New Altar Servers Attend Deacons’ Training Program
From July 24 to July 31, the Deacons’ Training Program in Armonk, NY, welcomed 19 young men from the Eastern and Western Dioceses, including two young men, Arin Parsanian and Zareh Mirzayan. They are both returning to St. Nersess in a few days to commence their fall semester studies in preparation for ordination to the Holy Priesthood.
This year, many of the participants were first-time attendees of St. Nersess Summer Conferences, who 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. Ari Terjanian, and was guided by Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean. Daily classes were led by Fr. Tateos Abdalian and the Fr. Nigoghos Aznavourian, a 2020 seminary graduate, as well as Dn. Alex and Dn. Ari. Dn. Anthony Maldonado and Dn. Garen Megrdichian assisted as counselors during the week.
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 Deacons’ Training classes, students reviewed the chants, hymns, and liturgics of the Badarak, as well as obtained invaluable theological explanation behind our sacred rituals. The advanced Deacons’ Training class, led by Dn. Alex, reviewed the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Fr. Nigoghos also led a Nshkhar-making class. Students participated in daily Bible Studies, which centered around Bishop Daniel Findikyan’s recent book release, Building up the Body of Christ.
Evening lectures were also offered, including guest speaker Bishop Daniel Findikyan, seminary professor of Liturgical Studies and former primate of the Eastern Diocese, previewing his soon to be released translation of The Book of Hours (Zhamakirk); Dn. Arthur Sabounjian presenting on repentance; and Dn. Alex giving a moving presentation on St. Stephen and the diaconate.
On Thursday afternoon, a special service was held to consecrate two new icons in the St. Hagop Chapel, St. Nersess the Graceful and St. Nersess the Great. Officiating at the ceremony was Bishop Daniel, assisted by the participants. The icons were anonymously donated in commemoration of the Fr. Karekin Kasparian, former Dean of St. Nersess and Fr. Mardiros Chevian, current Dean of St Nersess.
On Friday, the participants traveled to Point Pleasant Beach in NJ, where the group enjoyed time on the beach and the boardwalk.
On Sunday morning, Badarak was celebrated in the chapel, with Fr. Tateos serving as the guest celebrant, and assisted by the participants of the program at the altar and in the choir. Dn. Alex delivered the sermon.
“Glory to God for once again blessing us with the opportunity to inspire a new group of future deacons and servants of our church,” shared Dn. Ari Terjanian. “We exhort all the participants to carry forward Fr. Tateos’ closing message, ‘Listen, Learn, Go, Do!’ May all continue their studies and service to our Lord back home at their parishes and henceforth in their earthly ministries.”
The participants enjoyed wonderful meals throughout the week, prepared by Wilma Petrossian, Manager of Food Services. Dn. Levon Altiparmakian was invaluable in his support behind the scenes to ensure the conference ran smoothly.
“Thanks to Der Mardiros and the entire staff of St. Nersess Seminary, the instructors and guest speakers, our dedicated participants, and especially Dn. Ari, it brings me great joy and encouragement to see that through the Deacons’ Training Program, we carry on the vision of our church, namely Building Up the Body of Christ, ” exclaimed Dn. Alex Calikyan. Click here for photos.