On Tuesday, February 26, clergy gathered at several locations across the Eastern Diocese, to reinforce their bonds of brotherhood during the Feast of St. Ghevont the Priest and His Companions. It was an occasion to renew their appreciation of the martyred priest of the 5th-century Battle of Avarayr, through liturgy, discussion, and fellowship.
At the St. Leon Church in Fair Lawn, NJ—named for the martyred St. Leontius (Ghevont) who stands as the patron saint of Armenian priests—Diocesan Primate the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan presided over a gathering of 15 clergy from the New York-New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Fr. Hagop Gevorgyan (of the Holy Trinity Church, Cheltenham, MA) celebrated the Divine Liturgy, aided by a number of priests and deacons from the region. The homily was given by Fr. Untzag Nalbandyan (Holy Ascension Church, Trumbll, CT).
Following the Divine Liturgy, the clergy joined a small group of local parishioners for lunch. Following the lunch, Fr. Daniel Findikyan presided over a clergy meeting, during which liturgical and theological matters related to the Great Lent and the ministry of our Diocese were discussed.
In the Diocese’s Midwest region, the Ghevontiantz gathering met in Evanston, IL, at the St. James of Nisibis Church, hosted by parish pastor Fr. Hovhan Khoja-Eynatyan. The badarak was celebrated by Fr. Avedis Kalayjian (St. Mesrob Church, Racine, WI), at the end of which the requiem service remembered the names of the few dozen clergymen who served the region in former times.
Six clergymen, representing Armenian churches of various jurisdictions, participated in the services, along with local deacons and parishioners, and enjoyed a meal together afterwards.
Love, Respect, Unity
The Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church in Providence, RI, hosted event for the New England region. Armenian clergy from churches throughout the region were joined by their fellows from the Greek, Antiochian, and Coptic—members of the Rhode Island Orthodox Clergy Association.
Pastor Fr. Shnork Souin welcomed 19 clergyman in all, with Fr. Sevak Kaprielyan (St. Mark Church, Springfield, MA) celebrating the badarak. Greek Orthodox Fr. Aaron Walker was invited to give a homily. Fr. Krikor Maksoudian spoke on the Battle of Avarayr and its theological, political, and social impact on subsequent Armenian history. Diocesan Vicar Fr. Simeon Odabashian represented the Primate. Parish council members and volunteers prepared the luncheon that followed.
“It was an absolutely wonderful way to honor the deep love, respect, and unity among all Orthodox Christians, and especially within the brotherhood of priests,” said Fr. Souin. “On this feast day, it was a privilege to remember our martyred, heroic clergy saints, ask them to intercede on our behalf, and confirm our spirit of service as priests of Christ’s holy church.”