St. Stepanos Church of Elberon, NJ, celebrated two milestones last weekend: the 20th anniversary of the ordination of their pastor and the ordination of five altar servers.
On Saturday evening, June 20, the Rev. Fr. Daniel Karadjian was honored during a banquet in the church hall. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), presided.
Sunday and Armenian School students performed Hovhaness Toumanian’s “Foolish Man.” Other parishioners gave musical performances, and the AGBU’s Antranig Dance Ensemble presented a special program.
A slide show highlighted Fr. Karadjian’s two decades of service to the Armenian Church. A native of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Fr. Karadjian studied at St. James Armenian Seminary in Jerusalem. He was ordained to the holy priesthood in 1994 by the late Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.
He continued his studies at St. Clement Ohridski University in Bulgaria, receiving a master’s in theological studies in 2001. Four years later, at the invitation of Archbishop Barsamian, Fr. Karadjian began serving as a priest in the Eastern Diocese. He has served St. Sarkis Church of Charlotte, NC; a visiting priest at St. Sarkis Church of Dallas, TX; St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Binghamton, NY; and St. Paul Church of Syracuse, NY. Fr. Karadjian and Yn. Mariam Karadjian began serving at St. Stepanos Church in July 2013.
“I am grateful to all the people whom our Lord has sent into my life-people who have helped me, supported me, and guided me,” Fr. Karadjian said. “I look forward to continuing my ministry here at St. Stepanos Church, and to working with all of the parishioners here to carry forward the mission of the Armenian Church of America.”
Archbishop Barsamian congratulated Fr. Karadjian on this momentous occasion. He also expressed his gratitude to the St. Stepanos parish for their dedication to the Armenian Church and their efforts to pass on the Christian faith to their children and grandchildren.
Reflecting on the centennial year of the Armenian Genocide, Archbishop Barsamian emphasized the legacy left by the martyrs of 1915, and encouraged parishioners in Elberon to think about how they will shape their own legacy for future generations.
“We learn from our martyrs that God will not forsake us-even when we are led to the Cross. That He can transform sacrifice and loss into a greater purpose,” Archbishop Barsamian said. “We are blessed and honored now to be able to offer prayers of intercession to our newly-canonized Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. We must also honor them by being good stewards and guardians of our faith and heritage.”
On Sunday, June 21, Archbishop Barsamian celebrated the Divine Liturgy and ordained altar servers. William Corrigan was ordained to the diaconate; Maurice Lahham Jr., Chris Lombardi, and Greg Heitman were ordained as sub-deacons; and Van Mouradian was ordained an acolyte.
“For as long as I can remember, becoming a deacon has always been a dream of mine, and I feel blessed to have accomplished that dream,” said William Corrigan. “I am grateful to everyone for being here with me today in celebration of my newly acquired rank of deacon. The belief and support you had in me have been overwhelming and much appreciated.”
The altar servers expressed their appreciation to Fr. Karadjian for teaching them the hymns and chants of the Armenian Church. They noted his patience and love, and said they looked forward to serving at St. Stepanos Church in their new roles.
The families of the newly ordained altar servers hosted a fellowship hour following services. Aida Kado, parish council chair, presented the altar servers with special plaques in commemoration of their milestone.
“It gives me great pride to see these young men stepping up to serve the Armenian Church,” said Archbishop Barsamian. “May our Lord continue to guide you and to inspire you in your new journey.”