Gulgulian Feted In Honor of 25th Anniversary of Ordination


By Lisa Manookian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator

WYNNEWOOD, Penn. — On Sunday, February 12, the parish community of St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Church came together to celebrate its pastor’s 25th anniversary of ordination to the Holy Order of the Priesthood. The newly-renovated hall looked regal with more than 320 parishioners, community members and friends in attendance to congratulate the Very Rev. Oshagan Gulgulian on this milestone. Former parishioners came from as far as Connecticut, Florida and Virginia for the occasion.

Master of Ceremonies Steve Barsamian introduced the head table as each walked in and remarked that it was the first time in the history of the parish, that three “Barsamians” were at the head table, referring to Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (who presided over the celebration, as well as the Divine Liturgy, which preceded the banquet), his aunt, Elizabeth Barsamian, banquet co-chair, and of course, himself.

Karinne Andonian began the afternoon with renditions of the American and Armenian national anthems, followed by an invocation from Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian. Committee Co-chair Sarah Selverian welcomed everyone and offered a toast on the occasion, followed by greetings from Parish Council Chair Laraine Ballard. Ballard spoke of Gulgulian’s outreach to the entire community and the many events he has helped to initiate working side-by-side with the parish organizations. She also spoke of the admiration of many for his knowledge of Armenian history and church doctrine, which have greatly enriched his sermons and lectures.

Guests feasted on dinner prepared by in-house chefs and served by the ACYOA Juniors and Seniors who also assisted with the room set-up.

A beautiful program filled the afternoon, featuring vocal and choral selections and dancing, interspersed with inspirational remarks.

Accompanied by Ballard, Andonian performed heartfelt vocal renditions of Komitas Vartabed’s Keleh Keleh and D. Tchouhadjian’s Karoon. The Junior Choir, under the direction of Khoren Mekhanejian and Andonian, having only rehearsed for a few weeks, performed three selections: the hymn, Soorb Asdvadz and two popular Armenian patriotic songs – Zeytoontseener Kaylerk and Artsakh. And the Hamaskayin Meghry Dance Group of Philadelphia performed two dances under the direction of Tovmas Harutunian.

Rev. Hakop Gevorgyan spoke on behalf of the five area Armenian clergy and shared of his first encounter with Gulgulian when they were both serving in Germany. Gizirian then spoke and praised the honoree’s devotion to the church.

Prior to Gulgulian’s address, banquet co-chair Barsamian presented him with a gift from the parish — a pair of gold cufflinks embossed with the image of Holy Echmiadzin, which was handmade by Khosrof Pakhtigian. Gulgulian acknowledged the admiration of the many he has served and stated that he would still devote his life to the priesthood, if he had to do it all over again.

Archbishop Barsamian spoke of Gulgulian’s service to the Armenian Church and observed that this milestone served as an opportunity to bring the community closer.