Rev. Fr. Arnak Kasparian
New Milford, NJ
Rev. Fr. Arnak Kasparian was born in Marash, Turkey, on February 27, 1922, and baptized as Minas. He was born at St. Stepanos Church where his family and other Armenians had taken refuge from the Kemal Pasha’s nationalistic movements. While he was still an infant, his family fled to Aleppo, Syria. He attended the local Haigazian Elementary School and after graduation, at age 14, he entered the Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1936. He studied at the seminary until 1944. He was ordained as a deacon in 1940. Because he did not wish to be ordained a monk, he returned to Aleppo and taught science at the Zavarian Elementary School for two years.
Dn. Minas came to America in January 1947 at the invitation of the late Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese. He enrolled in General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City and received a Master of Divinity degree in May 1949.
On April 4, 1948, Dn. Minas was ordained to the holy order of priesthood by Archbishop Tiran and was renamed Fr. Arnak, with the understanding that he would be able to get married in the future. His ordination took place at the Holy Resurrection Armenian Church of New Britain, CT. Fr. Arnak continued his studies after ordination at the Hartford Seminary and received his master's in Christian Education in 1951. During this time he also served the Armenian parishes of New Britain and Hartford, CT, on weekends.
In September 1951, Fr. Arnak was assigned to his first full-time pastorate at St. John’s Armenian Church of Detroit. During this period, the parish built a new church in Southfield, MI.
In January 1962, Fr. Arnak was transferred to the newly-established Armenian Church of Bergen County, NJ. The parish grew under his energetic leadership and was known throughout the Diocese as a youth-oriented, dynamic parish. The AVAK Society for retired and senior members was formed under Fr. Arnak’s direction, the first in the Eastern Diocese. Fr. Arnak was also an active member of the Tenafly Clergy Association and served as its president for 12 years.
Fr. Arnak was elected to the Diocesan Council, and he served for eight years, including four years as its chair. He served on the Board of Trustees of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary from its establishment in 1962 until 1986, and was secretary of the Board throughout his tenure.
Fr. Arnak retired as pastor of St. Thomas Church of Tenafly, NJ, in 1991, after serving there for almost 30 years.
In recognition of his long, dedicated service, Fr. Arnak has received the following honors: “Lahnchakhach” from Catholicos Vasken I on April 15, 1961; Avak Kahana by order of Catholicos Vasken I on July 7, 1981; Gontag on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his ordination from Catholicos Vasken I on September 22, 1988; Gontag of Patriarchal Blessing and Appretiation on the occasion of his 50th anniversary of ordination on August 25, 1998.
Fr. Arnak married Violet Aslanian of Evanston, IL, on January 20, 1951. Their marriage has been blessed with five children, now all married: Stephen, Laurie, Maro, Ardis, and Thomas. They are proud grandparents of eight grandchildren.