A Calling To The Truth

Fr. Arsen Barsamian

When people ask me how I came to serve the Armenian Church as a priest, I tell them that first of all, it was not I that came into the church, but God who led me there by a gift called grace. Grace is defined in various ways because there are various gifts. There is one called vocation or calling.

A calling can best be explained in terms of a parent calling a child to come home. The child responds depending an his or her mood. If he is having a good time, he is reluctant to respond and may pretend he never heard. Or he may hide so his parent cant see him, thus enforcing the idea that he never heard. If the child is tired and hungry, he will respond willingly without any coaxing or repetition of the same message.

My calling came early in life, when I was about 11. But I never heard it clearly until I was 21, when it became crystal clear. There is another important factor for me: the church I would want to serve. It had to be a church that was serving the truth. Now this is an ambiguous statement because everyone has a personal view as to what the truth is. I needed to be internally satisfied that the truth, as proclaimed by the Armenian Church, for me, was the best. That means better than any other religious institution. I did not arrive at the conclusion overnight, but after years of studying for the priesthood.

After a period of time, when I saw more clearly what the Armenian Church had to offer in the light of her past and in comparison with what others had to offer, I became convinced that here was the best vehicle to bring the truth of God through Christ. This again was only possible by the grace of God which is here to serve all our needs if we so choose to avail ourselves of it. So you might say that my becoming a priest was the result of a calling in search of the truth.