Bishops on Worship
St. Nersess offered a "mini- semester" with a series of course offerings for the general public and clergy through ZOOM. Click below to watch and listen to the lectures offered to the general public.
Bishops on Worship
Last evening, Tuesday, June 30, St. Nersess Seminary held its final worship service for the academic year. Clergy from the Eastern and Western Dioceses and Armenia joined students and members of the faculty to participate in the Evening Service Երեկոյեան Ժամերգութիւն via Zoom. This was the first time such a gathering has taken place.
Presiding at the service was Bishop Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese and graduate of St. Nersess. Also participating in the service were three guest clergy from Holy Etchmiadzin who joined in the early morning hours in Armenia: the V. Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, Dean of the Gevorgian Theological Seminary of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, who served as ժամարար; the V. Rev. Fr. Anania Tsaturyan, Staffbearer for His Holiness Karekin II, who served as աղօթասաց; and the V. Rev. Fr. Garegin Hambardzumyan, Director of the Department of Mission at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, who offered the message. Fr. Garegin spoke about "listening for God during the Coronavirus Pandemic."
"It was truly inspiring for me to be joined in the seminary chapel by so many of my brother clergy from the Eastern and Western Dioceses and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. It was a wonderful way to conclude the academic year, together in prayer, worship and fellowship," reflected the Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean.
The Evening Service completed the 2019-20 academic year which was extended due to the pandemic. Thanks to online platforms, the St. Nersess faculty and students were able to continue their classes remotely starting in March when the seminary moved from in-person to virtual teaching. During June, the students continued classes, and the seminary presented a mini-semester with continuing education courses for clergy and lectures for the general public. These courses were well received and attended by nearly 200 people throughout the month.
This week, the popular Deacons' Training Program began with a virtual program for 33 altar servers and deacons.
Fr. Mardiros Chevian, as dean of the seminary, visits Armenia and Holy Etchmiadzin at least once annually. During his most recent visit in mid-February, he attended a meeting of a consultative committee of clergy and lay people commissioned by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, to address questions related to seminary curriculum, admission policies, qualifications for graduation, inter-seminary cooperation and collaboration.
The committee has met over the past two years and at this latest meeting was asked to consider the following topics:
1) current status of seminary education worldwide
2) the recruitment process for new candidates
3) continuing education for clergy
4) the establishment of small satellite seminaries in various parts of the world, for example Europe and Russia
St. Nersess Seminary was used as an example of what these seminaries could look like. The mission would be to recruit, train and educate local young men for their local parishes and dioceses. The program of study would be offered both by the new local seminary and the Gevorgian Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin.
After discussing these matters for two days, the committee presented its report and proposals to the Catholicos. Vehapar Der was pleased with the suggestions and informed the committee that the next step would be to present the report to the Supreme Spiritual Council at its next meeting.
Recently, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, former primate of the Eastern Diocese and now the Pontifical Legate of Western Europe and Representative of the Armenian Church to the Holy See, asked Fr. Mardiros to assist the European dioceses to implement some of the ideas proposed during the committee meetings in Armenia. Khajag Srpazan is at the forefront of the implementation, while St. Nersess has a decades-long experience with some of these programs.
The first area in which St. Nersess is offering its help is in the planning of a remote Deacons' Training Program for the European dioceses to be held this August. A program was created with the assistance of Dn. Michael Sabounjian and Dn. Alexander Calikyan, both St. Nersess graduates with experience in these types of programs. The plan is that this remote program will evolve into a full onsite Deacons' Training Program next summer.
Additionally, the seminary was asked to provide its Acculturation Program model for new priests. In response to their request, we have shared our 3-6 month program which was established five years ago for new priests in the Eastern Diocese.
In the near future, we will also provide assistance in helping their dioceses to establish a small local seminary on their continent.
We are honored and pleased to be able to share our experience with our fellow clergy and faithful abroad. We join our prayers with theirs as they work to expand and improve the mission of the Armenian Church in Europe.