Fall Semester Welcomes a New Student and New Assistant Professor
St. Nersess Armenian Seminary began its Fall semester this week with orientation and classes at the seminary and at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. “We are happy to welcome back our full-time students and a new student who are studying for service in the Armenian Church, as well as a new faculty member,” remarked the Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Dean.
This year, we welcome Karo Boyadzhyan from the Western Diocese, who joins fellow west coast natives Dn. Garen Hamamjian, Arin Parsanian, and Zareh Mirzayan, all of whom are studying for their Master of Divinity degrees. Additionally, Arman Shirikyan will continue his studies in the St. Nersess the Great Program for Late Vocations, and three part-time students will continue studying remotely and in person. The seminary is also nearing completion of a new program to earn a certificate in music ministry.
The seminary also welcomes Dr. Ani Shahinian who will serve as an Assistant Professor of Armenian Christian Art and Culture beginning this semester. Her position is being fully funded by Mr. Dean Shahinian, Esq, of Virginia. She recently completed her doctoral thesis on Christian Martyrdom at Oxford University, and will co-teach a lecture series with Dr. Roberta Ervine on Thursday evenings which is open to the public (scroll down for details).
Karo Boyadzhyan was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, where he attends St. Leon (Ghevontiants) Armenian Cathedral in Burbank. He received his bachelor’s degree in Armenian Language and Culture from California State University of Northridge. “I hope to learn more about God, the structure of our Armenian Church, its history, its traditions, and how to relate it all with the modern world to spread the Gospel and help bring the Kingdom of God to others,” stated Karo. This summer, Karo attended the Deacons’ Training Program at the seminary.
While all the students are engaged in coursework during the academic year, seminarians are also required to spend their summers in educational programs, including: participating in a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, working at a Diocesan or AGBU summer camp, and studying at Holy Etchmiadzin or the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Following their graduation, they spend a full year at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to complete their studies.
This past summer, Dn. Garen Hamamjian completed his CPE program at Los Angeles General Medical Center, a level one trauma center in downtown LA, where he worked 40 hour weeks in the general medical surgery, emergency, end stage dialysis, general pediatrics, and pediatric ICU floors. Each day began with a reflection with the staff chaplains, which he had the privilege of leading twice. “I am grateful for gaining the tools to assist in the spiritual healing of others. Being present during someone’s critical time of need helped me in my own personal healing process. We don’t always take the time to face these feelings… it was a gift,” summarized Dn. Garen. He also served at the Western Diocese’s Sound of Children Summer Camp.
Arin Parsanian was busy this summer working with Armenian youth both in Armenia and at camps in the Western Diocese. While in Armenia, Arin volunteered at the Emily Aregak Center in Gyumri for disabled kids and adults; attended the Pan Armenia conference to help unite Armenian youth from around the world in faith and culture; joined the CYMA (Christian Youth Mission to Armenia) to volunteer at a therapy center for wounded soldiers and their families; and returned to the FAR Children’s Center in Yerevan to spend time with the children he met during his winter break. “I was so happy to spend time with them again,” shared Arin. While in California, he served at the Western Diocese’s Sound of Children Summer Camp held daily at St. Leon (Ghevontiants) Armenian Cathedral as well as at Hye Camp.
Zareh Mirzayan benefited from working with the children at the Western Diocese’s Sound of Children Summer Camp. It allowed him the opportunity to understand why Jesus tells us to become like children. “They are so full of energy, happiness, and excitement. They can turn the most boring situation into something fun with their creative minds and have more fun than any of us adults, with nothing but a few Legos,” shared Zareh. “I hope I can keep the childlike joy that was rekindled within myself this summer.”
Seminarian Arman Shirikyan spent time serving at the Eastern Diocese’s St. Vartan Camp. All students will attend the annual orientation retreat at the Ararat Center in Greenville NY over the September 15-17 weekend.