New Pastor: St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Church of Wynnewood, PA

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Karine Abalyan
Tel: (212) 686-0710; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

January 11, 2010


On Sunday, January 3, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of
the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), visited St. Sahag and St. Mesrob
Armenian Church of Wynnewood, Pa., where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy
and joined the community in officially welcoming its new pastor, the Very
Rev. Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian.

"Fr. Oshagan has been a loyal shepherd of the Armenian Church, who has
faithfully served God and our national heritage," the Primate said. "His
energetic presence has benefited our own Diocese and the Mother See of Holy
Etchmiadzin, as well as the Armenian community of India, where he served
with distinction, and drew world attention to the country’s venerable but
little-known Armenian presence."

A welcome banquet was held in Fr. Gulgulian’s honor following services, with
almost 200 people in attendance. The Very Rev. Fr. Haigazoun Najarian,
Diocesan Vicar and a former pastor of St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Church,
delivered the invocation.

The program featured remarks and musical performances by violinist Angela
Kodokian and vocalist Karine Hovnanian. The parish also presented Fr.
Gulgulian with a hand cross during the banquet.

Fr. Armenag Bedrossian, pastor of the area’s St. Mark’s Armenian Catholic
Church, offered congratulations to Fr. Gulgulian on behalf of the
Philadelphia-region Armenian clergy.

Diocesan delegate George Kodokian offered a welcoming toast in honor of Fr.
Gulgulian. "Some of you in the audience may know the following passage from
the Bible: ‘A new friend is as new wine; when it is old, thou shall drink it
with pleasure.’ (Ecclesiastes 9:10)," he said. "Hayr Sourp, we believe that
through your spiritual leadership you will flourish and nurture the
friendships in our community so that one day we will all say together: our
friendships are now old and let’s drink it with pleasure."

The banquet was co-chaired by Diocesan delegate Lisa Manookian and Parish
Council vice chair John Torcomian. It was sponsored by the United Armenian

‘A fresh start’

Fr. Gulgulian began serving at St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Church last
summer, moving to the Philadelphia area from India where he served most
recently as the manager of the Armenian Philanthropic Academy and pastor of
the Armenian churches of India.

A native of Beirut, Lebanon, he studied at the Theological Seminary of the
Great House of Cilicia and at the Gevorgyan Theological Seminary at the
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. He was ordained into the holy priesthood in
February 1987, and continued his education in Geneva, Switzerland and at
Columbia University in New York City. In April 2003, he received a Master of
Divinity Degree in Pastoral Ministry and a Religious Teaching Certificate
from Trinity Theological Seminary in Indiana.

Fr. Gulgulian has served in the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada as
well as in the Eastern Diocese, including the communities of Richmond, Va.,
Miami, Fla., and Chelmsford, Mass.

He said he was familiar with the community at St. Sahag and St. Mesrob
Church from time spent in the Eastern Diocese. "It’s a very unique parish,"
he said. "They embraced me and they welcomed me."

Currently, the parish is preparing to co-host the 2010 ACYOA Juniors Fall
Sports Weekend over Columbus Day Weekend with Holy Trinity Armenian Church
of Cheltenham, Pa. The community also would like to build an athletic
complex – a project Fr. Gulgulian hopes to help the parish realize in the
coming years.

He said the community was glad to welcome the Primate last week, on the
first Sunday of the new year. "It was a fresh start for all of us," Fr.
Gulgulian said.

"I know that Hayr Sourp takes his vocation most seriously, and is determined
to share the spiritual riches of our church with all of his parishioners,"
Archbishop Barsamian said. "His enthusiasm, his human kindness, and his warm
sense of humor will not fail to inspire his new flock. And I have faith that
the people of Wynnewood will do everything they can to aid and strengthen
his ministry."


Photos attached.

Photo 1: The Very Rev. Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian, the new pastor of St. Sahag
and St. Mesrob Armenian Church of Wynnewood, Pa., was officially welcomed by
the parish on January 3.

Photo 2: Very Rev. Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, and
Very Rev. Fr. Haigazoun Najarian at the welcome banquet held in Fr.
Gulgulian’s honor.

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