenian Church or at various departments of the
Holy See.

The following deacons were ordained as priests by Archbishop Barsamian:
Khoren Manukian (Fr. Movses), Sargis Ayvazian (Fr. Sargis), Sahak
Sahakian (Fr. Davit), Noy Nazarian (Fr. Shahe), Hakob Gevorkian
(Fr. Andranik), Vahagn Ignatevosian (Fr. Stepanos), Arsen Haroutiunian
(Fr. Nerses), Hrachya Sagakian (Fr. Galoust), Artak Stepanian
(Fr. Babken), Roustam Petrosian (Fr. Haroutiun), Arthur Mkhitarian
(Fr. Tigran), Sargis Kesablian (Fr. Hovhannes), Eduard Sahakian
(Fr. Hayk), and Khachatur Gyozalian (Fr. Vart),

Archbishop Barsamian also ordained the following deacons as priests:
Smbat Vardazarian (Fr. Arakel), Mikayel Barseghian (Fr. Tadeos),
Avetik Hovhannisian (Fr. Nikoghos), Ashot Mirzoyan (Fr. Gevork),
Armen Khachatrian (Fr. Yeghia), Edgar Hovhannisian (Fr. Levon),
Hayk Mkrtchian (Fr. Vatche), Hovhannes Aznavourian (Fr. Sedrak),
Tatoul Hambardzumian (Fr. Karekin), Norayr Sahakian (Fr. Hakob),
Norayr Gharibian (Fr. Sahak), Armen Hmayakian (Fr. Nshan), and Narek
Vardanian (Fr. Poghos).