ST. JAMES WELCOMES NEW COMMUNITY LEADER
By Jake Goshert
"Dn. Levon has shown that he is not only a devout son of the Armenian Church, but also a proud Armenian," said Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). "Through his work at the Diocese, he has gained a number of valuable skills and experiences which will serve him well as he assumes a leadership role in one of our wonderful Midwest parishes."
Dn. Kirakosyan grew up in Armenia near Holy Etchmiadzin as a parishioner in the Araratian Diocese. During a welcome luncheon in Evanston, the Primate said Dn. Levon truly is answering the call of God to serve the church.
"Although he is still taking his early steps in fulfilling that call, I know that, in his heart, this young man who leads his life with humbleness and reverence, and above all, with love," the Primate said. "Deacon Levon Kirakosyan began his life in the very center of our church's life: in the Armenian city of Etchmiadzin, home of our holy Mother See. Growing up in the shadow of Holy Etchmiadzin, Levon was drawn to our Lord's service, and is well aware of the deep responsibility -- both to God and to our people -- that he is undertaking."
A graduate of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary and Yerevan State Economic University, Dn. Kirakosyan has been working at the Diocesan Center in New York City for the past five years, first in the development office and later as assistant to Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean of the St. Vartan Cathedral.
"I learned from Fr. Mardiros how to be a pastor and have a pastoral approach when dealing with people. I also learned from him administrative work, how to work in the office and organize my time, hold meetings," Dn. Kirakosyan said. "He was like an older brother to me. He was very, very helpful to me and was very understanding."
He told his new parishioners in Evanston that the Primate, too, has been a father figure in his life.
"Since I've been here in this country I feel like Srpazan has been a father to me. He was very understanding and supportive," the new deacon-in-charge said. "Since I my parents are in Armenia and I came here as a young man with no one, I felt I could come to Srpazan and he would help me. And he always did."
In his new role in Evanston, Dn. Kirakosyan said he hopes to energize the parish's senior citizens and create activities for them during the week. He also wants to build up youth programs and strengthen the parish's Sunday School.
"First and foremost, I'm putting a lot of attention on Sunday School, which is the future of our church," he said. "If we don't have a strong Sunday School, we won't have a strong church."
Dn. Kirakosyan, 30, and his wife, Anna, were blessed with a young son, Aram, this past July.
"We're still unpacking and finding our way around Evanston, but I really like the people here," Dn. Kirakosyan said.
E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable in the News and Events section of the Eastern Diocese's website, www.armenianchurch.org.
PHOTO CAPTION (1): Dn. Levon Kirakosyan, the new deacon-in-charge of the St. James Church of Evanston, IL, lifts the chalice during the celebration of the badarak celebrated by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate, on August 14, 2005.
PHOTO CAPTION (2): Dn. Kirakosyan, left, joins the Primate on the altar of the St. James Church of Evanston, IL, during the badarak on August 14, 2005.
PHOTO CAPTION (3): Archbishop Barsamian and Dn. Kirakosyan, the deacon-in-charge of the St. James Church of Evanston, IL, are joined by some of the parish's altar servers and choir members following badarak on August 14, 2005.
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
August 26, 2005