St. Nersess Seminary's largest graduating class in recent memory will continue their path toward ordination at the Seminary's Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 6:00PM.
Four young men have completed their graduate theological studies at St. Nersess and will receive their diplomas from the Dean and Board of Directors.
"This is a particularly joyous year for us at St. Nersess because we are graduating four outstanding young men, all of whom are preparing to be ordained as priests of the Armenian Church in the very near future," said Fr. Daniel Findikyan, the Seminary Dean. "We are all very proud of their achievement, and are confident that each one will bring extraordinary talents and enthusiasm to his ministry."
Justin Avedis Ajamian
From a Line of St. Nersess Graduates
Justin Avedis Ajamian was born in Akron, Ohio, but was raised in St. Leon Armenian Church (Fair Lawn, NJ). Justin comes from a line of St. Nersess graduates: his aunt Shaké Derderian, uncle Vartan Ajamian, and first cousin Maria Derderian are all Seminary alumni serving the Armenian Church in various capacities. Upon graduation, Justin has been assigned as a pastoral intern at St. David Armenian Church (Boca Raton, FL) under the supervision of St. Nersess alumnus V. Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian. He and his wife Hasmik will be relocating to Florida shortly after his graduation.
Deacon Leon Khoja-Eynatyan and his daughter Tatevig
Deacon Leon Khoja-Eynatyan's first career was as a conservatory-trained, professional musician and percussion instructor. After serving St. Mary Armenian Church (Washington, DC) for many years as choir member and organist, he felt the call to priesthood. Married with two children, Deacon Leon took theology courses at Catholic University of America in Washington while commuting to St. Nersess each week for Armenian Church studies. Deacon Leon is the founder of the Narek Bell Choir and the Director of the Eastern Diocese's Junior Choir Leadership Development Program, through which he has trained dozens of young men and women in the church's sacred music.
Vahagn Azizyan and his wife Arpine
St. Nersess the Great Program
Vahagn Azizyan and his wife ArpineVahagn Azizyan and his wife Arpine came to St. Nersess at the invitation of His Eminence Abp. Khajag Barsamian, having already graduated from the Theological Faculty of Yerevan State University and the Gevorgyan Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin. Vahagn worked for several years in one of the Church's youth centers in Yerevan, gaining much experience teaching the faith to young people. Vahagn is graduating from St. Nersess Seminary's "St. Nersess the Great" program, a two-year course of studies intended for students with previous theological training. Upon graduation, he has been assigned as pastoral intern at St. Leon Armenian Church (Fair Lawn, NJ), where he will be working under the supervision of St. Nersess alumnus Rev. Fr. Diran Bohajian.
From Minnesota to
Damascus to New Rochelle
Benjamin Rith-Najarian returns this week from a three-month sojourn in Damascus, Syria, his second study trip to that historical Armenian community, where he has been working to strengthen his Western Armenian language skills. Born in Philadelphia, he grew up in northern Minnesota, far from any contact with Armenians. His vocation to the priesthood began in his college years when he was baptized in the Armenian Church while attending St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Following a service trip to Armenia, he decided to attend St. Nersess to learn more of his ancestral church and theology. It was at St. Nersess that he gradually sensed God's call to the priesthood. Two weeks after his graduation from St. Nersess Benjamin will marry Danielle DerAsadourian of Evanston, IL.
During the Commencement ceremonies, the Seminary will also honor the Guardians and Shepherds of St. Nersess Seminary. Guardians pledge $5000/year to support the operation of the Seminary, while Shepherds pledge $1000/year. Handsome bronze and pewter medallions, custom-made for the Seminary, will be awarded to the Guardians and Shepherds by the Board of Directors in gratitude for their ongoing commitment to support the Seminary's work.
"Our Guardians and Shepherds form the financial bedrock of this institution," said Fr. Findikyan. "It is largely through their commitment that the Seminary has been able to navigate the current economic downturn. St. Nersess is delighted and proud to honor our most important benefactors at this year's Commencement."
Graduation Celebration Open to the Public
An elegant yet joyous celebration is planned for May 22. The festivities will begin with Evening Prayer in the Seminary chapel at 6:00pm presided by His Eminence Abp. Yeghishé Gizirian, Spiritual Father of the St. Nersess Community, with the participation of the seminarians, clergy, alumni and guests. The Commencement exercises will follow outdoors, presided by His Eminence Abp. Khajag Barsamian, President of the Board of Directors, as well as the Dean and faculty.
Following the ceremony, guests will enjoy fine food, wine, fellowship and music by The Merlin Virtuosi, a string quartet featuring Sami Merdinian.
The Commencement Ceremonies and reception are free and open to the public. We only ask that you inform us of your plans to attend, for planning purposes. Please email the Seminary at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (914) 636-2003.
Contributions to the Seminary on this joyous occasion will be most gratefully received, and can be made securely online.