Clergy Profile

Rev. Fr. Arakel Aljalian

St. James Armenian Church

Fr. Arakel Aljalian

St. James Armenian Church
465 Mt. Auburn St.
Watertown, MA 02472

(617) 923-8860


Rev. Fr. Arakel Aljalian received his theological training at the Seminary of the St. James Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Upon graduating from the seminary in 1981, Fr. Arakel was ordained a deacon at the St. James Armenian Monastery in Jerusalem.

Fr. Arakel came to the United States in 1983 and continued his theological studies at the General Theological Seminary in New York City. From 1985 to 1989, Fr. Arakel was a St. Nersess seminarian, studying both at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He graduated in 1989 with a Master of Divinity degree. In the summer of 1985, during his time at St. Nersess, he completed the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at the Paul A. Dever School in Taunton, MA.

In addition to his seminary studies, Fr. Arakel studied at the School of Sacred Arts in New York City from 1986 to 1989; and at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design from 1980 to 1990.

Fr. Arakel was assigned to be deacon-in-charge of the Holy Resurrection Church of South Milwaukee, WI, where he served from 1989 to 1991. In 1991, he was assigned to the Church of the Holy Martyrs of Bayside, NY.

He was ordained a priest on October 2 and 3, 1993, at the Church of the Holy Martyrs. He then served the parish as assistant pastor until March 1994, when he began his service as rector at St. Nersess Seminary in New Rochelle, NY. In September 1999, he was appointed the pastor at St. James Church of Watertown, MA, and continues to serve there today.

Fr. Arakel authored and edited a number of books, including General Epistle (Book I)—St. Nerses Shnorhali, which contains a translation of the text from the classical Armenian, as well as an introduction and commentary. He co-wrote Curriculum for Educating Infants who are Called to the Rank of Priesthood: Necessary and Useful Advice Written by Lord Arakel, Bishop of Siwnik, and Grigor of Tatev, the Great Rhetor, which appeared in St. Nersess Theological Review 1:2 (1996). During his time as the rector of St. Nersess, Fr. Arakel was the creator and editor of the St. Nersess Theological Review. He also specializes in iconography, ancient art, and medieval manuscript illumination.

He is a member of the Standing Conference of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox-Roman Catholic Consultation, the Orthodox Theological Society in America, and the Massachusetts Council of Churches.

Fr. Arakel is married to Yn. Natasha, and they have been blessed with two children – Gabriel Simon and Mary Grace.

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