July 14, 2007
Newly-ordained Fr. Hovnan Demerjian stands before the holy altar of St. James Armenian Church, Watertown, MAThe holy myron (chrism) is still fresh on the forehead and hands of Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, the 32nd alumnus of St. Nersess Seminary to be ordained a priest. The former Deacon Jason was ordained on June 17 at St. James Armenian Church (Watertown, MA) by His Eminence Abp. Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.
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.
Newly-ordained Fr. Hovnan Demerjian stands before the holy altar of St. James Armenian Church, Watertown, MA
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. Fr. Daniel Findikyan leads Deacon Jason to the bishop during the Calling Service. Dr. Tom Samuelian, godfather of the ordination, is at right.Crowds of family, friends and clergy were present at Fr. Hovnan's ordination beginning with his wife, Yeretzgin Anna.
Fr. Daniel Findikyan leads Deacon Jason to the bishop during the Calling Service. Dr. Tom Samuelian, godfather of the ordination, is at right.
Brother Clergy at His Side
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.
Founder of Armenian Volunteer Corps
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.
Yeretzgin Anna Sargsyan-Demerjian graduated from the State University of New York at Purchase. She is deeply involved in benevolent work in Armenia, most recently as Project Manager of the Children of Armenia Fund in New York City.
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.
Abp. Khajag Barsamian anoints the hands of Fr. Hovnan