October 19, 2020
- “Working for Armenia and Artsakh is my highest duty.”
- “Serving the Armenian Church and people through the Holy Sea of Cilicia, is the reason for my existence.”
- “Instilling the Christian faith in the lives of the youth, through the Western Prelacy is the focus of my mission.”
- “Spreading the Gospel is my heavenly purpose.”
The 48th National Representatives Assembly of the Western Prelacy took place on Friday, October 16 at the “Avedissian” Hall in Encino. During the second session of the meeting, the representatives unanimously elected Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Vicar General, as the new prelate of the Western Prelacy. Donoyan succeeds Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, who served as prelate for the past 25 years.
Immediately following the announcement of the election, the newly elected prelate was greeted with a standing ovation as he entered the hall. The clergy formed a procession, and with the singing of “Ourakh Ler” and “Hrashapar,” they guided the newly-elected prelate Bishop into Holy Marty’s Church to say the “Canonical Prayer.”
Following the “Canonical Prayer,” Donoyan received the prelate’s staff from his predecessor and delivered his first message to representatives and clergy members.
The prelate stated, “Prayer is fundamental in strengthening the spirit, enlightening the mind, having a healthy body and is a daily presence in my life. That is why, today, I pray with a deeper conviction that God will give me strength, as I am elected the prelate of the Western Prelacy by His blessing and your votes. I believe and trust the words of the psalmist; “Lord I put my trust in You, do not forsake those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10.)
“With sincerity and a deep gratitude, I greet His Holiness Aram I. Catholicos of the Great See of Cilicia, whose educational leadership I have gained throughout my tenure at the seminary. I pray and wish that God grants H.H. Aram I, Catholicos, a healthy and long life, so that he may continue to lead his flock to greener pastures and calmer waters,” added the new prelate.
Continuing his remarks, the prelate thanked Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian for his lengthy, keen and high esteemed service to the prelacy.
“He became a good example of diligence, hard work, consistency and endurance. Through his service and experiences, he became great, and like many others, I have learned a great deal from Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian. I believe that his greatness will continue in the coming years as well, and wished him a healthy and peaceful life,” added Donoyan.
He continued his message to the representatives, saying: “Thank you for your trust and by a unanimous vote, you have placed a heavy yet sweet burden of responsibility on my shoulders, which I trust that we will carry together: by the leverage of our clergy members and the unreserved partnership of the Executive Council. With the spirit of renewed faith, hope, unfaltering love, let us come together, unite and work towards a better and brighter future for our church and youth.”
Speaking about the war in Artsakh, the prelate reconfirmed that “Armenia and Artsakh remain the main focus in the lives, deeds and prayers of each Armenian. War cannot shake the faith of an Armenian, and the prime example is the current war in Artsakh. Hence, that is why I work even stronger for the Armenian and Artsakh cause.”
The prelate expressed and emphasized the importance of service to the people and the Church. “Each clergy member is a servant of God and His people. He finds greatness through his service. I have learned the importance of service at the seminary. With the spirit of service, I place my being on the altar of God, to serve Him and His people. That is the reason why serving the Armenian Church and people through the Holy Sea of Cilicia, is the reason for my existence.” stated the prelate.
Also, realizing the importance of our youth’s upbringing, the prelate stated that throughout the last decades within the prelacy, there have been many initiatives which have been implemented to foster the spiritual care of our youth, such as; Prelacy day schools, Sunday schools and Bible studies. Today, more than ever, our youth should be our utmost priority within our communities. Hence, “Instilling Christian faith in the lives of the youth, through the western prelacy is the focus of my mission.”
With regards to the importance of spreading the Christian faith throughout our lives, the prelate confirmed this thought by saying; “I am a messenger of God’s word. Before all things, I am called to be a soldier of God through my service and spreading the living word of God to His people. Also, in contrast with the prior statement, I consider one of my most important tasks is to prepare and aid in the spiritual maturity of the church’s servants and Sunday school teachers. Therefore, spreading the Gospel is my heavenly purpose.”
The newly elected prelate also wished for the end of all wars, and for peace to reign throughout the world. Also, appealing for God to heal all those who are in pain and are weary, for the production of the Corona virus vaccine and for all types of trials and tribulations to be resolved in peace.
In conclusion, Prelate Donoyan appealed that may he be allowed to put forth his youthful enthusiasm and charisma to action, for the sake of the collective “us.”
Following the singing of the “Lord’s Prayer,” the representatives delivered congratulatory remarks to the newly elected prelate and wished him success in his mission to the Prelacy and the Armenian Church.
Bishop Torkom Donoyan was born in 1986, in Beirut, Lebanon. He has received his early education at the “Souren Khanamirian” school. He was accepted to the Holy Sea of Cilicia seminary in 1997, and ordained a celibate priest in 2006. In 2010 he defended his thesis “the anathema within the Armenian Church,” and received the rank of Vartabed.
In 2016, he defended his second thesis “the Armenian Prelacy in Adana,” and received the rank of Dzayrakouyn Vartabed.
From 2006 until 2013, he has been the director of the Christian Education Department in Antelias, Lebanon. From 2010 until 2014, he has been the choir master at St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Antelias, Lebanon, and has been the choir conductor of both the Catholicosate’s “Shnorhali” and the Seminary’s “Armash” choirs. From 2013 until 2015, he has been the editor of the Catholicosate’s “Hask” monthly newsletter. Also, while conducting the tasks mentioned above, he has also been an educator at the Seminary, Antelias Armenian Studies Center and local schools.
He was the Dean of the Seminary from 2014 to 2016. He has authored many books, pamphlets, articles and has given many speeches to various parishes throughout Lebanon and abroad. He has studied music in Beirut and Yerevan, and received master classes in vocal training in England.
In 2016, he completed comprehensive theological studies, with an emphasis on the rituals and music of the Anglican Church, at St. Michael’s Anglican Seminary in Wales, United Kingdom.
In 2017, by the decision of rchbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and the joint council, he was appointed as Vicar General of the Western Prelacy.
In 2018, he was ordained as a Bishop by Catholicos Aram I.