The Armenian Church Leader
In Memoriam: Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian (1925-2016)
With profound sorrow, we wish to inform our parishes of the passing of His Eminence Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian, the former Primate of the United Kingdom, and a long-serving pastor among the churches of the Eastern Diocese. He lived to find himself the eldest clergyman of episcopal rank in the Armenian Church, and was a true spiritual father to his people. He passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning, at the age of 90.
Archbishop Gizirian answered the call of our Lord as a young man, inspired by the examples of holiness he saw among such great figures as Catholicos Karekin Hovsepiants, Patriarch Shnork Kaloustian, and Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan. In turn, Yeghishe Srpazan became an example of holiness to subsequent generations, through his faithful, humble, loving service to God.
His preaching conveyed authority; yet his personal example was one of humility and quiet grace. He was a leader of great inner strength and conviction; yet his greatest strength was the tender compassion he showed to all—a quality that made him beloved wherever he served.
In Yeghishe Srpazan, one perceived those remarkable qualities exemplified by our Lord’s earliest followers: the apostles who illuminated the world, including our homeland, with the Light of Christ.
As a teacher, a pastor to many parishes in the Eastern Diocese, and as Diocesan Primate of the United Kingdom, Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian touched the lives of countless people. Our Diocese—indeed, our entire church—was blessed to have had his holy example before us. His noble spirit will linger in our community, and in our hearts.
During the past few years, Yeghishe Srpazan agreed to share some of his wisdom and life experience in video interviews. At the following links, our faithful can listen to his life story in his own words, and hear his wise thoughts on the meaning of prayer. Click here to read a brief biographical sketch of Archbishop Gizirian.
Details regarding Archbishop Gizirian’s final anointing and interment are as follows: Visiting hours will be held at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City on Tuesday, March 22, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. The dahn gark (wake) service will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The Final Anointing and Burial service will take place on Wednesday, March 23, also at St. Vartan Cathedral (630 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y.); the Divine Liturgy will begin at 11:00 a.m. Clergy who would like to take part should contact the dean of St. Vartan Cathedral, Fr. Mamigon Kiledjian.
Interment will be at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, N.Y., after which there will be a hokejash at the nearby St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church (1131 North Street, White Plains, N.Y.).
In-lieu-of-flowers donations may be made to St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, or to the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (70 Main Street, Emerson, N.J.).
With this directive, I ask all Diocesan parishes to remember Yeghishe Srpazan through a hokehankisd service on the fortieth day of his passing (karasoonk), Sunday, May 1.
In the meantime we offer our prayers for the repose of Yeghishe Srpazan’s soul, and ask our Lord to receive him into the precincts of God’s kingdom—there to dwell in the radiance of our Lord for all eternity.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian