1995 – 2007 and 2010 – Present)

Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian came to St. Peter Armenian Church in Watervliet, NY, in November 1995 as Deacon Gregory, Deacon-in-Charge of the parish. Born and raised in New Jersey, he is the son of Sona and the late Charles Doudoukjian of Teaneck, NJ, and the youngest of four children. Throughout his high school years, Fr. Stepanos attended religious conferences and retreats at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, NY. It was there that he first heard God’s “calling” and it was there that he met his wife, Paulette (Kasparian). It was the summer programs at the seminary that helped surface the seed of priesthood that was already planted within him.
Fr. Stepanos, who comes from a family of bankers, originally went to Bergen Community College in New Jersey, where he majored in banking and finance for one semester, after graduating from high school. He changed his major to early childhood development and earned his Associates Degree. He then transferred to Dominican College in Orangeburg, NJ, where he earned his BA in elementary education. In 1993, he graduated from St. Nersess Seminary and St. Valadimirs Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY, receiving a Master’s Degree in Divinity. He also received special commendation for his Master’s Thesis titled, “Oral History: An Intergenerational Study of the Effects of the Assassination of Archbishop Leon Tourian in 1933 on American-Armenians.”

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.