NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.—As deacons go, Avedis Garavanian, Areh Kalaydjian, and John Saryan have dutifully answered their call over these past four decades.
Because of their meritorious service to St. Gregory Church, the trio was honored with Prelacy Awards during a 43rd anniversary celebration Jan. 27.
Seldom have they missed a Sunday, except for dire circumstances, assisting some seven pastors over that time and training a coterie of acolytes in the process.
To them, the church has become a second home.
“Their commitment and love are noticeable every Sunday,” said Der Karekin Bedourian, pastor. “They are exemplary models of true missionaries of our church and have served in various other capacities. Their roles have been honest and sincere. Although they come from different backgrounds, they wear the same robes and share a common bond. Special praise also goes to each of their wives.”
Away from the sanctuary, Saryan is department chair of allergy and immunology at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, bringing comfort and healing to his patients over the past three decades. For four years, the prestigious Boston Magazine listed him as one of the top doctors in his class throughout the Greater Boston area. His wife Debbie chaired the board of trustees along the way.
Kalaydjian is owner of Dover Press, a successful printing enterprise in North Andover, joined by his wife Lisa. They have printed the Aghavani church newsletter ever since its inception and have remained active in their community.
Garavanian is a successful businessman, serves on genocide memorial committees, and is married to Susan, another dedicated spouse.
All three deacons have raised their families as model citizens, placing their faith in God and the church.
“This community is truly blessed with many active servants who have continued to make our Eastern Prelacy such a vibrant and resourceful institution,” said Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, vicar. “These three deacons are worthy servants of God and the church. Their commitment is outstanding.”
Serpazan was also impressed with the schoolchildren’s singing of Armenian hymns under the direction of Sossy Jeknavorian, who assisted with the dinner formalities.
Trustee chairwoman Christine Kourkounian welcomed the gathering and praised the church for its many projects, including the new sanctuary and Jaffarian Hall. Next in the renovation phase will be the classrooms and steeple.
“Our faith has pulled us through some difficult times,” she said. “We will keep our eyes looking to the future with continued optimism.”
Five members of the beautification committee were recognized at the candle-lighting ceremony for keeping the infrastructure in model condition: Michael Boloian, John Dagdigian, Paul Demoorjian, Sarkis Sarkisian, and Joseph Almasian.
The program ended with the singing of “Giligia.”
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