On Saturday, April 10, right after the Vespers service, six members of the Brotherhood of the Great House of Cilicia were elevated to the rank of senior archimandrites (dzayrakooyn vartabed / ծայրագոյն վարդապետ) in a ceremony presided by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I. Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian officiated the ceremony at the St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Cathedral of the Holy See, with Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian officiating as godfather of the ordinands.
The newly elevated dzayrakooyn vartabeds are Very Rev. Frs. Stepanos Pashayan, Ardag Arabian, Hrant Tahanian, Shnorhk Ashikian, Boghos Tinkjian and Hovhannes Saghdjian. With special permission by His Holiness, Very Rev. Frs. Vartan Tashjian and Bedros Manuelian will be conferred the same rank in their respective prelacies.
Following the ceremony, Archbishop Shahan addressed the young senior archimandrites quoting from the Sermon on the Mount: “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37). James proffers the same words in his epistle, Archb. Shahan said, yet he pointed out that it was Paul who referred to it more in depth in the beginning of his Second Epistle to the Corinthians and declares that the “Yes” of God to mankind and the world is our Lord Jesus Christ himself. He obeyed the will of His Father, spoke His words, spread the good tidings of salvation and He defended it at the cost of His life.
Afterwards, His Holiness delivered his patriarchal blessing and recommendations to the new archpriests.
The day before the ordination, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I presided the dissertation defense by the candidates at the Giligia Museum, in the presence of the Brotherhood priests that reside at the Holy See.
Very Rev. Fr. Stepanos Pashayan’s thesis was about the correspondence of the Armenian Prelacy of Egypt with Catholicoi Sahag II and Papken I; Very Rev. Fr. Ardag Arabian’s subject was “In the Footsteps of Israel: Race, Nation, Culture, and Identity;” Very Rev. Fr. Hrant Tahanian’s dissertation was entitled “Biblical Contradictions and Orthodox Formulae;” Very Rev. Fr. Shnorhk Ashikian’s, “Four Years in Gehenna: May the Memory of the Martyrs Be Blessed Forever;” Very Rev. Fr. Boghos Tinkjian’s thesis was, “Biblical Greek Textbook,” and Very Rev. Fr. Hovhannes Saghdjian’s was, “The Armenian Churches of Greece.” For their part, Very Rev. Fr. Vartan Tashjian’s dissertation is entitled, “Biblical and Religious-Moral Analyses and Reflections,” while Very Rev. Fr. Bedros Manuelian’s is, “The Relics of the Great House of Cilicia.” Both Very Rev. Frs. Tashjian and Manuelian were not able to be present in Antelias for the dissertation defense due to pandemic-related restrictions on travel in the countries they are posted to.
After the theses were defended, His Holiness offered his remarks and recommendations to them while he also expressed his satisfaction for the research work presented.
Separately, upon the conclusion of the dissertation defense ceremony, His Holiness granted Rev. Fr. Oshin Chvalertanian the right to wear the cross for the services performed at the Mother Monastery and the Seminary of Antelias.