NEW YORK — In the inaugural session of the 120th Assembly of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, clergy and delegates elected a new Primate, in the person of the Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan. Pending approval by the His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians, Fr. Mesrop will become the 13th Primate of the Eastern Diocese.
The Diocesan Assembly convened on Friday, May 6, in a “hybrid” format incorporating both in-person and online participation. Current Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan presided. The in-person gathering took place at the St. Vartan Cathedral Complex in New York City, with some 56 voting delegates and a number of observers in attendance.
An additional 125 voting delegates attending the Assembly online, over the Zoom platform, interacting and fully participate in the meeting. For all participants, voting was conducted using a secure online balloting platform.
In all, 181 delegates and clergy, representing the parishes of the Eastern Diocese, took part on the proceedings. A second general session will go forward under the same format on Saturday, May 7. Several online “breakout sessions” are scheduled weekly through the month, with a final online general session wrapping up proceedings on May 31.
Following the announcement of his election, Fr. Parsamyan gave a gracious acceptance speech, thanking the people of the Diocese “for the privilege to walk with this Armenian family of faith, on this road to salvation.”
“Let us renew our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and again pledge to serve him by serving one another,” he added.
In warmhearted remarks, the present Primate Bishop Daniel said, “On my part, I want to congratulate Hayr Mesrop Vartabed for being elected the next Primate of this Diocese. He is a man, I know from personal experience, of enormous gifts, powerful faith deep within, and passionate concern for the building up of our church.”
Immediately prior to his election as the 13th Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan served the Diocese as its Director of Ministries.
A native of Yerevan, Fr. Mesrop attended Gevorgian Theological Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Theology in 2003. He was ordained into the holy priesthood that same year, and thereafter served until 2004 as the staff-bearer for His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians.
He earned hold a Master’s degree in Theology and Religious Sciences from the University of Strasbourg, France, and studied in Dublin, Ireland, at the International Study Centre. In 2011 he received his Archimandrite (Vardapet) rank: the Doctoral degree of the Armenian Church.
As a professor at Gevorgian Theological Seminary from 2007 to 2011, Fr. Mesrop taught Christian Ethics, and simultaneously served as deputy-chancellor of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. During this period, he had two pastoral stays in Brussels, Belgium, and in Nice, France.
He went on to serve the Armenian Church Diocese in Geneva, Switzerland, as its Locum Tenens Primate. He was Vicar General of the Armenian Diocese in Marseille, France, from 2012 to 2013, and the following year served in Paris as Locum Tenens Primate of the Armenian Diocese of France.
Throughout his ministry in Europe (2007-2014), Fr. Mesrop was member of the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches.
Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan came to the United States in 2015, and took up the pastorship of Holy Shoghagat Church in Belleville, IL, for a period of two years. In 2017 he took up a position at the Diocesan Center in New York City as its director of Ministries. He was appointed as Vicar of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in 2018.
In the autumn of 2019, Fr. Parsamyan answered the call of His Holiness Karekin II, to return to the Mother See and take up a new role as Dean of Gevorgian Seminary. He led the seminary through Armenia’s ensuing years of trial and affliction, before completing his mission for His Holiness, returning to the U.S. in 2021.