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The ACYOA Central Council is pleased to welcome the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, the newly-appointed Diocesan Vicar, as the Primate’s liaison to the Council. He will be presiding over Central Council meetings, serving as their pastoral advisor and will work with Executive Secretary Nancy Basmajian on many aspects of the day-to-day management of the ACYOA.

He attended his first Central Council meeting on February 12 at St. Gregory Church in White Plains, NY and was actively engaged for many hours with the council in reviewing the proposed revisions to the organization’s bylaws. Nancy Basmajian offered this comment about his participation: “The dynamics between Hayr Soorp and the council was beautiful. They were very comfortable together, his advice was right on target and his sense of humor won them over almost immediately. There was also mutual respect. He’ll be an exciting addition to our meetings.”

A native of Boston, Massachusetts, his family was a member of the Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge where he graduated from Sunday school and was an ACYOA member. He received his Master of Divinity degree from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary and St. Nersess Armenian Seminary; he also pursued Armenian Church studies for two years at the seminaries of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. His first assignment was as the assistant to the pastor of the Church of Our Savior in Worcester, MA, after which he was called to be deacon-in-charge of St. Gregory of Narek Church in Cleveland, Ohio.
He was ordained as a celibate priest on December 1, 1996 by our Primate, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian at St. Gregory of Narek Church, where he continued as pastor until September 1999. In addition to leading the Cleveland community, he served as visiting pastor to the mission parishes in Columbus, Ohio, and Erie, Pennsylvania.
In October 1999, the Primate called Fr. Simeon to a new ministry as coordinator of the Diocese's Mission Parish Program, overseeing communities of Armenians too small for their own regular church building or services. In addition to administering to the Diocesan mission parishes, Fr. Simeon served as the chaplain and instructor of practical liturgics at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary. Between 2004 and 2010, Fr. Simeon continued his ministry as pastor of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of Providence, RI. He was appointed Diocesan Vicar on January 1 of this year.