At the very dawn of his term as Primate, the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan travelled to five regions of the Diocese to meet face-to-face with the clergy. Inaugurating his new relationship with the pastors as their new Primate, Fr. Findikyan shared his vision for the Eastern Diocese and reflected on the Armenian Church’s mission as lived out in our parishes each day.
The gatherings occurred in Florida (June 11), Texas (June 12), the Midwest (June 14), New England (June 19), and the Mid-Atlantic region (June 21).
The Primate opened each half-day meeting with a discussion on an excerpt from the “Teaching of St. Gregory the Enlightener,” a 5th-century Armenian catechesis, which calls on the Armenian Church to “illumine all people, give repentance of salvation, wash all people…by baptism, make the Spirit of God dwell in people’s hearts, unite and join to the love of the Son of God, and to enable them to eat the flesh of the Son of God and drink the life-giving blood.”
The clergy compared St. Gregory’s commission with the mission statement of our Diocese developed over a decade ago, which highlights the distinctive faith-experience of the Armenian people lived out via “worship, education, witness, service and common life in Christ.” The Primate insisted that going forward all our activities must in some way advance that mission and that education on all levels must be the priority and sacred duty of the clergy.
“The Church must be the Church,” he said, explaining that as a Diocese we must continuously focus our efforts on that which has been entrusted by God to the Church, and to the Church alone.
Other topics of discussion included clarification on the proposed diocesan building project, clergy continuing education programs held at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and an annual continuing educational program for all clergy to be implemented in the fall of 2019.
Ample time was also dedicated to open discussion of issues of concern to the pastors in their regions. Fr. Daniel emphasized that in these early months of his term as Primate, his intention was to “listen and learn.”
The overall impressions of the clergy were most positive. One of the clergy expressed: “We leave the meeting inspired and empowered to continue our mission and to focus even more on the mission of the church.” Clergy in Florida and Texas were extremely pleased that the Primate travelled to meet with them on their own turf, which helps to reinforce the connectedness between the Diocese and its more geographically remote parishes. In more than one instance clergy asked that regional clergy meetings be held on a regular basis throughout the year to strengthen the brotherhood and to foster collaboration and mutual edification.
In each region, the clergy enjoyed lunch together, hosted and served by members of St. David Church (Boca Raton, FL), St. Joachim and Anne Church (Palos Heights, IL), Church of our Savior (Worcester, MA) and St. Mary Church (Livingston, NJ). Fr. Daniel expressed his sincere gratitude to the host parishes.
To view photos of the gatherings, click here.