By: H. Aghbashian
Reverend Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian was elected as the Prelate of the Armenian Diocese of Iraq. The election took place on May 13, 2022, in Baghdad, Iraq, in the presence of the former prelate of the diocese and the clergy, as well as the National Central Board and the provinces parish councils members. As a result of the voting, Reverend Oshagan Gulgulian was elected among the candidates nominated by Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II as the new prelate of the Armenian Diocese of Iraq.
Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He received his education at Vahan Tekeian school in Beirut, then at the seminary of Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, and continued at the Kevorkian Theological Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenia, where he graduated in1986, then served as the secretary of the Catholicosate of Holy Etchmiadzin from June 1986 to April 1987.He was ordained a monk in Holy Etchmiadzin, by Archbishop Vazken Keshishian the former prelate of the Diocese of Canada. In 1987-1988, he served as a pastor in the city of Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada). In 1988, Fr. Gulgulian received the rank of Archimandrite (Vartabed) in the Monastery of Oshagan in Armenia after presenting his thesis on the historical Catholicosate of Aghtamar.
In 1989, Fr. Gulgulian continued his education in Geneva, Switzerland and at Columbia University in New York City. During 1990-1993, he served the parish of St. James Armenian Church in Richmond, Virginia, as its Pastor. He continued his education at the Union Theological Seminary and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
In 1993, Fr. Gulgulian was appointed as Canon Sacrist of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City, and in 1994, he was appointed Pastor of St. John the Baptist Armenian Church in Miami, Florida. He helped to revitalize the older, established parish, which was renting facilities for its church services until it found a permanent building. During this time, he initiated a new venture aimed at building a new church in South Florida, actively involved in both fund-raising efforts and also in purchasing land in a nearby county and collaborating with an architect to construct a church building and cultural center. The result of all that effort is the present parish of St. Mary Armenian Church in Hollywood, Florida.
In 1997, Fr. Gulgulian served as Pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. He worked hard in organizing and directing major fundraising events for major church renovations.
In 2001, Fr. Gulgulian was appointed to the 1700th Anniversary Committee in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin by His Holiness, Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians. In 2002, He assisted the Development Office in the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America in New York City and served as a visiting pastor throughout the Diocese. In April 2003, he received a Master of Divinity Degree in Pastoral Ministry and a Religious Teaching Certificate from the Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana. Later that year, Fr. Gulgulian was assigned as the Pastor of Holy Nazareth Armenian Church in Calcutta, India and in 2005, he assumed the responsibility of Manager of the Armenian Philanthropic Academy, in addition to his appointment as Pastor of all the Armenian Churches in India. During that period, he completely renovated a school complex and two churches in India. Fr. Gulgulian stayed in this position until May 2009, when he returned to the Eastern Diocese and was assigned as pastor of St. Sahak and St. Mesrop Church in Pennsylvania, and served there until he was elected as the prelate of the Armenian Diocese of Iraq and moved to Baghdad in July 2022.
On June 18, 2022, Fr. Gulgulian arrived in Baghdad from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in the company of the Chairman of the National Central Board Mr. Melkon Melkonian and the Chairman of Basra parish council Mr. Khajak Vartanian, and was welcomed by Central Board members and community leaders. His first immortal liturgy was offered on June 24, 2022, at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, with the participation of a large number of believers, and the presence of State representatives, the Armenian Embassy Chargé d’Affairs Mr. Alek Gharibian and clergymen of sister communities.
We congratulate Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian on his election and pray that the Almighty God will grant him the strength, ability, health and lasting success in his new mission.
We also congratulate the Armenian community of Iraq, which has always been one of the most brilliant Armenian communities with its faithful believers and patriotic members, and we are sure that this community under the pastoral care of the newly elected enthusiastic prelate Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian , who has unique spiritual values, and is enriched by the prospect of many long-term experiences, will continue to proceed with national-spiritual values, remain true to his identity and accomplish his goals.
———————————————————————————————————————Los Angeles, July 2022