Friday, July 5, 2013

Honoring Archbishop Ardavazt Terterian

Honoring Archbishop Ardavazt Terterian

By Vahe Apelian, USA, 12 December 2010

On Sunday Dec. 5, the Groong website reported that following holy liturgy, His Holiness Aram I paid a special tribute to Archbishop Ardavazt Terterian on the occasion of his 80th Birthday. The Catholicos said, “For more than 50 years Archbishop Ardavazt has served the Catholicosate of Cilicia as a devoted member of the Brotherhood. Archbishop Ardavazt spent most of his time as dean of the Antilias Seminary, outside Beirut. As well as researching and writing on pastoral theology, he served as locum tenens to several Catholicoi. We thank God for his life and his devotion to the Catholicosate of Cilicia."

I met Archbishop Terterian for the first and only time in April 2004 at my parent’s house. He was in Los Angeles at the invitation of the Kessab Educational Association (K.E.A), to officiate the inauguration of the late Catholicos Karekin I Sarkissian Library at the K.E.A Center in Reseda, CA where my parents lived.

It's not possible to meet this unassuming, gentle, and temperate clergyman without feeling humbled by the privilege of having been graced by his company, and not thank God for gifting us him as one of the many clergy who have upheld and perpetuated the Armenian Church since King Drdat adopted Christianity 1,700 years ago.

Archbishop Terterian is born in Chakhaljekh, one of the 12 villages of Greater Kessab. The village is the ancestral home of the Terterian family. To this day only Terterian family members reside year around in Chakhaljeck. The village, famous for its springs and gigantic trees has become an attractive summer resort.

He is the son of Panos and Karoun (Apelian) and has a large extended family consisting of two brothers--Berj and Zaven and three sisters (Sarah, Berjouhie and Marie). Berj and Marie are deceased. Other than his late brother’s family, who live in Chakhaljekh, the rest of his siblings’ families reside in Canada.

The Archbishop’s father and paternal grandfather were prominent personalities in Greater Kessab. His grandfather was a master mason. He walled the 112-year-old Armenian Evangelical Church stone by stone--a testament to his skills. His father was the prominent basket weaver.

After graduating from Kessab schools, Archbishop Ardavazt and the late Catholicos Karekin Sarkissian entered the Cilician Catholicosate Seminary in 1945 as teenagers. They progressed together through the ranks as monks, and were consecrated as Vartabed, Bishop and Archbishop. The late Catholicos Karekin and Archbishop Ardavazt were close friends and spiritual brothers. The late Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, in his moving description of the last few hours of Catholicos Karekin I Sarkissian, in Etchmiazin, wrote that he would comfort the Catholicos by telling him that Archbishop Ardavazt had telephoned to inquire about the health of his long-time friend.

On April 7, following the inauguration of the library, the K.E.A. organized a dinner-reception in honor of the Archbishop, who attended the reception accompanied by the Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian--one of the many students of the Archbishop Ardavazt. Other clergy and lay dignitaries from the Western Prelacy also accompanied the Archbishop.

During the reception, Khatchig Titizian, chairman of the K.E.A, welcomed the Archbishop. His cousin and prominent Armenian language teacher Haigaz Terterian introduced the Archbishop. Mrs. Zvart Apelian, secretary of the K.E.A., expressed the Association’s gratitude to the Archbishop for honoring it with his presence and for officiating the opening of the Library. She also read a poem she had composed in dedication to the Archbishop. The Archbishop concluded his speech by urging everyone "to lend hand to each other and to set aside self and selfishness in service of the nation.”

I ask the readers of Keghart to join Catholicos Aram in thanking the Archbishop for his many years of service and wish him health and continued service to the Armenian Church.

Սրբազա՛ն Հայր, Արտաւազդ Թրթռեանին

1 comment: