Two St. Nersess Graduates’ Parishes Consecrate Churches
It doesn’t happen very often, but in the course of one week, two graduates of the seminary, who were also classmates, each celebrated the consecration of a new church.
“To witness the consecration of two churches one week apart, one in the Eastern and the other in the Western Diocese and the leadership of the pastors of those churches, both graduates of St. Nersess Seminary, was both inspiring and exciting. I applaud Der Ghevond and Der Yeghishe for this great accomplishment,” exclaimed Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean, who was present at both consecrations.
The Rev. Fr. Ghevond Ajamian, a 2010 St. Nersess graduate and pastor of the St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Carrollton, TX, led the charge of his parish’s vision to build a new Armenian Church and banquet hall. This vision became a reality on April 22 & 23 when the church was consecrated by four bishops – Eastern Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan; former Primate and current Legate of Western Europe Archbishop Khajag Barsamian; Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director Archbishop Vicken Aykazian; and Primate of the Australian Diocese Archbishop Haigazoun Najarian.
Keeping the name of its previous sanctuary, St. Sarkis Armenian Church is now located atop a hill overlooking the Dallas suburb. Local parishioners were joined by friends and family from across the state and country to celebrate during the weekend of uplifting ceremonies.
In his sermon for the consecration Badarak, Bishop Daniel made the following remarks: “I recognize that this event marks the crown of my service as Primate of the Eastern Diocese. Who could possibly deny God’s powerful, providential hand in this: the first Texas-born clergyman of the Armenian Church in history, consecrating this beautiful gem of a sanctuary in Texas! I have always felt a special connection with the St. Sarkis community, not only because I am a Texas native, but because the community is so diverse and loving. I credit Fr. Ghevond Ajamian for all of his dedicated service to the “Building Up” of the Church—not just as a building, but as a community of faithful people, following the glorious path to God in the sacred tradition of the Armenian Church. He drew inspiration from prayers recorded in the Old Testament and called on the parishioners to embrace their new church.”
“I am overjoyed that within one week, two churches have been consecrated in America and now two communities have a new home to worship, grow, and celebrate in,” reflected Fr. Ghevond. “It is even more significant that these two communities are led by St. Nersess graduates who, through their love for their people and God, have taken years of study, prayer and experience and have put them into action. Truly now we can see the fruits of years of labor,” he continued.
The following weekend, on April 30, the Rev. Fr. Yeghishe Ksachikyan, a 2011 seminary graduate and pastor of St. James Armenian Church in Sacramento, CA, led his parishioners’ long-time quest to move their sanctuary to a new location. The new property will allow them to celebrate liturgical services, hold functions in the hall, and use the classrooms for Saturday and Sunday Schools.
Parishioners, family and friends gathered to witness the consecration of their new church by Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese and Vice President of the St. Nersess Board of Directors, who officiated. “With the consecration of St. James, we are called to become the witnesses of Christ, the new disciples of our Lord’s Gospel,” proclaimed Hovnan Srpazan during his sermon. “Our Beloved Father Yeghishe, as a graduate of St. Nersess Seminary, has been an exceptional priest of the Armenian Church. He fulfills his pastoral duties with devout dedication and love.”
“As we prepared for the Consecration of St. James, I was following the progress of the Consecration of St. Sarkis Armenian Orthodox Church of Dallas, where my dear brother in Christ and fellow classmate from St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, Fr. Ghevond Ajemian, has been serving diligently by the grace of God,” commented Fr. Yeghishe. “It does not happen often where in the two Dioceses of the United States of America, two churches are consecrated a week apart from each other and the priests of those churches are graduates and classmates of the same seminary. I pray that God strengthens and blesses both of our communities and the faithful realize what a blessing it is to not only be part of these historical events but be the faithful members by whom God’s will is fulfilled for His glory.”