St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church, Toronto

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St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church
St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church
43°46′15″N 79°19′23″W / 43.77097°N 79.323022°W / 43.77097; -79.323022
Location North York, Toronto
Country Canada
Denomination Armenian Apostolic Church
Founded February 28, 1990

Very Rev. Fr. Stepanos Pashayan

Archpriest. Fr. Gomidas Panossian

Established in 1983, St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church is at 45 Hallcrown Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the municipality of North York. It belongs to the Holy See of Cilicia.[1]


Toronto's Armenian Community Centre and A.R.S. Day School were opened in 1979. However, the Holy See of the Catholicosate of Cilicia had no Armenian Church. At the end of 1982 a petition was delivered to the Prelacy of Canada and Eastern United States regarding establishing the foundation of a new church in Toronto. On February 28, 1983 approval was given by the Prelacy.

Archimandrite Khajag Hagopian became the church's first pastor. The Church was officially established in 1983, and the first Holy Mass was celebrated on Sunday, April 10, 1983. Services were conducted at St. Augustine Anglican Church located at 1847 Bayview Ave. in Toronto until a new church was built.

On August 16, 1987, the foundation was laid for the new church building . On May 27, 1990 the new building was consecrated and its first Holy Mass was celebrated for its newly built altar. The Church was officially named St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church.

In the spring of 2012, the church was renovated under the auspices of the Prelate of Canada, Archbishop Khajag Hagopian.


Archbishop Khajag Hagopian[edit]

(April 10, 1983- December 9, 1994)

Khajag Hagopian was born in Syria on June 20, 1946. At a young age, he and his family relocated to Lebanon, where he received his education at Torkomian school and in 1961 entered the Seminary at the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias. In 1965 he was ordained a Deacon by Bishop Karekin Sarkisian, who later became the Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia and the Catholicos of All Armenians. In 1968, Hagopian was ordained a celibate priest, and in 1971 he received the title of Very Reverend -Vartabed. Hagopian was elected the Locum Tenens of Jezireh, Northern Syria Prelacy. After serving in that capacity for eight years, he returned to Lebanon where he resumed his academic studies at the Middle East Theological institute. In 1981, at the invitation of Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, the Prelate of Eastern US and Canada, Hagopian relocated to New York where he served as special assistant to the Prelate. In 1983 he became the first parish priest of the newly established St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Toronto. In 1985 he was elevated to Right Reverend by Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian. In 1994 Hagopian served as the parish priest of the Holy Martyrs Armenian Church in Encino, but returned to New York in 1995, where he led the congregation at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church. Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, consecrated and ordained him as bishop in June 1997, and appointed him as the Locum Tenens of the Canadian Prelacyin 2002. On May 28, 2003 Hagopian was elevated to Archbishop by an Encyclical from Aram, In February 2004 he became the first Prelate of the Armenian Prelacy of Canada. On May 11, 2006 he was reelected as Prelate of Canada for another term, during the Canadian Armenian National Assembly Representatives meeting in St. Catherines. On May 8, 2010, Hagopian was reelected for a third term as Prelate of Canada at the Canadian Armenian National Assembly Representatives meeting in Toronto. On May 10, 2014, Archbishop Hagopian retired from prelacy, and Bishop Meghrig Parikian was elected Prelate of the Armenian Prelacy of Canada.[2]

Bishop Shahe Panossian[edit]

(December 9, 1994 - December 19, 2002)

Kevork Panossian was born May 6, 1958 in Kessab, Syria. After receiving his primary education at the United Ousoumnasiratz School he was accepted at the Seminary of the Great House of Cilicia, Antelias, where he completed his academic course and graduated in 1978. During 1978-81, Deacon Kevork held teaching and supervisory positions at the Seminary. At the same time he continued his theological studies at the Near East School of Theology. He was ordained a celibate priest on February 17, 1980, and was given the name Shahe and entered the Brotherhood of the Catholicosate of Cilicia. From 1981-82 he taught at the seminary while serving as administrator of the Catholicosate. Panossian served the Armenian community in Thessalonika, Greece, and in South Florida. In September 1989, he was appointed as Pastor of the Armenian All Saints Apostolic Church in Glenview, Illinois. He received his Very reverend rite in 1993. In 1994 he was appointed as pastor of the Armenian Saint Mary Apostolilc Church in Toronto, Canada and served his term until 2002. In 2002, he was appointed as the Dean of the Birds Nest orphanage in Jebeil, Lebanon. In 2006 he was appointed Dean of the Theological Seminary in Bikfaya, Lebanon. On 20 April 2008 he was ordained as Bishop by Catholicos Aram I. In 2011 he was delegated to Kuwait, after the retirement of Archbishop Goriun Babian, and became the Catholicosal Vicar of Kuwait and Arab States of the Persian Gulf. On October 7, 2013, Lebanon's diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church elected Bishop Shahe Panossian as the new Primate of Lebanon.

Bishop Meghrig Parikian[edit]

(December 19, 2002 - May 10, 2014)

Garabed Parikian was born in Beirut, Lebanon on January 3, 1968. He received his primary education at the “Aksor Kasardjian” and “Mihran Karageozian” elementary schools and in 1982 he entered the Zarehian Seminary of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia. He was ordained a Deacon by Archbishop Datev Sarkissian on May 6, 1985, and after completing his education at the seminary, he was ordained a celibate priest by Bishop Zareh Aznavourian on May 28, 1988. Between 1988-1995 he served the Seminary as a Monitor and Choir Master, while directing the Catholicosate’s “Shenorhali” choir. In July 1994, he was given the title of Very Reverend – Vartabed, by Archbishop Ardag Manougian, after presenting his thesis on the Letters of His Holiness, Catholicos Nerses of All Armenians. The following year, in 1995, Father Parikian was appointed Sacristan at the Catholicosate. Catholicos Aram I bestowed on Parikian the right to wear a pectoral cross in January 1996. Throughout the next couple of years, he attended the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, where he followed the “Overcome Violence” educational program. As a Deacon, Parikian had begun studying the piano under the direction of Setrag Setragian, and continued his piano studies during his service in Lebanon. In 1997 he moved to New York, USA to attend Mannes College, The New School for Music, and was instructed by Peter Bellino until his departure in 1999. Upon his return to Lebanon, he became Director of the Birds Nest Armenian Orphanage in Jbeil until 2002. In May 2002, he was given the title of Right Reverend by Bishop Zareh Aznavourian, and on the same day Aram I, bestowed upon him the right to wear the official purple cassock of the Armenian Catholicosate. Later that year, Father Parikian was appointed as the Parish Priest of St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church in Toronto and served the local Armenian community for 12 years. In 2010, under the auspices of Archbishop Khajag Hagopian, the former Prelate of the Armenian Prelacy of Canada, Father Parikian was named as the Rector of the Province of Ontario. Hagopian appointed Parikian as Vicar General of the Armenian Prelacy of Canada on December 17, 2013. On April 27, 2014, Aram I consecrated and ordained Parikian to the rank of Bishop. On May 10, 2014, Parikian was elected as Prelate of Canada by the Canadian Armenian National Assembly Representative. During his years of service, Bishop Parikian wrote 11 religious books, 2 volumes of music, hundreds of articles, and edited 10 collections. He composed or produced 15 DVDs and CDs of music, musical pieces, and compositions, 5 symphonies and an oratorio cantata[2]

Very Rev. Fr. Stepanos Pashayan[edit]

(From November 3, 2014 – Present)

Archpriest Gomidas Panossian[edit]

(From August 2012)

Named Movses Vahan Panossian, was born on August 5, 1951 Mousa Ler Anjar, Lebanon, where he received his elementary education. Later, he was accepted by the Cilician Clerical school, whence after several years of residency and after the third seminary, he dedicated himself to teaching and serving as school principal at the Harach National School in his birthplace of Anjar, and at the local St. Boghos church as principal.

After six years of service in his birthplace, in 1975, pursuant to the Iran–Indian diocesan council and the incumbent prelate, Archbishop Mesrob Ashdjian's invitation, he left for new Julfa in Iran on Oct. 5, 1975, assuming responsibility for the library, teaching Armenian History and Religious Studies in the Kananian High School, and being responsible for the curriculum of the schools of all the churches and organizing church ceremonies.

In the same year, he established Saint Amenaprgich (all savior) Monaster's Choir, later known as Gomidas, raising the number of members to 115.

After seven years of residency in New-Julfa, he married Seta Kusbekian from his village, who gave birth to their daughter Tsoler, and later to their son Shahan. In August 1982 he returned to his birthplace of Anjar where he became the Principal at Harach School and the conductor of the local branch of Barouyr Sevag's Gomidas choir.

He was principal of Balekjian School's of Zahleh for two years, then he returned to his birthplace and in 1993 while still the principal of Anjar's National School of Lebanon, at the invitation of Archbishop (later Catholicos) Aram Keshishian he was consecrated and ordained as priest, designated as (Rev. Father) Der Gomidas, and assumed the position of Head of Diocese of Beirut's new district Adana's Sourp Asdvadzadzin's church November 21, 1993.

Father Gomidas, at the behest of the Head Prelate, organized the Artzakh choir, the inter-collegial central committee, and taught in the National Cilician and Abgarian schools. He has been a member of the three district religious educational committees, in one district as the committee chairman, and a long-time member of the Religious Education Committee.

As of 2013 he was a member of the religious Assembly and Lebanon's Committee for the 1700th anniversary of the Armenian church.

On May 25, 2002 the Armenian community of Cambridge, parishioners of Sourp Nishan Armenian Apostolic church, were saddened with the passing of their beloved Rev. Father Varant Bedrossian; the Board of Trustees of the church appointed Panossian to take his place. On September 17, 2002 Fr. Panossian, his wife Seta, and their son Shahan, went to Cambridge, Ontario and Panossian took pastoral responsibilities over Sourp Nishan Armenian Apostolic Church. He was also the principal of the Armenian Relief Society's Saturday Cultural Language School.

In August 2012 Fr. Gomidas Panossian was sent to St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church as a Pastoral Assistant to the Pastor.


  1. ^ Parikian, Father Meghrig (2007). 25th Anniversary of St. Mary's Church (PDF). Toronto, ON. p. 100. 
  2. ^ a b The Armenian Prelacy of Canada: Archbishop Khajag Hagopian, Prelate

External links[edit]