Newly-Ordained Alumnus Fr. Hovnan Demerjian Prepares to Celebrate First Divine Liturgy
Serving as Fr. Hovnan's khardavilag (sponsoring priest) was the Seminary dean, V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan. Dr. Thomas Samuelian, a longtime friend and confidant of the new priest, served as his godfather. Dr. Samuelian is Emeritus Professor of Armenian Language at St. Nersess. He currently resides in Armenia.
Fr. Hovnan is currently completing a forty-day retreat at a Catholic retreat center near St. Nersess. There, following the custom of the Armenian Church, Fr. Hovnan is spending a time of prayer and preparation for his ministry. Armenian clergy from the area meet regularly with Fr. Hovnan to pray with him and to assist him in his final preparations for parish ministry.
The new priest will celebrate his first Badarak on Sunday, July 22, 2007 at St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church (White Plains, NY). Fr. Hovnan will also preach the sermon on that day.
Among the clergy--many of them products of St. Nersess-- presiding at the ordination and the service of calling on the previous evening were: V. Rev. Fr. Ghevont Samoorian, Fr. Arakel Aljalian (Pastor of St. James), Fr. Tateos Abdalian, Fr. Krikor Sabounjian, Fr. Arnak Kasparian, Fr. Vasken Kouzouian, Fr. Mampre Kouzouian, Fr. Arsen Barsamian (Pastor Emeritus of St. James), Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian, and Fr. Simeon Odabashian.
Also present for the celebration were several St. Nersess seminarians: Deacon Vahe Hovsepyan, Deacon Ryan Tellalian, Megan Jendian, and Benjamin Rith-Najarian. The occasion also attracted numerous St. Nersess alumni and youth.
Fr. Hovnan Demerjian grew up in St. James Armenian Church in Watertown, MA. He is the son of Kenneth and Karen Demerjian. He earned a B.A. dgree from Boston College and the Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.
From 1996 to 1998 he lived and worked in Armenia, teaching in public schools as a member of the U.S. Peace Corps. This experience motivated him to establish the Armenian Volunteer Corps in 2000, an organization which he directed for three years, and which continues to bring scores of Diasporan Armenians to live and work in Armenia each year.
Returning to the U.S. in 2003 with his new wife Anna, Fr. Hovnan began taking courses at St. Nersess Seminary in preparation for ordained ministry.
At the same time he joined the Diocesan Staff as the new College Ministry Coordinator. There he pioneered a program to track Armenian college students and promote their spiritual growth by connecting them to their church.
Fr. Hovnan is a member of the 2007 graduating class at St. Nersess Seminary. He has been assigned as Pastor of St. Hagop Armenian Church, St. Petersburg, FL. He begins his ministry at St. Hagop this summer.