Obituary: Rev. Fr. Vartan Kassabian, 51

Rev. Fr. Vartan Kassabian

On March 12, Rev. Vartan Kassabian died suddenly at his home in Methuen, Mass, at the age of 51.

Der Vartan was the pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Merrimack Valley in North Andover, Mass. He had previously served as pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Granite City, Ill. Prior to his ordination, he served as a deacon at St. Asdvadzadzin Armenian Apostolic Church in Whitinsville, Mass., and was employed at Rhode Island Hospital.

Der Vartan was born in Providence, R.I. on Dec. 17, 1957 to Rose Postoian and Vahan Kassabian. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, and uncles Peter Postoian and Thomas Postoian. He leaves his wife Pauline (Bergreen) Kassabian; three children, Scott Gauvin and daughter-in-law Joanna (Springfield, Ill.), Megerdich Kassabian, and Susan and son-in-law Adam DeWilde (Springfield); and two granddaughters, Grace and Gabriella. He also leaves a sister Roxanne Kassabian, his extended family, and cousins in Rhode Island.

Der Vartan Kassabian graduated from Hope High School. He attended Rhode Island College and Providence College where he studied theology and religion. He completed his studies in Armenian Church history and liturgics at the Armenian Theological Seminary in Antelias, Lebanon. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 26, 1992 by His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian of Blessed Memory.

Der Vartan was a member of the Providence “Varantian” AYF Chapter, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation “Kristapor” Gomideh of Providence, and the Arakadz Lodge of the Knights of Vartan of Merrimack Valley. He held various executive positions in all of these organizations and faithfully served their goals and aspirations throughout his lifetime.

A memorial service for Der Vartan will take place on Tuesday morning, March 17, from 9-11 a.m., at St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church (978-685-5038), on 158 Main St. in North Andover.

A funeral wake will take place later that day, March 17, from 4-8 p.m., with a 7 p.m. mass, at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church (401-831-6399), on 402 Broadway in Providence.

Extreme Unction and the funeral mass will take place on Wed., March 18 at 10 a.m. at Sts. Vartanantz Church, under the presidency of the Prelate, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan.

Burial will follow at North Burial Grounds (401-331-0177), on 5 Branch Ave. in Providence.

A mercy meal will be held at the West Valley Inn (401-822-2834), 4 Blossom in West Warwick, R.I., following these services. Arrangements are by the Charles F. Dewhirst Funeral Home in Methuen.

At the request of the Kassabian Family, in lieu of flowers, donations and memorial contributions may be made to the Kassabian Memorial Trust Fund. (Donations can be mailed in c/o Cutcliffe, Glavin and Archetto Law Offices, 155 South Main St., Suite 300, Providence, RI 02903.)

Memorial contributions may also be made to  the Armenian Prelacy (212-689-7810).  (Donations can be mailed to 138 East 39th St., New York, NY10016.)

The Armenian Weekly sends its deepest condolences to Yeretsgeen Pauline and family.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. An absolute shock. On behalf of Aravod, as a family you welcomed us with open arms as a young group of musicians to your home in St. Louis, and we have never forgotten that. Der Vartan lived with sincerity, dedication, kindness, and passion throughout his life, and is continuing to do so in heaven. Asdvadz hokeen loosavoreh.

  2. Der Vartan was a faithful servant of the Armenian Orthodox Church. I had the privelege of knowing him as a spiritual pastor in Granite City and later at North Andover. I saw him last September and we had a nice discussion about the affiars of the Church and how we can contribute our God-given talents and share in our knowlege and dedication to the church. He will be greatly missed as a pastor and as an individual.
    Our thoughts and prayer go out to his yeretsgin, and children. May God accept him in the ranks of the saints and grant the comfort of His Holy Spirit to us all to remember him as a devoted servant of God, as a loving husband and father, as as an individual whose towering presence will be greatly missed.

  3. My Father “Leon” knew Vartan for many years since Vartan was 17 years old. I knew Vartan for about 5 years from the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet! He was a great person who truely loved the Lord with all his heart.

  4. I am saddened to hear about the passing of Der Vartan. I had the privelage and honor of joining Der Vartan, Yeretzgeen and a wonderful group of their parishoners on their pilgrimage to Hayastan in 2007. I will cherish my memories of our trip to Karabagh. It was so wonderful to see the love and respect everyone had for Der Vartan and he for them. He truly was the beloved shepard of his flock, and he made me feel like a member as well. Asdvadz Hokeen Loosavore. Hoghe Tetev Ka Veran.

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