NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.—St. Gregory Armenian Church of North Andover is preparing for two auspicious celebrations.
Rev. Father Karekin Bedourian will become the new pastor, while his wife, the former Sevan Haneshian, prepares to give birth to the couple’s first child.
The two are formerly of Kessab, Syria, where they met and got married. Father Karekin was ordained just over a year ago and served the parish on an interim basis. He succeeds the church’s late pastor, Rev. Vartan Kassabian, who died unexpectedly 16 months ago.
His installation will take place on Sun., July 11, beginning with a service at 10 and followed by a luncheon in Jaffarian Hall. A number of area clergy are expected to attend.
“In the months he has served the North Andover parish, he has excelled in his duties as a priest,” said Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, prelate, Armenian Apostolic Church of North America. “Father Karekin appears to be a perfect fit for this assignment and the people have truly made him feel welcomed. It’ll be a great day for North Andover parishioners, who have lamented over the death of their former pastor. Hopefully, this will eliminate some of that grief.”
Archbishop Choloyan will conduct the installation ceremony, assisted by local deacons. A large crowd is expected.
Father Bedourian becomes the sixth pastor to head the parish since the church was founded in 1970. One of his more unfortunate moments was attending the recent funeral of Father Arshag Daghlian of North Andover, the church’s first pastor, who was paid a number of spiritual visits by the 27-year-old cleric.
Father Bedouran (baptismal name Hrayr) was born on May 23, 1983 in Kessab, Syria, where he received his elementary school education at the Armenian National School.
After graduating, he was accepted into the seminary of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Bikfaya, Lebanon. During his last years of theological studies, he was an active member in the Association of Theological Institutions in the Middle East.
After nine years of theological, philosophical, linguistic, and Armenological studies, he graduated from the seminary program and was sent as a deacon to Greece for three months to receive practical education and training within the Armenian community.
After returning from Greece, he began work in the Armenian Prelacy of Lebanon where he served as a choir master and youth council supervisor at the Saint Hagop (James) Church in Beirut.
He organized and conducted Bible Studies, worked with several Diocesan groups, and conducted liturgical, hymnological studies.
In 2005, he accompanied the Bible Study group for a pilgrimage to Jordan to visit Biblical places. The following year, Father Bedourian began his university studies at the Near East School of Theology, participating in a special program of Biblical and Theological courses, which he successfully completed in 2008—the same year he got married to his wife Sevan.
On March 8, 2009, Father Bedourian was ordained by Archbishop Choloyan in the Syrian village where he was raised. He was given the priestly name Karekin in honor of another clergyman from the city of Kessab who became one of the shining stars of the Armenian Apostolic Church—His Holiness Karekin I—who passed away 11 years ago.
Prior to his arrival at St. Gregory Church, he interned at St. Stephen’s Apostolic Church in Watertown for eight months while taking language classes at the Harvard Extension School. During that time, he also visited Eastern Prelacy churches in Whitinsville, Worcester, Providence, R.I., New York, Chicago, Ill., Atlanta, Ga., and Orlando, Fla.