A Worthy Tribute
A Worthy Tribute
By George Macarian
FLArmenians Diocesan Contributor
When I recently joined Florida Armenians as a contributor, I was excited to learn what topics I was going to cover. Would I write about Genocide legislation on Capitol Hill, my favorite dolma recipe, or one of the many other topics pertaining to the Armenian Diaspora? However, the article I was asked to write wasn’t about any of those topics, but about something that was closer to my heart. It was about a recent tribute to a priest who not only founded what would eventually become the largest Armenian community in Florida, with St. David Armenian Apostolic Church in Boca Raton, but he also started a community where many youth had a place to embrace their Armenian culture, faith, education, social life, and continued involvement with the Church.
Recently, Archpriest Fr. Dr. Zaven Arzoumanian was honored for his literary accomplishments and his 60 years of dedicated service to the Armenian Church, at St. Leon Cathedral in Burbank, California. A distinguished historian, whose publications include a continuation of Patrirch Maghakia Ormanian’s Azgabadoum—a history of the Armenian Church, Fr. Arzoumanian’s ministry has brought faith and love to Christian Armenians all across North America. He has authored a dozen books and articles on the Armenian Church. Among his numerous accomplishments, the one that is most pertinent to the Florida Armenian community was his founding of St. David Armenian Church. This dream of constructing the first Armenian Church in Florida could not have been realized without his tireless dedication and support.
Daniel Arzoumanian went to the Seminary of Antelias at age 16, was ordained a celibate priest in 1954, and then went to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to serve as a parish priest. He received his initial theological education in England, then in the United States, where he graduated from Columbia University with a Doctoral degree. He served as parish priest first in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then in Montreal, Canada. He was then assigned as Founding Pastor of the Armenian Church of South Florida, later known as St. David Armenian Church, in 1984, where he found a new and emerging community of Armenian-Americans. At that time, there was no Armenian church in Florida, and Fr. Dr. Arzoumanian was leading his parish at a rented church in Ft. Lauderdale, while the new sanctuary was under construction. St. David Armenian Church was officially consecrated on March 27, 1988 by then Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the current Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem. Rev. Fr. Dr. Arzoumanian served the Armenian community of South Florida with distinction, honor and dedication for 18 years. From 2002-2005 he was called to serve as parish priest at St. Gregory Armenian Church in Pasadena, California. He is currently retired and resides in Glendale, California where he continues to write to this day.
As the center of the South Florida Armenian community, St. David’s provides a place for Armenians to pray, learn, and socialize. If not for its consecration, many Armenians, including myself, would not be as active in the Church as we are today. For this we are truly grateful to Archpriest Fr. Dr. Arzoumamian for his 60 years of dedication to our Church, his love and leadership in establishing the South Florida Armenian Community, and his devotion to our Lord.
George Macarian is a Sub-Deacon in the Armenian Apostolic Church and serves as Treasurer on the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA) Central Council.