Harry and Edna Keleshian Make Major Donation to St. Nersess Expansion
The future home of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in Armonk New York, will include the Arsen Keleshian Dining Hall. The construction of this new dining room is made possible through the generous donation from Harry and Edna Keleshian, in memory of their son Arsen who passed away in 2012. The Arsen Keleshian Dining Hall will serve as a key gathering destination for seminarians, faculty, guests, and summer youth program participants. Arsen will always be remembered for participating in the St. Nersess summer sessions during the late 1980s.
Harry and Edna Keleshian, of Greenwich CT and Boca Raton FL, have generously donated to numerous Armenian Church initiatives over the years. When presented with the idea of financially supporting the expansion of St. Nersess Seminary’s new campus and mission, the Keleshians did not hesitate to commit their support. “It is critically important that we have clergy who are well educated, well spoken, and willing to put their arms around the youth in the Armenian American community,” said Harry Keleshian. Mr. Keleshian further commented, “Thanks to Father Mardiros, Arsen always felt this warmth and a deeper faith while at St. Nersess.”
Under the leadership of its new Dean, the Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, St. Nersess Seminary has opened the 2013-2014 academic year with nine full time seminarians in its student body. As the only Armenian seminary in the western hemisphere, St. Nersess has produced 40 priests and laypeople in full-time service to the Armenian Church over the past 50 years. In addition to providing post graduate theological study, St. Nersess has expanded its mission to include research and educational opportunities for exchange faculty and students from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as well as extended study programs in our seminaries in Armenia and Jerusalem to strengthen the Armenian education of our American born seminarians. Another important mission is providing acclimation and acculturation support and training for Armenian priests from abroad who will serve in North American dioceses.
The new campus construction project has been made possible through an initial donation by Haig and Elza Didizian of London, England. The Didizians and their children have funded not only the land purchase but also the construction of a new Theological Center and Chapel. Fundraising for the remaining buildings on the Armonk campus is ongoing and in need of support from the greater Armenian community.