The alumni discussed the mission, work, and purpose of SNAA. All members by a vote of confidence affirmed the leadership of Arpi Nakashian as Chairperson, Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian as Treasurer, and Dn. Daron Bolat as Secretary.
Arpi welcomed everyone and in the name of our gathering congratulated our newly elected Primate. She shared with us a recap of the St. Nersess Alumni Great Lenten retreat that took place in March and was graciously hosted by Fr. Vasken Kouzouian in Cambridge, MA.
A discussion took place regarding fundraising efforts by Alumni themselves to help the seminary directly with their own donations to the newly established Leadership Giving Circle for St. Nersess, personal donations, seeking out people with a passion for the mission of the seminary, inviting them to consider donating, and directing honorary donations remembering or celebrating departed and living individuals to the seminary.
The alumni also took the initiative to re-establish the adopt a seminarian initiative; thus making a more personal contact with the present body of students and mentoring them to become good shepherds of the Armenian Church.
Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Dean of the seminary, noted that this year is the 50th anniversary of the relationship established between St. Nersess and St. Vladimir Orthodox Seminary for the Master's of Divinity degree program for St. Nersess students. He noted as well that it has been 52 years at St. Vladimir's that the joint education of our students has been in place. Since 1966 there have been some 40 ordained clergy, including four Primates, the most recent being the Primate of the Eastern Diocese, the Very Reverend Father Daniel Findikyan.
The luncheon meeting of ideas, good works, brotherly and sisterly fellowship concluded with a surprise celebratory cake for our new Primate, Fr. Daniel, on the occasion of his election while the alumni sang unanimously Ուրախ լեր Սուրբ Եկեղեցի (rejoice Holy Church). After words of joy and prayers, the V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan gave his first blessing to us as Primate. The current seminarians were in attendance during lunch.
Thank you to the staff of our beloved Alma Mater for opening the doors to us and always keeping them open for a visit, to refresh our spirits and renew our ties to a small school that has produced an abundant harvest of leadership.
Fr. Garabed Kochakian