Fr. Arakel Aljalian

1999 to present

Rev. Fr. Arakel Aljalian received his theological training at the Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.  Upon graduating from the seminary in 1981, Fr. Arakel was ordained a deacon at the St. James Armenian Monastery in Jerusalem.

Fr. Arakel came to the United States in 1983 and continued his theological studies at the General Theological Seminary in New York City.  He graduated from St. Nersess Armenian Seminary and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1989 with a Master's of Divinity degree.  In the summer of 1985, during his time at St. Nersess, he completed the clinical pastoral education program at the Paul A. Dever School in Taunton, MA.

Fr. Arakel was assigned to be deacon-in-charge of the Holy Resurrection Church of South Milwaukee, WI, where he served from 1989 to 1991.  In 1991, he was assigned to the Church of the Holy Martyrs of Bayside, NY.

He was ordained as a priest on October 2 and 3, 1993, at Holy Martyrs Church.  He then served the parish as assistant pastor until March 1994, when he began his service at St. Nersess Seminary in New Rochelle, NY, as the rector until September 1999, when he was appointed the pastor at St. James Church of Watertown, MA.

Fr. Arakel authored a book titled General Epistle (Book I)—St. Nerses Shnorhali, which includes a translation of the text from the classical Armenian, as well as an introduction and commentary.  He also co-wrote Curriculum for Educating Infants who are Called to the Rank of Priesthood: Necessary and Useful Advice Written by Lord Arakel, Bishop of Siwnik, and Grigor of Tatev, the Great Rhetor, which appeared in St. Nersess Theological Review 1:2 (1996).  During his time as the rector of St. Nersess, Fr. Arakel was the creator and editor of the St. Nersess Theological Review.

In addition to his seminary studies, Fr. Arakel specializes in iconography, ancient art, and medieval manuscript illumination.  He studied at the School of Sacred Arts in New York City from 1986 to 1989.  Then, from 1989 to 1990, he studied at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

He is a member of the Standing Conference of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox-Roman Catholic Consultation, the Orthodox Theological Society in America, and the Massachusetts Council of Churches.

Fr. Arakel is married to Yn. Natasha, and they have been blessed with two children - Gabriel Simon and Mary Grace.


REV. FR. ARSEN BARSAMIAN, Associate Pastor Emeritus
1989 to present

Fr ArsenRev. Fr. Arsen Barsamian was born as Steven Barsamian in South Milwaukee, WI. He was awarded a music scholarship and studied at the University of Wisconsin. He studied music theory and composition for three years, but then decided to follow his calling to the priesthood in 1953.

From 1953-1955, he studied at the Catholicate of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon, and from 1955-1956, at the St. James Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem. Upon his return to the United States he studied at the following schools from 1956-1959: Kendall College, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, and Garrett Biblical Seminary. During this period, he assisted at the St. James Armenian Church of Evanston, IL, and St. Gregory Armenian Church of Chicago, IL.

On March 13, 1960, Fr. Arsen was ordained to the holy priesthood by the Primate, Archbishop Sion Manoogian, in St Mesrob Armenian Church of Racine, WI. From 1960-1964, he served as a visiting priest to the following parishes: St. Shoghagat Armenian Church, East St. Louis, IL; St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Chicago, IL; and St. John the Baptist Church, Milwaukee, WI.

In 1974, he was assigned as the first full-time pastor at St. John the Baptist Church of Milwaukee. In 1967, upon instruction of the Primate, Bishop Torkom Mnoogian, he served as pastor at the St. James Armenian Church of Richmond, VA.

As of 1989, Fr. Barsamian has served as the associate pastor at St. James Armenian Church of Watertown, MA.

Fr. Barsamian is married to the late Vartenie Mqrditichian, and they have been blessed with three children, Loosaper Anjel, Steven Asadour, and Raphael Shnork.

Rev. Fr. Matteos Manigian (1930 - 1931)
Rev. Fr. Bedros Vartanian (1933 - 1936)
Rev. Fr. Yeghishe Kalchinjian (1936 - 1942)
Right Rev. Bp. Hovsep Garabedian (1943 - 1949)
Rev. Fr. Torkom Postajian (1949 - 1954)
Rev. Fr. Arten Ashjian (1955 - 1969)
Rev. Fr. Dajad Davidian (1969 - 1999)