With the deepest regret, the Eastern Diocese mourns the loss of Yeretzgin Diane Vidian Chevian: beloved wife of Fr. Mardiros Chevian, who passed away on September 11. She was 67.
Growing up in Racine, WI’s St. Mesrob Church community, the young Diane Vidian had many role models to inspire her faith in our Lord, and encourage her service to our church. Her principle inspirations were her pious parents Michael and Susan, who shared their love of God with their children Diane and Gary. She had a special love for Armenian Church music, and Diane’s beautiful singing voice graced her parish choir from her early years. Her vocation of Christian service took a dramatic turn when she married Deacon Michael (later Fr. Mardiros) Chevian, and became intimately associated with St. Nersess Seminary.
“She became a guiding spirit of seminary life,” said Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel, “and it was surely a calling from God that placed such a vital, warmhearted person as Yn. Diane in this role, at a critical time for our church.”
He continued: “Undergirding her gentle kindness was the steely temperament of a fighter, which came into sharp relief when Diane was afflicted with a brutal illness. Those of us who witnessed the graceful way she coped with suffering will never cease to be inspired by her faith and courage. Most of all, we will always be grateful for her commitment to Fr. Mardiros and his labors in the vineyard of our Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout his many important ministries, Yn. Diane was always at his side, supporting his work in every way. When they became parents she devoted the same love and pride to Alexandra and Kristina.”
At the family’s request, funeral services at St. Mesrob Church of Racine, WI, will be private and limited to the immediate family. In-lieu-of-flowers donations may be made in her memory to St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, 486 Bedford Road, Armonk, NY 10504.
Remembering Yn. Diane Chevian (1953-2021)
A devoted mother, gifted educator, and lifelong faithful member of the Armenian Church, Yn. Diane was born on October 27, 1953, in Racine, WI, where she was an active and dedicated member of St. Mesrob Church. Her beautiful voice and love of liturgical music inspired her to serve as the director of the Junior and Senior Choirs at her parish. At the Diocesan level, Yn. Diane was deeply involved with the Choir Association and served as the chair of the Eastern Diocese’s Choir Central Council. At St. Nersess Seminary, she served as an instructor in the seminary’s Liturgical Music Program.
Yeretzgin Diane was an active ACYOA member during her youth and later gave back to the organization she held close to her heart as an advisor to the ACYOA Juniors and Seniors at St. Mesrob. Many teenagers and young adults, especially the impressionable youth she mentored as a counselor and cook at the St. Nersess Summer Conferences during the 1980s, remember her guiding spirit.
On October 27, 1984, she married Dn. Michael (Fr. Mardiros) Chevian and joined and supported her husband who was the new vocations director and later dean at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, NY. Yn. Diane enjoyed her new environment and seminary life. She always found ways to contribute, including the planning of beautiful celebratory events and graduations. Her loyalty and compassion were heartfelt.
After her husband moved on to become an Eastern Diocese staff member and dean of St. Vartan Cathedral, Yn. Diane continued to use her talents and expertise by organizing events at the cathedral, including the ordination banquet for Fr. Daniel Findikyan in 1997. She united volunteers from parishes throughout the NY/NJ/CT area and instilled a spirit of dedication and trust.
Yn. Diane and Fr. Mardiros were blessed with two children: Alexandra (born 1992) and Kristina (born 2000). Her daughters became her greatest blessings and were the joy of Yn. Diane’s life and the source of great happiness. As their daughters grew older, Yn. Diane returned to her love of working with children as a teacher and later the admissions director for the Hudson County Montessori School in New Rochelle, NY. Her previous work experience was as the human resources director at Marine Bank in Milwaukee, WI.
In 2012, Yn. Diane was energized to return to campus life when Fr. Mardiros became the dean of St. Nersess Seminary once again. She relished the opportunity of spending time with the students, faculty and staff and meeting clergy from all over the world. She also served on and contributed to the committees of the most recent St. Nersess fundraising banquets in 2015 and 2019.
Even with the difficulties brought on by her illness, her faith never wavered and she remained positive, continued to smile and welcomed all who visited the seminary. Her husband and loving, devoted daughters tended to their mother with tenderness and care up until the end of her life.
Yn. Diane was preceded in death by her mother and father, Susan (Meldonian) and Michael Vidian. She leaves behind her beloved family, husband Fr. Mardiros Chevian, daughters Alexandra and Kristina Chevian, Diane’s brother, Gary Vidian and wife Sara, nieces, Danielle Vidian and Melanie Vidian, her special aunt and uncle, Mary and George Stevoff, aunt and uncle Alice and Frank Vidian, cousins Marisa, David, and Christian Stevoff, Andrew and Claire Stevoff, and Armen Vidian.
May our risen Lord remember his true servant Yn. Diane Chevian at the coming of his Kingdom, and console Diane’s loved ones.