February Feast Day Brings Worship, Armenia and Alumni to Seminary
V. Rev. Fr. Babgen Salibyan, visiting from Armenia, was celebrant of the festal Badarak
The Armenian feast of the Presentation of the Lord to the Temple (Dyarununtarach) was a true festivity for the St. Nersess community last week, as the Seminary hosted a visiting priest from Armenia and an evening alumni gathering.
Mine Eyes Have Seen Thy Salvation
The Feast of the Presentation, known as Dyarnuntarach in Armenian, commemorates one of the few known events of Jesus' childhood. According to the Gospel of Luke 2:22-32, Jesus was presented by his parents to the Temple in accordance with Jewish law. An elderly, pious man named Simeon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, took the child into his arms and blessed God, saying:
according to thy word;
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared,
in the presence of all peoples,
A light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to thy people Israel.
A Heroic Servant
Celebrating the Divine Liturgy in the Seminary chapel was V. Rev. Fr. Babgen Salibyan, who serves in Javakh, an Armenian enclave in the Republic of Georgia. Fr. Salibyan shepherds a flock that suffers economic hardship and widespread discrimination by the Georgian authorities.
"Among the many distinguished clergy that have visited us in recent years, Hayr Babgen is one of a small number of Armenian clergy who can truly be called heroic," said the dean, Fr. Daniel Findikyan at the end of theBadarak. The two priests, both members of the brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin have been close friends since their student days in the Mother See.
Also participating in the Divine Liturgy with the Seminary community were Rev. Daniel Karadjian, former pastor of St. Sarkis Armenian Church (Charlotte, NC); Rev. Mesrob Hovsepyan, a newly-ordained priest who is currently concluding his forty-day post-ordination retreat (Karasoonk) at St. Nersess; Rev. Karekin Kasparian, Pastor of St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church (White Plains, NY) and Assistant Secretary of the Seminary's Board of Directors; and Rev. Tateos Abdalian, Coordinator of Mission Parish Outreach for the Eastern Diocese.
Clergy, alumni, students and friends enjoy fellowship after the Divine Liturgy
Seminarians and Seminary Graduates
Later in the day, alumni and alumnae of St. Nersess gathered at the Seminary for an evening of prayer, discussion and fellowship with the seminarians.
"Many of the alumni are eager to get to know the current seminarians more closely, and to support them as they walk the path toward ministry in the Armenian Church," said Rev. Yeprem Kelegian, Pastor of St. Mesrob Armenian Church (Racine, WI) who is President of the St. Nersess Alumni Association. Fr. Yeprem also serves as the seminarians' Spiritual Director. He meets monthly with the students to guide them in their spiritual growth.
"I feel joy and hope whenever I come through the doors of St. Nersess," said Megan Jendian, who recently completed her studies and will be graduated this May. She has already begun her full-time ministry in the Department of Youth and Education of the Eastern Diocese.