Introducing Parishioner of the Year, Deacon James M. Kalustian

Oct 1, 2015

The Pastor and Parish Council of Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Greater Boston are pleased to announce that Deacon James M. Kalustian, a longtime devoted and dedicated member of the Holy Trinity parish, will be honored as “Parishioner of the Year” at the Church’s 54th Anniversary Banquet to be held on Sunday, October 18, following church services, in the Charles and Nevart Talanian Cultural Hall of the church complex at 145 Brattle Street.

His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), will preside over the Divine Liturgy, beginning at 10:00 a.m., and the afternoon’s program. Also in attendance will be His Eminence, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Officer, as well as area clergy from New England. During the Divine Liturgy, special prayers will be offered for the departed souls of the faithful who worked and built Holy Trinity Armenian Church at its present site in Cambridge. Following church services, the Annual Banquet will celebrate the 54th anniversary of the consecration of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge.

“On this 100th Anniversary year of the Armenian Genocide, it is befitting that we honor a grandchild of a survivor,” stated Fr. Vasken A. Kouzouian, Pastor of Holy Trinity Church.  “Like so many Armenian Churches in America, Holy Trinity was built on the backs of early immigrant Armenians seeking to start life over in a land founded on the principle of hope for a better future.   Jim Kalustian, a grandson of survivors from Kharpert, Izmir, and Arapgir is a wonderful fulfillment of that hope.  The Jim Kalustian I have known over the years has always appreciated and honored his Armenian roots, all the while advancing himself through the best of America.  In this 100th Anniversary year, Deacon Jim Kalustian, a servant and leader of the Armenian Church, is our ‘Parishioner of the Year.’”

During the Banquet, recognition will be given to outgoing Parish Council members, Ara Hollisian and Thomas H. Stephanian, and Diocesan Delegates, Gerald Ajemian and David DerVartanian, for their services.

From Sunday School to Supreme Spiritual Council

James M. Kalustian is well-known in the Armenian community for his years of service to the Armenian Church and community, and his steadfast devotion to his faith and heritage.

On most Sunday mornings, you will find Jim serving as a deacon on Holy Trinity’s altar despite his incredibly busy schedule and wide range of commitments to a variety of organizations. He has been serving on the altar for over forty years, from the time he was a child, in the third or fourth grade, as part of the Sunday School program. Growing up, the Church was always an important and integral part of Jim’s family life. His parents, Martin and Mary (Mimi) Kalustian of Arlington MA, took him to church and Saturday and Sunday School every week.

Jim was ordained an Acolyte in 1977, a Sub-Deacon in May 1981, by His Eminence Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Patriarch of Jerusalem, of blessed memory, and a Deacon in April 1991, by His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).

Over the years, Jim’s desire to serve his parish grew and expanded to include voluntary service to the Parish Council, various committees, bazaars, picnics, the Sunday School, ACYOA, and wherever else he felt there was a need. He served on the Parish Council from 1985 to 1988, and again from 1999 to 2004, the last six years as Chairman. Recognized by parishioners as a leader always full of new and innovative ideas, Jim was a powerful and inspirational chairman. Jim has been serving as a Diocesan Delegate for the past 23 years, having first been elected in 1992. In 2001, he was elected to the Diocesan Council of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), serving as Treasurer from 2005 to 2011, and currently as Chairman, a position he has held since 2013.

In 2005, Jim had the honor of being appointed by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, to serve on the Supreme Spiritual Council in Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia. This is the highest global governing body of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Community Involvement

Jim is involved in numerous philanthropic, religious and educational organizations. He is President of the Armenian Heritage Foundation, the organization that spearheaded the Armenian community’s efforts, for over a decade, to secure parcel 13 and built the Armenian Heritage Park (dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide) on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston MA.

He served on the Board of the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research from 1997 to 2007, is an active member of the Armenian Assembly of America, and the Armenian National Committee.

In 2014, former Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, appointed Jim to serve on the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy Board. He also sits on the Visiting Committee of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, is a member of the Leadership Giving Team of the Harvard College Fund, and a Corporation member of the Belmont Hill School.

Honors Received

Jim has received recognition on the highest level for his services and contributions to the Armenian Church, community and homeland.

  • On June 30, 2007, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, bestowed upon Jim the highest award of the Armenian Church, the Order of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, and presented him with the medal of St. Gregory, in Holy Etchmiadzin, in recognition of Jim’s life of stewardship and service to the Armenian Church.
  • In 2009, Jim was a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor granted to outstanding Americans who have distinguished themselves as U.S. citizens and in business, while maintaining their ethnic heritage and identity and integrating into American life.
  • In 2012, Jim received the Movses Khorenatsi Medal, awarded by the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan. This is the highest government award recognizing contributions of individuals in cultural, artistic and humanitarian fields.
  • On May 9, 2015, during the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington DC, as part of the events commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Jim was given the honor of presenting the chalice to His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.

Benefactor - Giving Back

Over the decades, Jim has strongly believed in giving back not only his time and talents, but also his treasures and has done so in numerous ways.

In honor and love of his parents, Jim sponsored the comprehensive reconstruction of the three-story Guest House of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, also known as the “Vanatun.” This building has been used for the past 38 years to house Armenian clergymen and ecumenical delegations during their visits to the Mother See. The opening ceremonies of the newly renovated Guest House were held on June 30, 2007. Jim, his parents, Fr. Vasken Kouzouian, and His Eminence, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, traveled to Armenia to be present for the opening.

In 2012, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the consecration of Holy Trinity Church on Brattle Street in Cambridge, Jim donated a beautiful gold chalice, handcrafted in Holy Etchmiadzin, which was used as the vessel to consecrate the Holy Communion throughout Holy Trinity’s Anniversary year.

Respected and Successful Businessman

Professionally, Jim Kalustian has spent the past 25 years founding and helping to scale entrepreneurial healthcare services and technology businesses. Most recently, Jim served as the Chief Operating Officer of RxAnte, a provider of science-based information technology solutions for improving quality and lowering the cost of health care. He serves on the Board of Ambassadors Group, Inc.

He holds an A.B. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

The Pastor and Parish Council of Holy Trinity Armenian Church cordially invite the Greater Boston community to join them on October 18 as we honor a faithful son and servant of the Armenian Church. Donation for the dinner is $35.00 per person; seating is by advance paid reservation only with a RSVP deadline of October 13.

Tickets may be purchased by contacting the Holy Trinity Church office, 617.354.0632, emailing office@htaac.org, or logging onto http://www.htaac.org/calendar/event/110/.