Altar Servers Attend Deacons’ Training Program at the Seminary
From June 23 to July 2, the Deacons’ Training Program in Armonk, NY, welcomed 24 young men from the Eastern, Western, and Canadian Dioceses, including Karo Boyadzhyan from California, who will begin his Master of Divinity degree at St. Nersess this fall.
The participants, both first-time and returning attendees, gathered to learn the music and rituals of the Badarak and other services of the Armenian Church, as well as their meaning and importance.
The program was led by co-directors, Dn. Alex Calikyan, a 2019 seminary graduate, and Dn. Adam Bullock, a 2022 seminary graduate, and was guided by Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean. Dn. Johnny Chadoyan, a 2019 graduate, Dn. Greg Zohrabian from St. Gregory Armenian Church, Fowler, CA, Dn. Anthony Maldonado, Sdn. Shant Danadian, Sdn. Jack Hamparian, and Sdn. Michael Connors all served as counselors.
Daily Armenian language classes focused on learning to read the Armenian alphabet, fluency in chanting in Armenian, and basics of grammar in Krapar (classical Armenian) for the advanced students. In the
beginner’s class, Fr. Nigoghos Aznavourian, a 2020 graduate and pastor of St. Mark Armenian Church in Springfield, MA, reviewed with the students the chants, hymns, and liturgics of the Badarak, as well as gave invaluable theological explanation behind our sacred rituals.
Fr. Gomidas Zohrabian, pastor of St. Gregory Armenian Church in CA and director of the St. Nersess Deacons’ Training Program of the Western Diocese, taught the advanced students the chants, hymns, and theology of the Sunrise Hour (Arevakal) service. Students also participated in daily Bible Studies.
On the first Sunday of the program, the group traveled to the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs in Bayside, NY, where they actively participated in the Divine Liturgy with pastor, Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan. They were treated with great hospitality following the service during fellowship, where they enjoyed a meal lovingly prepared by the parish and had an opportunity to meet many parishioners.
Throughout the week, evening lectures were offered by guest clergy, including Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese & President of the Seminary’s Board of Directors, who spoke on Meditation; Bishop Daniel Findikyan – Holy Etchmiadzin and his work there; Fr. Diran Bohajian – Altar management and recruitment; Fr. Vard Gyozalyan – Building a new church community; and Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan – Armenia & Artsakh. Also presenting were Dn. Arthur Sabounjian – Old Testament and Jesus; and Dn. Alex Calikyan – Origins of the diaconate.
“It was a joy to witness the enthusiasm and dedication of our future deacons, who had gathered from various parishes across our country and Canada,” shared Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan. “Witnessing their unwavering devotion and commitment to their sacred duties was truly inspiring. Together, we engaged in enriching Bible studies, delving deep into the essence of our faith.”
On Thursday, the participants traveled to Point Pleasant Beach in NJ, where the group enjoyed time on the beach and the boardwalk.
On Sunday morning, the last day of the program, the group traveled to St. Vartan Cathedral in New York City, to participate in Badarak with Hayr Mesrop. It was a special morning as the faithful also celebrated the launch of the year-long commemoration of the 125th Anniversary of the Armenian Church of North America.
“A big thank you to all who have contributed to making the 2023 Deacons Training Program such a tremendous success, both present staff as well as those who laid the groundwork in years past,” stated Dn. Alex Calikyan. “It has been an honor and privilege to co-direct this conference; may the Lord God bless all involved with many more years of hard work, dedication, and achievement.”
The participants enjoyed wonderful meals throughout the week, prepared by Wilma Petrossian, Manager of Food Services. The program was supported by the seminary staff, including Dn. Levon Altiparmakian, Dottie Bengoian, and Donna Sirounian.
“It was a great privilege to serve as one of the program’s co-directors this year. We had an excellent staff and faculty of devoted clergy and counselors, as well as participants who were inquisitive, respectful, and eager to learn. It is truly encouraging to see these young men answering the Lord’s call to service,” shared Dn. Adam Bullock.