Very Rev. Fr. Papken Anoushian
St. Thomas Armenian Church
Fr. Papken was born in Istanbul, Turkey, to parents Krikor and Vartouhi. His baptismal name was Haroutune. He and his sister, Jacqueline, were brought up in a traditional Armenian home.
At the age of 11, Fr. Papken was sent to the St. Tarkmanchats Elementary school in Jerusalem. Two years later he was transferred to the high school at the Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate.
He completed high school in three years and was then admitted to the Theological Division of the Seminary. In 1977 he was ordained as a deacon, and a year later—upon graduation from the Theological Division—he was ordained as a priest by His Eminence Archbishop Serope Manoogian, the former Primate of France.
His Eminence Archbishop Yeghishe Derderian, then the Patriarch of Jerusalem, sent Fr. Papken to America so he could continue his education. He studied at Wayne State University in Detroit and received a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1983. He studied law at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, MI, and graduated in three years on the dean's list. He earned a scholarship from Yale University, where he received a master's degree in the history of theology. As the culmination of his legal studies, Fr. Papken passed the New Jersey Bar and Michigan Bar exams.
During his time in Michigan, Fr. Papken served as assistant pastor at St. John Church in Southfield, MI. His duties also took him to parishes throughout the Midwest.
In 1988, Fr. Papken was elevated to the rank of Vartabed by His Eminence Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, then-Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. He served as the Grand Sacristan of the St. Vartan Cathedral until being appointed to the St. Thomas Church in 1991, where he continues to serve today.