Fr. Mardiros Chevian Appointed New Seminary Dean
Fr. Mardiros Chevian Appointed New Seminary Dean
November 15, 2012
When Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian
Church of America (Eastern), invited Fr. Mardiros Chevian to return to
St. Nersess Armenian Seminary as its new Dean, he accepted the
invitation after much consideration.
“Although I have enjoyed immensely being the Dean of St. Vartan
Cathedral for the past 19 years, I am excited to return to St. Nersess
and direct the expanded mission of the seminary at its new campus in
Armonk, NY”, stated Fr. Mardiros recently.
Second Term as Seminary Dean
This is not the first time he has answered the call to serve at St.
Nersess. In 1978, after returning from his studies in Holy Etchmiadzin,
he went to St. George Armenian Church in Waukegan, IL, as the
Deacon-in-Charge where he was very happy to start his ministry. But not
soon after, in 1981, he received a call from Archbishop Torkom
Manoogian, of blessed memory, to be the Director of Recruitment and
Programs at the newly purchased St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New
Rochelle, NY. Fr. Mardiros later became the Rector of the Seminary where
he served until 1991.
New Expanded Mission
The “pull to meet a new challenge”, according to Fr. Chevian, appears to
have a continuous theme in his life. As the new Dean, he plans to direct
the expanded mission of St. Nersess when it moves to its new campus
location in 2014. “The expanded mission of St. Nersess will serve
Armenian priests, both in America and abroad”, stated Fr. Chevian. Some
of the new initiatives and programs of the seminary will include the
Continuing education of current priests, through planned educational and
Offering support & training for Armenian priests from abroad who need
assistance with acclimation and acculturation and are destined to serve
in the North American dioceses
Transforming St. Nersess into a center for theological research for
exchange faculty and students from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
and the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Strengthening the Armenian education of our American born seminarians
through longer study in our seminaries in Armenia and Jerusalem
Introducing an undergraduate program that would combine local college
study and courses, worship, and residence at St. Nersess Seminary
Continuing and expanding the 50 year tradition of summer youth programs,
retreats, and altar server programs
Fr. Daniel to Continue Teaching at Seminary
But Fr. Mardiros cannot accomplish this alone. He will continue to have
the services of Fr. Daniel Findikyan, the previous Dean of St. Nersess,
at the new location. “I give a lot of credit to Fr. Daniel who has done
an outstanding job as the dean for the past 12 years, and I look forward
to him continuing as a professor at the seminary, directing the deacon’s
training program, and serving as academic advisor to the seminarians,”
stated Fr. Chevian.
Fr. Daniel agrees. “I am not leaving St. Nersess. My heart and soul is
committed to this institution,” said Fr. Findikyan.
Close Cooperation with Armenian Seminaries Abroad
In order for St. Nersess to succeed in the future, it plans to work
closely with the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Armenian
Patriarchate of Jerusalem. “These relations are extremely important to
St. Nersess,” according to Fr. Chevian. Also important is that Fr.
Mardiros will reside on the new campus, just as he did when he directed
St. Nersess throughout the 1980s. According to the St. Nersess Board of
Directors, “it is important for the dean to oversee and supervise the
daily life of the St. Nersess campus by living on the campus.”
But for now, as he takes the helm on November 15, Fr. Mardiros’ primary
mission is to oversee the training of young men to become parish
priests—what Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan envisioned when St. Nersess was
founded in 1961.
“I want to challenge and inspire students who want to pursue the
Armenian priesthood. Even if a young American-born Armenian does not
have a good command of the Armenian language, he will learn it. Most
importantly, he must be confident and comfortable in his ministry as an
Armenian priest,” said Fr. Mardiros. “In addition to academics, it is
important for a priest to be able to transmit what he knows and
demonstrate strong leadership skills.”
Modern New Seminary Campus in Armonk
St. Nersess Armenian Seminary is more relevant today than ever before.
The new 5.5 acre Armonk campus, located approximately 16 miles north of
the New Rochelle location, will be better equipped to serve the growing
needs of the dioceses in North America. By staying in Westchester
County, St. Nersess will maintain important ties with St. Vladimir’s
Orthodox Theological Seminary, as well as remain close to the Diocesan
headquarters in New York City. The new site will be a sustainable campus
to better prepare future priests and lay leaders for service in the
Armenian Church. And with the ultimate sale of New Rochelle, St. Nersess
will have a more sound financial foundation. St. Nersess remains the
only Armenian seminary in the Western hemisphere that has prepared
leaders for the Armenian Church for the past 50 years.
Currently, a fundraising campaign is underway for the renovation of
buildings on the new campus. The three existing structures will be
renovated and expanded to include housing for single and married
students and faculty, a Dean’s residence, youth center, and a small
workout and exercise facility, with an anticipated completion date of 2014.
Donors will have naming opportunities for the renovation projects and
the campus grounds. In addition to the renovations, a new
8,400-square-foot His Holiness Karekin I Theological Center, which will
include a chapel, library, classrooms, and offices, will be constructed.
The Theological Center, as well as the purchase of the property, has
been made possible by the generous donation of Haig and Elsa Didizian of