With great sorrow, the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America learned of the passing of His Eminence Archbishop Aghan Baliozian, the longtime Primate of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, who entered into his eternal rest on September 22, in Sydney, Australia. He was 66.
Archbishop Aghan was greatly beloved by the people he served. He was a leader in the international ecumenical movement, and was highly admired as a prominent figure in his country’s religious life. Click here for biographical background on Archbishop Aghan.
In a directive issued earlier this week, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian requested that parishes of the Eastern Diocese remember Archbishop Aghan Baliozian through a hokehankisd service on Sunday, September 30.
The Diocese’s Armenian Studies coordinator Gilda Kupelian and Christian Education coordinator Elise Antreassian visited two Florida parishes, where they made presentations and held meetings with local community leaders and educators.
On Saturday, July 21, Kupelian and Anteassian led a program titled “Raising Children of Faith in the Armenian Tradition – What Every Parent Should Know,” at St. Hagop Armenian Church in St. Petersburg. Over 30 parishioners attended, gathering in the sanctuary for a discussion on spiritual formation and a PowerPoint survey on important Armenian historical, literary, and cultural figures. A fellowship hour followed, during which the community considered a parish retreat in the fall or spring.
The afternoon program was arranged by the Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, pastor at St. Hagop Armenian Church. Their membership has nearly tripled in recent years according to Fr. Demerjian, who has been working tirelessly with the Parish Council to plan Sunday School, youth, and cultural initiatives to serve the needs of the growing community.
On Sunday, July 22, Diocesan staff visited Soorp Haroutiun Armenian Church in Orlando, where more than 50 parishioners gathered for the day’s program. Visiting priest Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy.
Following services, Ms. Kupelian gave a PowerPoint presentation on Armenian heritage and culture. Ms. Kupelian and Ms. Antreassian then met with the pastor, Parish Council member Rita Harvey, parishioner Anna Stepanyan Vega, and teaching volunteers to discuss the launch of a new Sunday School in the fall. The school will offer both Christian and Armenian studies for parish children and teens.