60th Anniversary Celebration - Years of Dedicated Service

May 11, 2018

 

His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, is honoring the community with his presence to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Ordination to the Priesthood of Rev. Father Mampre A. Kouzouian and to recognize his dedicated years of service and commitment to the Armenian Church and her people. Under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), a Celebration of a Life of Service is being held on Friday, May 11, 2018 at Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Greater Boston, 145 Brattle Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The traditional Hrashapar Service is at 6:00 o’clock in the Sanctuary to Welcome His Holiness. Area Clergy have been invited to participate. Doors to the Sanctuary will open at 5:30. All are invited to attend.

The Celebration Banquet follows in the Charles and Nevart Talanian Cultural Hall at 7:15 o’clock.  Advance Reservations are required with an RSVP deadline of April 30.

At Father Mampre’s request, funds raised will support two causes, “close to my heart:” the children at the Muratsan Chemotherapy Clinic of Yerevan State Medical University, a pediatric oncology clinic that treats children from all over Armenia, as well as homeless individuals and families in the Vagharshapat region surrounding Holy Etchmiadzin.  

To receive an invitation to attend the Banquet, please contact the Holy Trinity Church Office by emailing office@htaac.org, or calling 617.354.0632.

His Holiness will be visiting the United States to preside over the 50th Anniversary Celebration of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City. That Celebration will include a Concert of Sacred Music and historical photo exhibit on the evening of Saturday, May 5; and a Pontifical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, May 6 – all taking place at the Cathedral complex located at 630 Second Avenue, in New York City. For information on St. Vartan Cathedral’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, log onto the website of the Eastern Diocese, www.armenianchurch.us.

Biography of Father Mampre A. Kouzouian

A Calling

As the youngest son of Oskian and Ovsanna Kouzouian, Alexan was enveloped by a grandmother, mother, father, sister, and brother who were steadfast in their faith and who attended church every Sunday. Alexan embraced his calling at the age of 16, entering the Armenian Theological Seminary in Antelias, Lebanon. After graduating from the Seminary in 1954, he spent the following two years as principal of a local Armenian school in Basrah, Iraq.  In 1956, he arrived in New York City to further his theological education at the General Theological Seminary. While a seminarian, he served as choir director at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church. He reflects that as his individual history comes to life through the singing of the Divine Liturgy, so does the spiritual history of Armenia. 

Pastoral Ministry

On February 16, 1958, the Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Mampre Calfayan, ordained Alexan Kouzouian a priest. In keeping with the traditions of the church, during the ordination, Alexan was given a new name, one of historical and biblical significance chosen by His Eminence. As a tribute and honor for the young priest, the Primate gave him his own name. Father Mampre’s first pastoral assignment was St. Mary’s Armenian Church in Irvington, New Jersey, where he served from 1958 to 1970. 

His early years as a priest were also distinguished by his active involvement in the civil rights movement. Considered to be a forerunner among church leaders in this movement, Father Mampre, along with the Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, traveled to Washington, DC, in the early 1960s and marched in solidarity against poverty and racism as a member of the National Council of Churches Governing Board.

In 1970, His Eminence Archbishop Torkom Manoogian appointed Father Mampre the Canon Sacrist of Saint Vartan Armenian Cathedral and Director of the Ecumenical Relations of the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern). He was also assigned as pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, known as the “Cathedral parish.”

Father Mampre assumed the pastorate of Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Greater Boston in 1977 serving until his retirement in December 2001. In reflecting over his years at Holy Trinity, he says “the church is a part of a world that is rapidly changing. While the foundation of the church is unchanged, the application of what we do changes. Social, moral, and ethical issues need our attention. People want to know where the church stands on such issues. We must provide answers and give guidance, as well as explore the ways we can remain faithful in a rapidly changing world to an unchanging Christ.”

During his pastorate at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Father Mampre spearheaded numerous projects and developments that greatly improved the church complex, as well as addressed the many future needs of the community. Among these were: appreciably increasing Holy Trinity’s Trust Fund, one of Father Mampre’s greatest priorities and successes, which helped to secure the future needs of the church for generations to come; overseeing the installation in 1978 of the beautiful bronze doors through which all enter the Sanctuary; establishing a Stewardship Program in 1981 that has secured a healthy, annual income for the church; overseeing the production and installation of the beautiful stained-glass windows in the Sanctuary that were reproductions of 13th to 18th century manuscript illuminations from Biblical and Armenian Church history, resulting in the beautiful images still enjoyed today; commissioning, on the occasion of the 85th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the crafting and erection of a traditional Armenian khatchkar, located on the church’s Garabed Baghdasar and Haiganoosh Hagopian Hollisian Plaza, as a visible witness to the outside world of our Armenian martyrs; securing the much-needed renovations, in 1988, of the Charles and Nevart Talanian Cultural Hall; establishing a Cultural Committee that observed October as “Celebrate Armenian Cultural Heritage” month, turning the Holy Trinity parish into a center of Armenian culture as a gift to its parishioners and the community; and together with Speaker of the House George Keverian, establishing the annual Genocide Commemoration at the Massachusetts State House that continues today.

In addition to overseeing the physical needs of the church complex, under Father Mampre’s leadership, the parish hosted a Diocesan Assembly in 1988, and welcomed countless dignitaries and Church leaders, including two Catholicoi and a future Catholicos, United States Senators, Governors and renowned academics and speakers.

During his nearly quarter of a century serving the Holy Trinity Church community, Father Mampre baptized 500 children, married 324 couples, laid to rest 830 parishioners, and visited countless parishioners and blessed hundreds of homes.

“Retirement”…The Ministry Continues

On the occasion of his 40th anniversary, Father Mampre said, “I set out to be a priest in the image of Christ, to express the will of our Heavenly Father, to serve people, to give hope to people, to encourage people, and to be His ambassador. I don’t think I’ve deviated from this. If anything has changed, my feelings of service have grown. I believe in more service to the Christian community and to my parishioners. Reaching out and serving people is a joy.” These are words that Father Mampre has lived and continues to live throughout his ministry.

Since retiring at the end of 2001, Father Mampre served as Pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church in Chelmsford MA from 2001 to 2007, and has continued to live out his calling by serving as Visiting Pastor to several parishes around the Diocese:  St. David Armenian Church, Boca Raton, FL; St. Haroutiun Armenian Church, Orlando, FL; St. Mark Armenian Church, Springfield, MA; St. Sahag Armenian Church, St. Paul, MN; St. Sarkis Armenian Church, Charlotte, NC; and St. Sarkis Armenian Church, Niagara Falls, NY. This new ministry continues to find him traveling to a parish nearly every weekend.

Father Mampre takes great pleasure in ministering to these communities, being able to spend time with the families in worship and fellowship, conducting liturgical services, sacraments and visitations to the faithful. During these parish visits, Father Mampre has continued to fulfill his passion for ministering to those faithful most in need of his pastoral outreach, namely the elderly, sick and lonely.

In May 2017, Father Mampre was invited by His Holiness, Karekin II, to visit the Mother See and share his lifetime of pastoral ministry experience, by teaching the seminarians at the Gevorkian Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin. This was Father Mampre’s 16th visit to the Motherland. It was during this visit, that Father Mampre discovered two causes that have become “close to his heart:” the cancer-stricken children at the Muratsan Chemotherapy Clinic of Yerevan State Medical University and the homeless individuals and families in the Vagharshapat region surrounding Holy Etchmiadzin.

Honors, Recognitions and Memberships

Throughout his sixty years of service to the church, Father Mampre has traveled extensively on behalf of the Diocese, and has received great honor and recognitions including: the Ecumenical Pectoral Cross in 1962, in recognition of his service to the National Council of Churches; the Pectoral Cross in 1968, awarded by His Holiness Vasken I, of blessed memory, in recognition of outstanding service to the Armenian Church for arranging the official visit of His Holiness to the United Nations; medals and gifts in the 1970s from His Holiness Pope Paul VI  on each of three visits Father Mampre made to the Vatican; his third Pectoral Cross in 1974 bestowed by His Holiness Pimen, Patriarch of All Russia; a Floral Phelonian – Dzaghgial Pilon in 1976, bestowed by Archbishop Torkom Manoogian; the title of Avak Kahana – Arch Priest in 1983, bestowed by His Holiness; and a Doctoral Pectoral Cross – the Vartabedagan lunchakach in 1986, bestowed by His Holiness Catholicos Vasken I Baljian. 

In the late 1960s, Father Mampre served as a Governing Board member of the National Council of Churches of Christ and as a Governing Board member of the New York Council of Churches.  From 1968 to 1993, Father Mampre was a member of the Unity Committee of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). In the 1970s, he co-founded the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches in New York. In 1972, he visited the Soviet Union as a Governing Board Member of the delegation to the National Council of Churches with 20 church leaders from the United States. From 1972 to 1987, Father Mampre was a member of the Diocesan Council serving as Chairman for four years under the Primate, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian. In the 1990s and 2000s, Fr. Mampre served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Fund for Armenian Relief.

Family

In December 1957, Father Mampre married Nuvart Vartanesian, who became his most devoted partner in his ministry and in his life.  They were blessed with three children: Susan Kouzouian Derderian Esq., Joyce Arpi Kouzouian, and Father Vasken A. Kouzouian and his wife, Yeretzgin Arpi; and two grandchildren, Oscar Derderian III and Alina Kouzouian.

Susan is a criminal defense and Probate Law attorney; Joyce is a Service Coordinator for the Department of Mental Health for the State of Massachusetts; Father Vasken has been Pastor of Holy Trinity Armenian Church since 2002; and Yeretzgin Arpi serves as Youth Director and Sunday School Superintendent of Holy Trinity Church. Fr. Vasken and Yn. Arpi together directed the Diocesan Department of Youth Ministry prior to coming to Holy Trinity Church. Oscar is a Product Specialist for Zoominfo Software Company and Alina is a sophomore at Arlington High School.  

The children and grandchildren of Father Mampre and Yeretzgin Nuvart continue to carry out the legacy of their parents with their commitment, devotion and dedication to Holy Trinity and the Armenian Church.

After 49 years of marriage, in February 2007, Yeretzgin Nuvart entered her eternal rest. Those who know Father Mampre will attest to the devastating impact this had on his life. However, his devotion to his children, grandchildren, and most especially, his ministry to the Armenian Church and her people, remains unwavering.