ARCHDEACON HOVHANNES DOURSOUNIAN
(May 15, 1930 – June 11, 2021)
Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, and the Religious and Lay Councils were saddened to learn of the passing of Archdeacon Hovhannes Doursounian, a faithful servant of the Armenian Church for eight decades, on June 11, 2021, after a lengthy illness. The funeral service took place on Friday June 18, at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown, Massachusetts, on Friday, June 18. Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, Pastor, officiated the service and conveyed the condolences to the family on behalf of the Prelate. Archdeacon Doursounian is survived by his wife Mary, his children Krikor, Raffi, and Mheir, and their families.
Hovhannes Doursounian was born on May 15, 1930, in the village of Kirikhan, in the province of Hatay, which was part of the French mandate for Syria until 1939. He was the second son of Zedgants Hovhannes and Lousig Khougoian, survivors of the Armenian Genocide. His father passed away before his birth. His mother remarried afterwards to his father’s best friend, who adopted Hovhannes and his elder brother Zadig.
In 1939, after France turned over the sanjak of Hatay to Turkey, the family did not wish to stay under Turkish rule and left for Aleppo. Young Hovhannes enrolled in the Sahagian school, which was next to the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, where he started serving after his ordination as acolyte in 1942 by Archbishop Yeprem Dohmouni. A few years later, he was ordained subdeacon by Archbishop Zareh Payaslian, Prelate of Aleppo (later Catholicos Zareh I of the Great House of Cilicia).
After graduating from elementary school, Hovhannes Doursounian became an apprentice in custom shoe design and manufacture, and then became a partner of his brother Zadig in custom tailoring business. In 1958, he married Mary Mekhjian, with whom they had three children. He later opened a custom shoe store, which he operated until he immigrated to the United States in 1969.
After living two years in Poughkeepsie, New York, the Doursounian family settled in Westwood, Massachusetts, where they started their own custom tailoring business, which husband and wife ran from 1975 to 2015 when they retired.
Hovhannes Doursounian, who had met his close friend from Aleppo, Khoren Hagopian, the late Rev. Fr. Torkom Hagopian, pastor of St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown, and Vartan Seraderian, long-time choirmaster, served at the church in many capacities. In 1978, he was ordained Archdeacon by Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian of blessed memory. Aside from his service on the altar, he was also a member of the Board of Trustees and a long-time delegate to the National Representative Assembly. In 2001, on the 1700 anniversary of Armenian Christianity, he received the very first Eagle of the Prelacy award from Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan along with George Changelian.
May God illuminate his soul.