Rev. Father Arakel Vardazaryan
Father Arakel was born on March 16th, 1984. He was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia.
He has been interested in arts and sports ever since he was a child. At the age of nine, he studied classical miniature painting for two years. He has trained in gymnastics, wrestling, swimming, and karate arts. His parents thought he was seriously into sports and would be the next world champion holding our national flag.
He has been playing piano and guitar since he was 12 years old.
In 2000, Der Arakel graduated with high honors from the “Levon Arisyan” #127 High School-College with a degree in Economics.
Both his grandfather and father wanted him to be a doctor or a lawyer. In high school, he knew that he wanted to do something with his life. All he knew was that he didn’t want to live a “normal” life. He wanted to do two things: read multiple books in a short period of time and make a difference in people’s lives. One bright shiny morning Der Arakel changed his mind and decided to become a seminarian instead of a doctor.
In 2001, after successfully completing the required entrance exams for theological studies, Der Arakel was accepted to the “Vaskenian” Theological Seminary at Lake Sevan.
Three years later he continued his seminarian years at Gevorkian Theological Seminary. He was one of the organizers of a radio program called “Avedis”, which was a spiritual-educational program for the Armenian youth. Additionally, as a deacon, he was visiting and teaching Bible classes in the Kharberd and Nubarashen orphanages for 2 years.
While an undergraduate student, Der Arakel successfully completed and defended his diploma thesis “The Iconography of the Nine Dominical Feasts”, for which he received high honors.
In 2005, Father Arakel received a Bachelor’s degree in Theology with Honors, and in 2007 he completed his Master’s degree.
After graduating from the Gevorgian Theological Seminary-University, he was appointed by His Holiness Karekin II to work at the Internet Department of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, as a clerk secretary.
During this assignment, his English improved significantly thanks to his work with the director, Yn. Paula Devejian. His work included editing, translating as well as writing scholarly articles. From 2006-2010, he was involved in the preparation of the Annual Church Calendar and Daily Bible Readings. Some of his articles have been published in bi-weekly newspapers such as “Shoghagn”, “Kristonya Hayasdan”, as well as the “Etchmiadzin” monthly.
Der Arakel married Anush Martirosyan on July 9, 2009. She is a graduate of the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory and the Yerevan Medical University.
On July 19, 2009 during the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Vartavar), together with his 26 Brothers, Father Arakel was ordained to the Holy priesthood by His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.
Der Hayr continued to work as a priest at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin until October 2010.
From October 2010 to August, 2012 Der Arakel was serving as an intern priest with Rev. Fr. Karekin Kasparian at St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church in White Plains, NY.
Since August 12, 2012 Der Arakel is serving at St. Mary Armenian Church( Livingston, NJ) as a Parish Pastor. With Yeretsgin Anush they are blessed with a son, Raffi.