Monthly Archives: January 2012

South Florida Armenian Community Celebrates Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Nareg Berberian’s 20th Anniversary of Ordination to the Holy Priesthood

South Florida Armenian Community Celebrates Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Nareg Berberian’s 20th Anniversary of Ordination to the Holy Priesthood

H.E. Archbishop Barsamian Ordains New Deacons at St. David Armenian Church

Boca Raton, FL – On Saturday, January 21, around 250 members of the south Florida Armenian-American community gathered in Mardigian Hall at St. David Armenian Church to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Nareg Berberian’s ordination to the Holy priesthood. The celebratory banquet was widely attended by hundreds of Florida Armenians from across the state and many religious dignitaries from around the United States.

Guests enjoyed an eloquent and entertaining banquet over a fine three-course dinner, remarks from religious dignitaries and musical performances from local Armenian talents. Presiding over the banquet was His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America in New York. Joining him was H.E. Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate of the Armenian Church of America in Washington, DC, Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Dean of St. Vartan Cathedral in New York City, Rev. Fr. Mempre Kouzouian from Boston, Massachusets, Rev. Fr. Vartan Joulfyan of St. Mary Armenian Church in Cooper City, Florida, Rev. Fr. Nerses Jebejian, and Rabbi Robert Silvers of B’nai Israel Synagogue in Boca Raton and local clergy. Taniel Koushakjian, founder of Florida Armenians (, served as Master of Ceremonies.

Kicking off the program was Carol Norigian, Banquet Commemorative Committee Chair, who expressed her deep appreciation to Fr. Berberian and noted his hard work and many achievements over his decade-long tenure in the south Florida parish. Norigian spoke on behalf of committee members Beatrice Babgouni, Nadia Isguzar, Maral Kazandjian, Armen Melkonian, Rose Reynolds, Claudette Sarian, Nina Stapan, and Rose Tatarian who organized the evening’s festivities. Norigian also presented Fr. Nareg with a beautiful replicable Noah’s Ark, sent by renowned Armenian artist and designer Michael Aram, for his many accomplishments at St. David Armenian Church.

Several local talents performed for the packed hall to celebrate in Hayr Sourp Berberian’s 20 years of service in the Holy priesthood. St. David ACYOA talents Alique Mazmanian and Ani Manvelyan each sang Armenian songs and Alique joined Alex Crossley for a duet. Arman Avedyan, also from St. David ACYOA, inspired the crowd with his powerful performance of the classic Armenian opera Nessun Dorma. Later in the evening, St. Mary ACYOA violinist Sage McBride beautifully performed Aram Khatchadourian’s Groong. Following was local award-winning pianist Hratch Boghossian, who brought the crowd to its feet with his spectacular performance.

Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Nareg Berberian with family and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian

Highlighting the banquet was the Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Nareg Berberian, who stated, “Today, I feel elated to have such a wonderful community, all of whom I value as my friends. It is unbelievable that 20 years have passed since my Ordination into the Holy Order of Priesthood, and ten years since you embraced me as your spiritual leader, your Pastor, here at St. David Armenian Church.” Fr. Nareg continued, “You are the Church, you are the mission, you are the ministry. Without you there would be no priesthood, without you there would be no vision. Thank you for making a positive difference in my life. God is working through each and every one of us. Let’s glorify His name and thank Him for bringing us closer to Him through the ministry of His Church.”

Fr. Nareg was also joined by his family who flew all the way from California. His niece, Joelle Awad, spoke eloquently about Fr. Nareg on behalf of his family. In addition, a special video message and film, showcasing photos of Hayr Nareg’s early life, was featured and is available below.

Concluding the banquet’s program was remarks from H.E. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church. His Eminence spoke warmly about his friendly and professional relationship with Fr. Nareg, and reflected on his many years of service, having himself ordained Hayr Nareg twenty years ago. On behalf of the Armenian Church, Archbishop Barsamian presented Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Berberian with an award for his two-decade service to God and the Armenian-American community. Archbishop Barsamian’s passionate remarks and uplifting spirit was a wonderful conclusion to the evening’s celebration.

Then, on Sunday, January 22, H.E. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian led Archishop Vicken Aykazian, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Nareg Berberian, Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Rev. Fr. Mampre Kouzouian, Rev. Fr. Nersess Jebejian and the south Florida Armenian-American community in Divine Liturgy (Holy Badarak). During Badarak, Archbishop Barsamian ordained two young St. David altar servers, Arlen Avedyan as a Deacon, and Gregory Merjian as Sub-Deacon, in the Armenian Church.


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Photo Caption 1 (L-R): Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Nareg Berberian with family and H.E. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in New York, and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate of the Armenian Church in Washington, DC


ACYOA Chapter Workshop Focuses on Strengthening Local Chapters

ACYOA Chapter Workshop Focuses on Strengthening Local Chapters

January 6, 2012

By Armen Terjimanian
Secretary, ACYOA Central Council

Thirty-five ACYOA members from parishes across the Eastern Diocese gathered in Boca Raton, Fla., last weekend for the ACYOA’s 4th annual Chapter Workshop, hosted by St. David Church. The workshop was designed and facilitated by the seven-member ACYOA Central Council with the Diocesan Vicar, the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, serving as the workshop chaplain.

Under the theme “We’re All In This Together,” the January 13-15 workshop aimed to provide an interactive atmosphere for participants to share successes, struggles, and advice on how to nurture and build their respective ACYOA parish chapters while also providing opportunities for service, worship, and Christian fellowship.

The first night of the workshop started with an icebreaker where participants worked in small groups. Their task was to complete a puzzle which spelled out words describing leadership skills they would later present to the full group, such as “dedication,” “communication,” and “trust.” After another team-building session—a quiz using “Armenian Church Hye Q” game cards, which tested the young parishioners’ knowledge of the Armenian church and culture—evening vespers concluded the first night’s events.

ACYOA Workshop Attendees

Saturday began with morning matins, after which Central Council chair Danny Mantis led a session on “Mission, Team, and Organization,” challenging the workshop participants to understand the ACYOA’s mission and the resources the organization has to make it succeed. Participants were told that a clear mission, balanced team, and healthy organization were important aspects of a successful chapter. Participants were asked to analyze the “health” of their respective chapters, and they discussed with Central Council members what they thought would make for a successful ACYOA chapter.

“It’s great how chapters in the same region are able to work together for the same common goal: To create a solid ACYOA organization.” said Alyne Corrigan from St. Stepanos Church of Elberon, N.J. “I’m looking forward to this upcoming year.”

Participants were then broken up into groups based on geographic regions to brainstorm ideas for events and put together a 12-month calendar using guidelines for goal-setting and the “Circle of Crosses” chart.

After a service lunch, where participants made over 100 sandwiches for a South Florida homeless shelter, a Bible study was led by Fr. Odabashian on the 2012 Diocesan theme of lay ministry. Participants were divided into three small groups to allow for better conversation. The study groups were guided by Fr. Odabashian; the Very Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian, pastor of St. David Church; and Garen Karamyan, the youth director of Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, N.Y.

A panel discussion followed on the challenges faced by the ACYOA. The panel discussion tackled questions such as what is the Central Council’s role in the ACYOA and how can chapters overcome a lack of participation at events.

Participants were happy with what they got out of the weekend.

“This weekend was an incredible experience that I shared with individuals who, like me, have a common goal of bringing together our Armenian youth through social events, church, and other activities,” said Andrew Khachatryan from the St. Sarkis Church of Carrollton, Texas. “We as ACYOA board members want our youth to be closer to God, and our bond through workshops like this makes me feel blessed.”

Since the program began in 2009, more than 100 ACYOA chapter leaders from 27 parishes have participated in similar chapter workshops.

Armenian Church of Southwest Florida Celebrates First Badarak Service of 2012

Armenian Church of Southwest Florida Celebrates First Badark Service of 2012

Bonita Beach, Florida – On January 15, the Armenian Church of Southwest Florida celebrated their first Badarak service of 2012. Over 100 parishioners from across southwest Florida were present to welcome Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar of the Armenian Church of America. Florida Armenian local Mr. Vartkes Karaian served as Godfather of the Cross during the Blessing of the Water. A delicious luleh kebab dinner followed the service where guests renewed old friendships and welcomed new parishioners to the growing Armenian community in southwest Florida.

Deacon Zaven Hartutian, The Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Deacon Allan Tossoonian, and Godfather of the Cross Vartkes Karaian

The next Badarak service will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm. Services are held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Bonita Beach.  For more information or to join our mailing list, please contact Carole at (239) 3804 or

Photo caption (L-R): Deacon Zaven Hartutian, The Very Rev. Fr.  Simeon Odabashian, Deacon Allan Tossoonian, and Godfather of the Cross-Vartkes Karaian.