In a ceremony presided by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, Oct. 16, at St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Cathedral in Antelias, five young apeghas (celibate priests) of the Brotherhood of the Great House of Cilicia received the special four ranks of vartabed (archimandrite) and the right to carry the pastoral staff. A separate ordination of another Brotherhood priest took place in Canada on the same day.
In Antelias, His Eminence Shahan Sarkissian, head librarian of the Cilicia library, bequeathed the ranks on Very Rev. Fathers Avedik Der Garabedian, Antranig Kurumian, Sarkis Aprahamian, Kevork Karagozian, and Manug Brikhanian. Their sponsor was Very Rev. Fr. Viken Dalkelejian.
During the service, the five young priests, kneeling at the altar, anathematized the heretics and confirmed their loyalty to the Armenian Church and the teachings of the Church Fathers. After passing the examination of faith, the newly consecrated vartabeds renewed their vows and promised to preach the Gospel for the salvation of our people.
In a sermon at the end of the ceremony, Archbishop Shahan praised Almighty God for bestowing his grace on the children of the Church, bringing light to it by way of ordinations and choosing new evangelizers from the ranks of the Brotherhood of the Great House of Cilicia to bring our Lord’s Word to our people. He also expressed his gratitude to Catholicos Aram.
Quoting from Paul, Archbishop Shahan said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith” (Romans 1:16), explaining, “The word of the Lord is God himself, his Kingdom, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, the glory and grace of the Lord, the light and of hope of the Lord.” He told the newly ordained vartabeds to live the truth of the Gospel in a fitting manner, preach and teaching daringly, armed with their faith.
Following the Divine Liturgy, His Holiness received the new archimandrites in the pontifical residence, where he gave them his fatherly and patriarchal blessing.
With the blessings and by order of the Catholicos, His Eminence Archbishop Papken Tcharian, Prelate of the Armenian Prelacy of Canada, conferred the four ranks of vartabed and the right to carry the pastoral staff to Very Rev. Fr. Hagop Yacoubian at Sourp Hagop Church in Montreal.