ACYOA Armenian Church Christianity Daniel Findikyan Diocese news Religion Stepan Piligian

We Are in Uncharted Waters…

We Are in Uncharted Waters…

Bishop Daniel Findikyan collaborating in the 2019 ACYOA Bishop’s 5K Run/Stroll (Photograph: ACYOA)

This past Sunday was a wonderful day in some ways. I was reminded of easier occasions of family and the thrill of youth. But that wasn’t only it.

I experienced one thing new, recent and exciting. My wife and I participated within the inaugural Bishop’s 5K Run/Walk in the Boston space. This was the third of three regional events held this yr. The Bishop is Daniel Findikyan, and it’s my understanding that it was his concept to have the ACYOA sponsor this occasion to advertise our religious and physical health. Comparable events have been held in Chicago and New Jersey earlier this month. The thought is artistic, modern and very interesting to a wide spectrum of the group. There have been 123 members, in all probability another 40 to 50 observers and all the trimmings of a well-organized occasion (tee shirts, timers, route markers, medals, water stations, and naturally the Armenian fellowship that followed). Many space clergymen participated with their families and parishioners. It was a grand event, an unimaginable success and a proud moment for the group. However that was not the rationale why it was so unprecedented.

It all started when the Bishop arrived. Normally if you utter the phrase “when the Bishop arrived,” it suggests heavy protocol, formality and other people repeating conventional clergy greeting phrases virtually robotically that are likely to remove any intimacy from the encounter. This was a completely totally different experience. The Primate arrived dressed in his operating attire (nicely, it was a 5K) in his typical humble method, enabling a most approachable demeanor. The “moment” for me was a picture I will keep in mind ceaselessly of Bishop Daniel spontaneously surrounded by 30 to 40 young Armenians who simply needed to say hey to their pal and now, their chief.

The order of these descriptors is essential. He has been their pal as their instructor and dean at the seminary, from the retreats he has led, from the St. Nersess summer time packages which are a magnet for our youth and countless different instructional encounters by way of the years. Now he is their designated chief as Primate, but for a lot of the younger that was an “adult” acknowledgment of what they already knew. This can be a man who was visibly overjoyed to see many young individuals he is aware of and who know him. No formality. No protocol. No awkwardness. Simply a number of love. He was in his zone.

With Bishop Daniel, the longer term is now with the emerging era. When you ask any of the younger faces who know him (and there are various), they don’t seem to be stunned by the decision to elect him Primate. At a time when the challenge of partaking the subsequent era has never been higher, the Armenian church has elected a pacesetter who is liked by most of the young trustworthy, and as my daughter says, “will get it.”

For years, we now have all heard the question requested when a new parish priest, vicar or Primate/Prelate arrives, “How is he with the youth?” This was the one time that the question has been answered with readability and a powerful endorsement from the youth. They didn’t forged a single vote for his election last yr, but they’re clearly an important demographic in his flock. It doesn’t matter should you attend a Prelacy church or a Diocese church. That is joyous information for the Armenian church. I will add that should you ask the youthful individuals within the St. Gregory of Datev program of the Prelacy, one can find comparable love and admiration for Archbishop Anoushavan. The point is that having clergy leaders who are respected and admired by the young era is great news for all of us. For my part, of all the attributes of a church leader, the power to successfully talk with and inspire the youth is an important. This is his present.

The query stays for each of us: how can we maximize the influence of this Bishop’s ministry? To be able to contemplate this problem, each of us must look in the mirror.  

Within the Armenian church, the Diocesan Bishop or Arachnort has impressive duties in accordance with our canons, bylaws and traditions. The worldwide Armenian church, by definition, has a really numerous trustworthy base. That is pushed by the tradition of the host nations where Armenians reside. Because the generations proceed, it is crucial for regional leaders to know the psyche and the wants of the trustworthy, especially the youth. Managing the global church as a centralized entity with prime down management determination making just isn’t solely counter intuitive and decidedly ineffective, but in addition contrary to the normal empowerment of Diocesan bishops. If our bishop is to take on the challenges of at the moment’s church, he will want the religious, operational and ethical help of the various branches of our establishment.

Our Vehapar appears to consider that his main position is to maintain us “Armenian” within the diaspora. That’s a noble mission, however it often translates into anti-change insurance policies and inflexible centralized decision- making. For instance, the push for international bylaws for the final decade is actually targeted on a matter of personnel control.

One other instance is the matter of St. Nersess seminary, which has existed right here in the USA for many years. It produces highly educated clergy who advance by means of a really structured program of language, theology, liturgy and ministry purposes. They graduate with advanced levels. Candidates are then “required” to go to Holy Etchmiadzin for extra studies. Although, it might be applicable in some instances, it ought to be at the discretion of the Diocesan Bishop who is canonically chargeable for the ordination of clergymen. The readiness of the candidate is a perform of the seminary program and the Diocesan Bishop. As we speak’s process, for my part, makes St. Nersess look like less than a full seminary. That is unfortunate.

Everybody has a task in the sustained position of the American Diocese as vibrant and empowered. The Diocesan Council must work primarily to advance the Bishop’s agenda and supply him the “flank help” or “air cowl” wanted for fulfillment. In other phrases, they should internalize their position to “have his back” when essential. It will be a horrible waste of his expertise if he’s consumed with conflicts, finances and errands from Etchmiadzin. Administrative duties and monetary issues can lavatory down the time of a Bishop and maintain him overly allotted with one constituency. This is where a robust Vicar is necessary, in addition to the main target of the council. Obviously, the Bishop’s presence is required and photograph alternatives are necessary, however the Diocesan Council should assist him stay balanced. It is clear that the primate will naturally gravitate in the direction of the youth and rising the religious core of the church. We’d like to ensure he has the help to take care of that focus. It’s a troublesome job. The lay help could possibly be the difference.

On an area degree, parish clergymen and councils have to be overtly supportive of the packages and methods. We have now all heard of or skilled an anti-diocese view from native trustworthy. I have met individuals prior to now who won’t be a part of a parish because they don’t need funds to go to the diocese. I consider the Bishop will help heal these “credibility” wounds.

But these problems may be extra delicate. Are parishes optimizing their participation in St. Nersess Research Packages, St. Vartan Camp or regional retreats? The truthful reply is that there’s room for improvement. Participation and help are immediately related to the central situation of how we will influence his ministry. The Bishop advocates for a “again to the basics” strategy, reconnecting our religion, the person and the church. Our faith and heritage train us some core truths. Over-complicating can result in a default of inactivity. It’s all about understanding and dwelling our faith in response to the educating of the Armenian church. Clear and concise yes, but we reside in a world of distractions. Some of these are inside our group and may inadvertently result in infinite debate and selections with no substance. This describes most of the outputs of our “democratic” assemblies. When baseball gamers lose their swing, they take a look at movie and make changes to mechanical errors they’re making or how pitchers are dealing with them. They attempt to get back to the basics of stability, bodily readiness, footwork and method. They attempt to get again to what made them profitable and replace it. I consider that is why the Bishop is profitable with the youth. He doesn’t lose the message. He connects together with his viewers. He focuses on the foundations of our faith and heritage. The query stays: are we doing our half? Are we helping him to be as effective as attainable in his new position?

These are really exceptional occasions. We have now an American-born Bishop with a German mother. He was born in Texas and raised in Binghamton, New York. A instructor. An mind. A mentor to lots of our youth. A pal to all. He by no means asked or campaigned for this job. His humility is inspiring, and he’s simply following God’s plan. I’m going back to the picture of this previous weekend of him surrounded by a loving group of those that will lead this church shortly. And I simply stated to myself…“Wow, what a door God has opened. We simply can’t miss this opportunity.”

Writer info

Stepan Piligian

Stepan Piligian


Stepan was raised within the Armenian group of Indian Orchard, MA on the St. Gregory Parish. A former member of the AYF Central Government and the Japanese Prelacy Government Council, he additionally served many years as a delegate to the Japanese Diocesan Assembly. Presently , he serves as a member of the board and government committee of the National Affiliation for Armenian Research and Research (NAASR). He also serves on the board of the Armenian Heritage Foundation. Stepan is a retired government within the pc storage business and resides within the Boston space together with his wife Susan. He has spent many years as a volunteer instructor of Armenian history and modern points to the young era and adults at faculties, camps and churches. His interests embrace the Armenian diaspora, Armenia, sports and reading.

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