Clergy Profile

Rev. Fr. Diran Papazian

Fr. Diran Papazian

Southfield, MI

Rev. Fr. Diran Papazian was born in Istanbul in 1923 with the baptismal name Garabed. He received his early schooling in local Armenian schools until December 1934 when he left Istanbul to attend the Theological Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. He graduated from the seminary in 1940. In 1950, he was admitted to the Theological Seminary of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon, where he continued his studies. While studying in Lebanon, he authored his prize-winning lyrics for the official anthem of the Church Schools in the Middle East.

At the invitation of Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan, then-Primate of the Eastern Diocese, Fr. Diran came to the United States in 1951 to pursue further theological studies. He first attended the Philadelphia Divinity School, but later transferred to the Episcopal Theological School in Massachusetts, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in divinity. He then enrolled at the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, MA, where he earned a master’s degree in Sacred Theology in 1956.

In 1957, he moved to Detroit, where he married the late Rosalie Papazian, an active church worker and teacher in public schools. On February 23, 1958, he was ordained as a priest at St. John’s Church of Detroit by Archbishop Mampre Calfayan, then-Primate. He served at St. John’s for 15 years.

In the early years of his pastorate, Fr. Diran also served as visiting pastor to the newly established midwestern parishes of Illinois. He also helped the mission parish of Cleveland in its efforts to build a church, and St. James in Evanston, IL, as well. He also temporarily served as pastor of St. James Church in Watertown, MA.

During his tenure as pastor of St. John’s, in addition to his involvement with the building of the church and cultural hall, Fr. Diran was also involved in the two historic pontifical visits of His Holiness Vasken I and the visits of many other ecclesiastical dignitaries. In 1961, Fr. Diran organized a group for a pilgrimage to Holy Etchmiadzin, where His Holiness presented him with a jewel-studded hand-cross, which had been specifically made for this occasion per His Holiness’ order.

In January 1966, His Holiness Vasken I, the late Catholicos of All Armenians, conferred upon Fr. Diran the religious distinction to wear a Pectoral Cross with a special Pontifical Encyclical. Simultaneously, Archbishop Sion Manoogian, then-Primate, gave Fr. Diran the honor of wearing a Floral Cape.

In 1972, Fr. Diran was assigned as pastor at St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church in Cleveland, OH, where he previously served as visiting pastor and an organizer for the building committee. While serving the Cleveland parish, he also acted as a visiting pastor of the mission church of St. Petersburg, FL. Fr. Diran served at St. Gregory of Narek Church until 1985.

In 1983, on the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Diran was honored with the ecclesiastical honorary title of Archpriest with a special Pontifical Gontag issued by His Holiness Vazken I.

Fr. Diran’s next assignment was serving two parishes simultaneouslyin the New York metropolitan area: Holy Cross Armenian Church of Union City, NJ, and Holy Cross Armenian Church of New York, NY. He served these parishes from 1985-1988.

On January 1, 1989, Fr. Diran was invited by the parish of Sts. Joachim and Anne Armenian Church of Palos Heights, Ill., to be its pastor. He served the parish until his retirement in January 1995, and made his permanent residence in Southfield, Mich. During his retirement years, he served as Pastor Emeritus at St. John’s Armenian Church in Southfield, Mich., and also as a visiting pastor to Florida mission parishes along the state’s Gulf coast.

Father Diran was married to the late Yn. Rosalie. They have two children, Garo and Elise.

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