This year Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian is celebrating the 65th Anniversary of his being ordained into priesthood of the Holy Armenian Orthodox Church. British Armenians remember the Archbishop with deep fondness and affection, as between 1982 and 2002, he served as Primate of the Armenian Churches in the United Kingdom.
Archbishop Gizirian was much loved and respected by all British Armenians. He was wholly dedicated to his duties as Primate, and full of humility. As a humble clergyman, he had no qualms at all to serve the community by wholeheartedly supporting and working with the Armenian Community and Church Council of Great Britain (ACCC), and almost every Sunday he would serve Mass at the ACCC’s community church, the St Peter’s Church (later re-consecrated the St Yeghiche Church) in South Kensington.
A native of Damascus, Syria, Archbishop Gizirian studied at the Seminary of the Catholicosate of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon. He was ordained a celibate priest in 1947 by the late Bishop Terenig Poladian.
He moved to the United States in 1951, where he served as the Pastor of the Holy Cross Church of New York City; St. John the Baptist Church of Miami; Holy Mother of God Church of Newark, N.J.; the Holy Saviour Church of Worcester, Mass.; St. John the Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan.; Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania; and Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In 1982, Fr. Gizirian was ordained a Bishop in the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin by His Holiness Vasken I, the late Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. In March of that year he was elected by the ACCC of Great Britain as Primate of the United Kingdom and at their request, His Holiness Vasken I appointed him Primate and Pontifical Legate of the Armenian Churches of the United Kingdom.
In 1993, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.
After 20 years of service in the United Kingdom, he retired from the position of Primate, and returned to the United States, where he now divides his time between visiting parishes, representing the Diocese at official functions, and serving as the spiritual father of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, N.Y.
The Armenian Community and Church Council of Great Britain will always be grateful to Archbishop Gizirian for his support and cooperation, and on behalf of the British Armenian community, the ACCC was pleased to send a letter of congratulations and good wished to the Archbishop.