The holy order of Priesthood:
REV. FR. VAHAN KOUYOUMDJIAN
Deacon Vahan Kouyoumdjian Receives Ordination and
Consecration to Holy Order of Priesthood
Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, officiated over the Service of Calling on Friday and the Divine Liturgy, Ordination, and Consecration on Saturday, along with the participation of sixteen clergymen.Calling to the Priesthood
The ordination service began on Friday evening with Vespers and the Order of Calling to the Priesthood, with the candidate, on his knees, proceeding down the main aisle of the church as a sign of humility and readiness to serve God. Deacon Vahan was escorted by his Sponsor, Very Rev. Father Sahag Yemishian, Vicar of the Prelacy. His Godfather was Hovig Koushagjian.
Through a series of questions, Archbishop Anoushavan confirmed the worthiness of the candidate and his willingness and ability to serve as a priest in the Armenian Apostolic Church in true apostolic faith. The candidate then recited the orthodox faith of the Armenian Church. The creed, attributed to St. Gregory of Datev, is more elaborate than the Nicene Creed recited during the Divine Liturgy. Making the sign of the cross over the candidate’s head, the Prelate prayed that the Lord would protect, bless, and illuminate him.
Ordination and Consecration
The next morning, Sts. Vartanantz Church was filled to capacity with family, friends, and parishioners from the mid-Atlantic and New England area. In the tradition of the Armenian Church the ordination service is intertwined with the Divine Liturgy, as this is the liturgical context in which the priest will serve most visibly. The Divine Liturgy began with the Episcopal procession and continued until the scriptural readings, at which time the Prelate took his place on the Episcopal throne on the altar. Deacon Vahan, on his knees, and escorted by the Vicar and other clergy, came before the Archbishop, who placed his hands on the candidate’s head and prayed that he would be “worthy to keep the priestly rank spotless, and prays that the candidate may be “a worker who causes no shame, rightly explaining the word of truth, in order to sow the life-giving and orthodox faith of the apostolic church in the hearts of the hearers.” He then asked the Lord to grant him apostolic grace to carry out various priestly functions.
Deacon Vahan was then given the vestments of his office, one piece at a time. While he was being vested out of view, the choir sang Khorhoort Khoreen (O Mystery Profound). Now fully vested, the candidate was ready to be anointed. The dove containing the Holy Muron (oil) was brought from the baptistery in a solemn procession that circled the sanctuary. Archbishop Anoushavan anointed the forehead of the candidate and for the first time addressed him as “the priest Der Vahan” and handed the Holy Chalice to him as a sign of authority to offer the Holy Sacrifice, and invited him to give his blessings to the congregation.
In his homily, Archbishop Anoushavan offered guidance to the new priest, and explained that after contemplation he decided to retain the candidate’s baptismal name as his priestly name, noting the historical connection of the name Vahan to the Vartanank struggle that Armenians will be commemorating later this month. His Eminence expressed his congratulations to the family of the new priest and thanked the pastor and board of trustees for hosting this momentous occasion.
Before concluding, Archbishop Anoushavan invited all of the Yeretzgins attending to come forward, including the newest Yeretzgin, Maggie Kouyoumdjian. His Eminence then conducted a special blessing ceremony for the Yeretzgins in acknowledgment of their devoted service alongside their husbands.
At the conclusion of the service, the faithful were invited to come forth and congratulate the new priest and receive his priestly blessing.
More than 250 people attended the luncheon in the church’s large hall, hosted by the Sts. Vartanantz Ladies Guild. The Vicar, Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, guided a short formal program with messages delivered by the chairman of the Religious Council, Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian; the Vice Chairman of the Executive Council, Ms. Karen Jehanian; and the pastor and chairman of the board of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian and Boghos Minoyan; and the newly ordained priest, Der Vahan Kouyoumdjian. Rev. Fr. Bozoian presented a golden hand-cross to Der Vahan on behalf of Sts. Vartanantz Church, where Deacon Vahan served on the altar for decades. Kevork Artinian was invited to offer a musical selection and sang the beautiful Erevan Erepouni. Archbishop Anoushavan brought the day to a close with his poignant words of congratulations to Der Vahan and his family, and appreciation to the Sts. Vartanantz community.
Participation of Many Clergy
In addition to the Prelate and Vicar, fifteen clergymen participated in the ceremonies providing a spectacular splendor to the already moving service. Participating clergy were: Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, V. Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Archpriest Fr. Arshen Aivazian, Archpriest Fr. Karekin Kasparian, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, Archpriest Fr.Vazken Bekiarian, Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian, Rev. Fr. Bedros Shetilian, Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, Rev. Fr. Mikael Der Kosrofian, Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian,