The Armenian Church was blessed with a new priest this weekend, as Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel performed the sacrament of holy orders on the former Deacon Narek Garabedian.
As part of the ordination, the Primate conferred a new name on the candidate, who will henceforth be known as the Reverend Fr. Andreas (Andrew) Garabedian.
The ceremonies, which included a Service of Calling on Friday evening, June 28, and a Divine Liturgy on Saturday, June 29, took place at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Chicago, IL, where Fr. Andreas had served for the past two years as Deacon-in-Charge, and where he will return as pastor following the traditional 40-day period of seclusion.
Clergy and faithful from throughout the region joined the local parishioners to take part in the service and its subsequent celebratory banquet, and to honor the start of Fr. Andreas’ priestly ministry in the vineyard of the Lord.
Click here to view a gallery of photos.
The Vital Thread of Ministry
The Armenian priesthood has been a vital thread running through Fr. Andreas’ entire life. He is the son of the Rev. Fr. Keghart Garabedian, the former secretary to the late Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Vasken I. Indeed, Fr. Keghart was the proud sponsoring priest at his son’s ordination. Fr. Andreas’ godfather was H. Nicolas Berberian.
The 31-year-old Fr. Andreas is a native of Yerevan, Armenia, who grew up in Canada among the Armenian parishes his father served. He has been serving on the altar in one capacity or another since the age of three, and has been guided along his spiritual path by two former primates of the Canadian Diocese, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian and Bishop Bagrat Galstyan. It was the latter who ordained Narek as a deacon in 2006.
Subsequently he studied at the seminary of the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, with the blessing of the late Patriarch Torkom Manoogian. He graduated at the top of his class and shortly thereafter, in Armenia, married Nune Chukhajyan. The couple settled in New Rochelle, NY, so Dn. Narek could attend St. Nersess Armenian Seminary and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary. He received a Master of Divinity degree in 2016, and a year later was assigned by then-Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian as Deacon-in-Charge of Chicago’s St. Gregory the Illuminator Church.
Fr. Andreas has a special love for music, and has honed his skill as both an instrumental and vocal artist. He will spend his 40-day period of retreat at the Armonk, NY, campus of St. Nersess Seminary, after which Fr. Andreas and Yeretzgin Nune Garabedian will take up their new roles at the Chicago parish.
Primate’s First Ordination
Important as ordination was to Fr. Andreas, the occasion was also a milestone in the ministry of Bishop Daniel. With his elevation to the episcopal rank this past May, the Primate became authorized to confer the sacrament of Holy Orders. Fr. Andreas represents the first priestly ordination performed by Bishop Daniel’s hand.
But the second is fast approaching: Deacon Arman Galstyan will be ordained by Bishop Daniel on July 26-27, at the St. George Church of Hartford, CT, where Dn. Arman currently serves as Deacon-in-Charge. (Click here for information on that spiritually uplifting event.)
We pray that the Lord will bless all of his servants in their ongoing ministries.
Above: The newly anointed Fr. Andreas Garabedian prays at the altar beside Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel. (Photo by Ryan Tellalian)