St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, New York
His Eminence Abp. Khajag Barsmian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, ordained Deacon Ara Kadehjian to the holy priesthood this morning, renaming him Fr. Bedros. Fr. Bedros is a 2000 graduate of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary and the 36th clergyman produced by the Seminary.
The impressive Armenian ceremony of ordination, considered by many to be the most solemn in christendom, took place during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on the first Sunday of Eastertide, known as Nor Geeragee (New Sunday).
During his sermon, Abp. Barsamian made poignant reference to the death yesterday of His Holiness Pope John II, calling him "the greatest churchman of the twentieth century and a friend of the Armenians." He urged the newly-ordained Fr. Bedros to emulate the Pope's profound dedicaton to God, his love of all peoples and his humility.
Fr. Bedros' sponsoring priest was Fr. Mardiros Chevian, another St. Nersess alumnus and past dean.
In 1998, he was ordained sub-deacon by Abp. Barsamian. He received a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in May of 2004 and a diploma in Armenian Church Studies from St. Nersess shortly thereafter.*
Ara spent the summer of 2000 in the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem, furthering his studies in Armenian liturgy and language. Shortly after his return, he was ordained deacon, again by Abp. Barsamian, on October 1, 2000 at St. Mary Armenian Church in Washington, DC.
Fr. Bedros has also completed an intensive program of Clinical Pastoral Education, a chaplaincy internship at NYU-Mount Sinai Hospital.
Following the ordination services, Fr. Bedros was escorted to St. Nersess, where, as is customary in the Armenian Church, he will spend 40 days in prayer and spiritual preparation for his priestly ministry. He will celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the first time on Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2005, at St. Vartan Cathedral.
*An earlier version of this press release inadvertently failed to mention Fr. Bedros' Master of Divinity degree, which he earned in 2004. The Seminary expresses its apologies to Fr. Kadehjian for this oversight.