Fr. Shnork Kasparian: 50 Years of Service

14 December 2011

The Holy Virgin Mary and Shoghagat Church of Belleville, Ill., hosted an exciting weekend centered on celebrating the 50th ordination anniversary of longtime parish pastor (and current visiting pastor) the Very Rev. Fr. Shnork Kasparian.
Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian presided over the gala banquet at the Cedars Ballroom in, St. Louis, Mo., on Friday, December 9, which was also attended by honored clergy including Bishop Robert Shaheen, the Maronite Eparchial Bishop of  Our Lady of Lebanon Eparchy, and the Very Rev. Fr. Aren Jebejian, pastor of Chicago's St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church.
Nearly 100 people attended, including guests who had traveled from New York, Canada, and Chicago to honor Fr. Kasparian. Mark Marifian and Adrienne Krikorian served as Masters of Ceremony. Tributes and congratulatory letters presented included those from U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and from clergy throughout the United States. A video tribute spanning Fr. Kasparian's life, prepared by George and Nina Marifian, was also shown.
Archbishop Barsamian addressed the gathering, sharing his experiences with Fr. Shnork, and emphasizing the piety of this humble servant of the Lord. He also presented the honoree with an Encyclical from His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, which Fr. Aren Jebejian read to a standing audience.
At last, Fr. Kasparian reflected on his many years of service, expressing thanks to people around the world to whom he had ministered. To conclude the program, parish council chairman George Marifian presented Fr. Kasparian with a new laptop computer from the parish.
As part of the banquet, Archbishop Barsamian presented diplomas to the parish's recent Sunday School graduates: Erik Stryshak, Adrienne Krikorian, Gabrielle Krikorian, Gregory Marifian, and Mark Marifian.
The anniversary organizing committee, co-chaired by Raffi Krikorian and Jane Matoesian, included committee members Lisa Bedian, Caroline Kernan, Lydia Kachigian Krikorian, Adrienne Krikorian, Mark Marifian, Nina Marifian, Rose Nersesian, Tamara Noubarian, and Arleen Stryshak, assisted by parish council chair George Marifian.
A native of Alexandra, Egypt, Fr. Kasparian studied at the St. James Armenian Seminary of Jerusalem, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1961. He served in Brazil and Uruguay prior to arriving in the Eastern Diocese, where he continued his theological studies at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., and was assigned to serve at St. John the Baptist Church in Greenfield, Wis.
In 1969, he was invited by His Holiness Vasken I, the late Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians, to serve as the dean of the theological seminary at Holy Etchmiadzin. He returned to the Eastern Diocese in 1972, and went on to serve in Worcester, Mass., Providence, RI, Milwaukee, Wis., and Belleville, Ill.  
Fr. Kasparian has also served in the Canadian Diocese, at the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, and at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.