A new chapter started in the life of St. Stephen’s Church in New Britain, CT. Three joyous occasions coincided on Sunday, Oct. 16, as His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, introduced Rev. Fr. Samuel Ajemian, the parish’s new Pastor, to the faithful; on the same day, the church celebrated its 97th anniversary, when it also received the newly consecrated Holy Muron, followed by the Blessing of Water.
The Prelate invoked the example of prophet Samuel in his presentation of the new Pastor, remarking on the talents God has endowed him with at his young age. He begged for the parishioners’ support, urging them to be the wind beneath his wings for the success of his service to the community.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, a reception was held in the parish hall to welcome Rev. Fr. Ajemian and his wife Patil, during which Hagop Khachadourian, chairman of the Prelacy Executive Council, and Raffi Manjikian, the Executive Council representative with the community, delivered remarks to the public. Fr. Samuel, in turn, addressed the attendees with words of gratitude for the opportunity God has given him to serve the faithful, this time at St. Stephen’s Church in Connecticut, one of the oldest in the United States. He also thanked the Prelate as well as the Religious and Lay Council for their trust in him.
“Finally, in words addressed to you, dear parishioners of St. Stephen’s Church, from now on we have become one family,” Fr. Samuel said. “The pain of anyone of us is the pain of everybody, and so are the joys and successes.”
The Pastor then recognized the decades-long service of Archdeacon Edward Varjabedian, who received the “St. Stephen Protomartyr” certificate of merit for his six decades of service to the church. “The only phrase that immediately comes to my mind right now is how surprised, honored and grateful I am to receive this most prestigious award,” Archdeacon Edward said upon receiving the distinction. “Many years ago, Archbishop Hrant Khatchadourian, of blessed memory, who made me a sub-deacon in 1965, once said that when he steps into an Armenian Church, he feels like he has stepped back into the land of ancient Armenia; so each Sunday I travel to Armenia even though I live 20 minutes away.”
The event concluded with Fr. Samuel’s blessing and the “Giligia” song.
Born in Aleppo, Syria on January 3, 1996, with the baptismal name Sarkis, Rev. Fr. Ajemian received his elementary education at the Sahagian School and subsequently attended the Karen Jeppe Lyceum for one academic year. He was admitted at the Armenian Theological Seminary of the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias (Lebanon) in the 2008-2009 academic year.
After successfully completing the preliminary four-year high school program prior to entering the theological school as a seminarian, he was ordained sub-deacon by His Grace Bishop Norayr Ashekian of blessed memory on June 2, 2013, and on June 1, 2014, he was ordained deacon by His Eminence Archbishop Kegham Khacherian. Deacon Sarkis graduated from the seminary in June 2016, after having completed the full 8-year course of study.
At the same time, he petitioned the Eastern Prelacy to be accepted as a candidate for priesthood and, upon acceptance, completed a two-year condensed course of studies in 2018. After its completion, he married Patil Arabatlian on July 29, 2018, and was ordained to the priesthood on October 7, 2018, by His Grace Bishop Meghrig Parikian of blessed memory with the new name of Fr. Samuel. He served as Pastor of Holy Pentecost Church in Tripoli, Lebanon, from October 2018 to November 2020. For a year until his relocation to the United States in November 2021, Der Hayr was Pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon.