PRIESTS OF OUR PARISH
Fr. Garen was ordained a deacon in January 1948 and was assigned to to the Lowell Armenian Church as deacon-in-charge. On December 19, 1948, Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan ordained him to the holy priesthood at St. Vartanantz Church of Lowell, MA. Fr. Garen served as pastor of the church for nine years. In 1952, Fr. Garen married Zabel Kludjian, having three children.
In 1964, he was awarded the pectoral cross. In September 1957, Fr. Garen became the pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church, where he worked until 1970.
Fr. Garen was elected pastor of St. Peter Armenian Church of Troy (and later in Watervliet), NY in 1970, and came to his new parish in September of that year. Fr. Garen served his third parish for 19 years. He retired from pastoral work in September 1989. In 1977, Fr. Garen received his floral Pilonium, and in 1984, he was elevated to the rank of Avak Kahana. He served on the Diocesan Council from 1971-1975.
Fr. Garen continued his studies by joining various workshops and seminars and by attending courses at the University of New York at Albany and Siena College in Londonville. He served as a member of the Watervliet Clergy and a member of Capital Area Clergy support groups. In his retirement, Fr. Garen always helped out by filling in as a priest when needed throughout the Diocese. He has served churches in Houston, TX, and Cleveland, OH, as well as mission parishes in Florida. Fr. Garen traveled twice to Armenia on a preaching mission. Fr. Garen passed in 2013.
Fr. Stepanos has traveled to Armenia on two occasions. In 1990, he spent two months studying with the University of Michigan summer study program. He also went for three weeks in 1992 to do missionary work with St. Nersess Armenian Seminary. Following his graduation, he spent some time in the Old City of Jerusalem studying Armenian and Liturgics.
During the years 1994-95, prior to moving to the Capital District where he now resides, Fr. Stepanos worked as a pastoral assistant and youth director for the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs in Queens, NY, and at the Diocesan headquarters in the youth ministry department, where he focused on college ministry.
In February 1996, as part of the traditional Armenian ordination ritural which was held at St. Peter Armenian Church in Watervliet, New York, Deacon Gregory was given his new name, Stepanos, as he was ordained a priest in the Armenian Church by His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate, . Dn. Gregory requested the name Stepanos, Armenian for Stephen, in honor of his deceased twin-brother. Following the ceremony, Fr. Stepanos spent his Karasoonk (40-day secluded retreat) at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary. He celebrated his Antranig Badarak (first Divine Liturgy) at St. Peter Armenian Church on Palm Sunday, March 31, 1996.
In January 1998, in addition to his parish ministry, His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian assigned Fr. Stepanos the position of Director of the St. Nersess summer and winter conferences for Armenian Youth, a position which Der Stepanos presently still holds. As Director, Fr. Stepanos organizes and implements seminars for Junior High, High School and College-aged Armenian students.
In 2005, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian also appointed Fr. Stepanos as the Director for Youth and Vocations for St. Nersess Armenian Seminary. For two years he shared his time between St. Peter Armenian Church and St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.
In 2006, the Primate presented Fr. Stepanos with the pectoral cross in honor of the 10th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
On July 1, 2007, Fr. Stepanos was assigned as the full-time Director of Youth and Vocations for St. Nersess Armenian Seminary. His emphasis was on recruitment of seminarians. He also continued to direct the summer programs as well as organize other youth programs for the seminary.
On Sunday, September 12, 2010, Fr. Stepanos returned to St. Peter Armenian Church to serve as the parish priest once again for “round two”. The return to the Capital District and St. Peter Armenian Church has been a blessing both for Fr. Stepanos and his family as well as the parish community. His initial emphasis is to encourage young families to embrace the Armenian church and participate on Sunday mornings. Also more educational and spiritual programs will be implemented under Fr. Stepanos’ tenure.
Rev. Bedros Vartanian, 1921 –
Very Rev. Stepan Vartanian, 1927 – 1928
Rev. Nishon Papazian, 1931 – 1933
Rev. Yeghishe Kasparian – 1933
Rev. Karekin Hovagimian –