Fr. Dr. Abraham Malkhasyan Historic Visit to Etchmiadzin, Armenia

Queens Gazette, NY
Jan 10 2024

On December 18, 2023,  in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; received Reverend Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan, Pastor of the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America (New York), who received the doctoral degree from Fordham University in the USA.

With the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Father Abraham continued his studies at the Department of Religion and Religious Studies of Fordham University, defending his doctoral thesis on the topic “Understanding Disaffiliation in the Armenian Church: A Study of Older and Younger Millennials. Fr. Abraham is also teaches at St. John’s University in New York as a professor of Theology.

Presenting his doctoral work to His Holiness, Father Abraham emphasized that the purpose of the work is to identify the current challenges, as a result of which young families find it difficult to participate in church life, and to find ways to overcome them.

The Catholicos of All Armenians reflected with satisfaction about the academic achievement of Father Abraham, emphasizing that this work is an important contribution in the field of pastoral theology and an opportunity for the clergy to familiarize themselves with the issues related to youth.

The Armenian Pontiff noted with joy that the clergymen are engaged in scientific activities in parallel with the pastoral service, enriching their knowledge for the benefit of the spiritual service.

At the meeting, His Holiness, as a token of appreciation, granted a beautiful Pectoral Cross.

At the conclusion, the Reverend Father presented His Holiness his thesis work and the doctoral diploma.

A wonderful Christmas program was presented Sunday, January 7th in the church hall. For information, contact Lara Ciamcian on Facebook.

“THE CURRENT STAGE OF THE DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION IN THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA” is a book co-authored by  sociologist Armen Khachikyan, historian Mikayel Malkhasyan, and Fr. Dr. Abraham Malkhasyan. The publication highlights the Republic of Armenia’s demographic policy, historical demographic trends, the impact of the 2020 Artsakh War, the coronavirus pandemic, and other factors on demographic processes. The trend of birth and death rates is analyzed, as well as the impact of migration and population distribution system on the demographic situation. Visit Fr. Dr. Abraham Malkhasyan on Facebook.

Why should Greek Americans learn about the Armenian contribution to their history? The nation played a  unique contribution to Eastern Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Few people know that they carried a lantern of light in the Byzantine Empire throughout its history.

The Byzantine Empire was multi-cultural. Nations and races were united under the Greek language, civilization, and Orthodox faith, calling themselves ROMANS. “Due to centuries of foreign domination, much of Armenian history has been neglected and surpressed,” according to”

“As such much of the influence Armenians had on the Byzantine Empire has been swept under the rug by the Ottomans and later the Soviets. Nevertheless, the contributions of Armenian people to the Byzantine Empire have been more than significant. As the historian P. Charanis (1959) says: “The important role played in the history of Byzantium by that talented minority, the Armenians, has been generally unrecognized.” Even though Armenia was only in part a vassel of Byzantium, many Armenians became successful in the Byzantine Empire. From bishops, architects, important military figures and even Emperors, Armenians were represented in all walks of Byzantine life. In fact, one out of five Byzantine emperors and empresses were ethnically full or in part Armenian.”

“The best example of this is Emperor Heraclius, whose father was Armenian and Mother Cappadocian. Emperor Heraclius began the Heraclean dynasty (610-717 A.D.).,” according .The Akathistos Hymn sung during Orthodox Lent commemorates his victory and saving of Constantinople with the help of Our Lady, Virgin Mary.

Basil, “The Bulgar Slayer “became one of the strongest Byzantine emperors, winning territory in the Balkans, Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Georgia,” according to  “He was noted for his victory (1014) in the war with Bulgaria, which ended with his blinding all the soldiers in the defeated Bulgarian army. He increased his domestic authority by attacking the landed interests of the military aristocracy and of the church.” He was of Armenian descent.

The Armenian military power, to some scholars, was the basis of the stability and longevity of Byzantium. A strong army was needed. Armenia was the source. “From the 5th century forwards, the Armenians were regarded as the main constituent of the Byzantine army,” states

In the article, “Armenia, Byzantium, and the Byzantine Armenians” (, “another example of the impact of Armenians within the Byzantine Empire is the Great Church known as Hagia Sophia. As  Rummel explains, ‘After 
the great earthquake of October 25, A.D. 989, which ruined the great dome of Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine emperor Basil II asked for the Armenian architect Trdat (or Tiridates), creator of the great churches of Ani and Agine, to repair the dome. The magnitude of the destruction in the church caused reconstruction to last six years. The church was re-opened on May 
13, 994.’ The magnificent, reconstructed dome designed by Trdat in the tenth century remains aloft the “Great Church” to this day.” We must not only remember the 100 year genocide, but the unique contribution of Armenians as carriers of the Greek language, civilization, and Eastern Orthodoxy.

All photos by permission of Fr. Dr. Abraham Malkhasyan.